Dec 28, 2000

Canadian Town's Water Supply Threatened by Oil Spill

Alternate water supplies will have to be found for the 4,000 residents of Chetwynd, British Columbia, after a pipe line erupted and sent crude oil spilling into Pine River 62 miles upstream from the town.

The town gets its drinking water from the river. It shut off its intake valve to prevent oil from the slick from leaking in. The town's reservoir, which holds enough water to supply the town for up to six weeks, also is contaminated.

The spill occurred at a rupture in the Federated Western Pipe Line, which connects Taylor and Kamloops and was built in 1962. Pembina Pipeline Corporation based in Calgary, Alberta, assumed ownership of the pipeline from Imperial Oil and Anderson Exploration only the day before the spill.

Pembina, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission and the B.C. Environment Ministry are investigating the spill.

Rich Gerard of Environment B.C.'s pollution prevention branch said that in the long
term, alternate water supplies would have to be found for the town's 4,000 residents. In the short term, water will be trucked to the community to complement existing supplies while a plan is developed.

(Source: Environment News Service)