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Trans Mountain cited for ‘environmental non-compliance’ near Abbotsford

Inspection officers issue order related to pipeline work during localized flooding
Workers lay pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland in Abbotsford on May 3, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Trans Mountain has been cited for not complying with environmental guidelines for its pipeline work near Abbotsford during recent flooding.

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) posted a notice Wednesday (Feb. 7) on its website, saying that an “inspection officer order” was issued Jan. 31 to Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC.

The notice states that during an inspection of the pipeline expansion, inspection officers noticed that the company “was not properly maintaining a watercourse isolation, wildlife fencing, soil covering and dewatering pump and sump locations.”

An atmospheric river had resulted in localized flooding at the time and flood warnings from the BC River Forecast Centre.

RELATED: Fraser Valley stays on flood watch

The order states that Trans Mountain representatives told inspection officers that the pumps to manage surface water had not been turned on as per contingency measures and that “watercourse clean water conveyance across the right of way was lost during the heavy rains.”

The CER order requires Trans Mountain to:

• address environmental deficiencies and non-compliances from the recent rain events;

• investigate the root cause of non-compliances and why contingency measures were not done in a timely matter;

• submit the investigation to the CER for review;

• develop and implement a water management resourcing plan for the impacted area; and

• submit a commitment that all required plans will be implemented as described.

The CER says it will lift the order once all requirements are fulfilled.

Construction of the Trans Mountain project in the Fraser Valley includes 70 kilometres of pipeline construction from Bridal Veil Falls to Langley and the expansion of the Sumas Terminal, including the addition of one new storage tank.

The expansion will bring the total number of tanks to seven and a total storage capacity of 890,000 barrels.

RELATED: Trans Mountain construction completed at Abbotsford’s Ledgeview