Man dies from injuries in Tuesday’s Annacis Island explosion
Thursday, July 26 – 11:02:57 AM Karen Thomson
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A man who was severely injured in Tuesday’s explosion on Annacis Island has now died. The 53-year-old man was working at the Chemcraft-Sadolin manufacturing plant that morning when the blast and fire occured. He suffered serious burns. Five other victims of the explosion have been treated and released.
Black Tuesday in Burnaby’s Westridge
By David Weir
Jul 26 2007
The stench of crude oil hung heavy over a North Burnaby neighbourhood as crews continued the clean up effort Wednesday, one day after a backhoe hit an underground pipeline, sending oil shooting up to 12 metres in the air and a river of the black gold flowing downhill toward Burrard Inlet.
At the height of the emergency, as many as 100 homes in the area where Inlet Drive links the Barnet Highway with Hastings Street were under a voluntary evacuation notice as firefighters tried to stem the flow of oil into the inlet.
But by early evening, the evacuation notice was scaled back to the 11 homes most seriously affected on Belcarra Drive.
Meanwhile, crews worked through the night to clean the slick black mess from Inlet Drive in the hopes the major commuter route linking Port Moody with Burnaby could be reopened by Thursday morning’s rush hour.
At the same time, the cost of the disaster is being tallied – both in terms of property damage and environmental damage from oil entering the Burrard Inlet.
“It is bad – there’s no question about it. It’s millions and millions of dollars of damage that’s been done as a result of it,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.
“There’s some pretty serious property damage to some private home owners. There obviously is some additional damage that’s been caused to our inlet as a result of oil going downhill and into the inlet. Right now they’re doing an assessment of that with the B.C. ministry of the environment and federal ministry.”
The accident happened around 12:35 p.m. Tuesday as a crew from Cusano Contracting Inc. was working on a sewer line for the City of Burnaby. A backhoe was digging near the intersection of Inlet and Ridge drives when it struck a pipeline that was pumping crude from the TransMountain Pipeline terminus on Burrard Inlet to a tank farm on Burnaby Mountain.
The rupture sent crude shooting up to 12 metres in the air, covering the backhoe, a nearby car and the roadway. The oil was also shooting over the fence into the Westridge residential area. There are reports of at least one home on Belcarra Drive being covered in crude, and the cul-de-sac was turned into an oily mess.
“I smelled the smell of gas or oil in my home and the next thing I knew I heard a frantic knock on the door of my upstairs neighbour and it was a police officer telling us we had to be evacuated from our street immediately,” said Natalie Marson, who lives on Belcarra.
“It’s a pretty black slick at the end of my street,” she said when asked to describe the scene. “Belcarra is on a cul-de-sac and the trees and street are black with oil. It’s just not a very good thing.”
Emergency officials initially ordered the evacuation of roughly 30 homes on Belcarra, Sierra and Malibu drives, but the order was later expanded to cover up to 100 homes in the area because of health concerns about the fumes, before scaling it back to the 11 most seriously affected homes.
The evacuees were taken to Confederation Park Seniors Centre while the city lined up temporary lodging. It could be a couple of days before they are allowed to return home.
Corrigan was at a loss to explain how the accident happened. Kinder Morgan, which operates the pipeline, had provided the city and the road crew a map showing where the pipeline was supposed to be.
“The information that they had was that there wasn’t going to be a pipeline affected, and apparently there was in fact a pipeline there – they clipped it and that was what caused the oil geyser,” Corrigan said.
“Obviously we’re going to have a long, hard look at the procedures and protocols that were followed here to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
He added the focus so far has not been on the investigation, but rather on clean up and mitigation.
“The priorities right now are the immediate and urgent circumstances and we’ll try to sort out afterwards where blame is apportioned,” Corrigan said.
On Tuesday, firefighters used sand to create mini dikes to hold back the river of crude flowing down Belcarra. They also raced to block off manhole covers and storm sewer drains in an effort to keep the crude from entering the storm sewer system and flowing out into the inlet.
Still, there was oil that reached the inlet as Burrard Clean rushed to get containment booms set up to control the growing oil slick. Within three hours of the rupture, oil was visible on the shoreline at the eastern edge of Barnet Marine Park, about 1.5 kilometres from where the crude likely entered the water.
Kinder Morgan has also hired Focus Wildlife to clean and rehabilitate any wildlife covered by the sticky, black crude oil. As of noon Wednesday, the organization had rescued five birds from the affected area.
It was approximately 30 minutes before the pipeline was shut down, but it’s still not known how much oil escaped from the ruptured pipeline.
“Kinder Morgan Marked by Spills”, The Tyee (July 26, 2007)
Golden Ears Bridge workers burned by acid
By Jeff Nagel
Jul 21 2007
A group of workers helping to build the Golden Ears Bridge has been repeatedly burned by hydrochloric acid that sometimes mists down upon them from an adjacent work site.
And WorkSafeBC safety inspectors – despite investigating the situation for more than a month – have struggled to end the dangerous acid shower, which has sent at least two workers to hospital for treatment.
The workers at the 199A Street construction site near the Surrey-Langley border are employed by German firm Bilfinger Berger, one of the private partners in the Golden Crossing Constructors Joint Venture building the bridge for TransLink.
Next to them is APS Architectural Precast Structures Ltd., a business that has been there since well before bridge construction began.
APS workers, who are well protected, sometimes pressure wash precast concrete using a hydrochloric acid solution.
All was well until a wall that had separated the two workplaces had to be dismantled as part of the bridge construction, allowing the acid overspray to drift onto Bilfinger workers when the wind blows their way.
“Our face is burning and itching and there is redness in our eyes and we have difficulty breathing,” workers said in an anonymous letter sent to Black Press.
They say they’ve repeatedly asked for help and don’t understand why they weren’t at least given the same masks and respirators APS workers use 30 feet away.
WorkSafeBC officers first flagged the problem June 6 and returned June 27 to find it unresolved.
“Continued exposure of workers to acid-containing mist is not acceptable,” Bilfinger was warned in a report dated June 28.
Part of the challenge is normal worker safety provisions don’t cover cases like this where one work site is affecting the workers at another site when the two are unrelated and not part of the same overall project.
“Our legislation doesn’t apply,” said Tom Lauritzen, WorkSafeBC’s regional prevention manager for the Fraser Valley.
His officers have still tried to broker a deal that allows APS to continue its work, but in a way that protects Bilfinger’s workers.
Lauritzen said APS has tried hard to contain the airborne acid.
“They’re doing everything within their power to deal with it,” he said. “They’ve tried to put up shielding to stop it, but it hasn’t been effective to date.”
By early July, Lauritzen thought a solution had been found.
Bilfinger workers would put down their tools and leave by 3:30 p.m. every day and APS would only spray after that time.
But he said Bilfinger managers apparently failed to tell APS a few days later when bridge workers were going to stay late.
“There was a communications breakdown,” Lauritzen said. “There were workers there and they ended up getting another spray.”
Adding to the confusion is that APS often uses straight water, rather than acid, in its pressure spraying.
But Bilfinger workers, after being burned a few times, now tend to panic as soon as any liquid starts to fall on them.
WorkSafeBC met with both sides again last week.
“My officers met with both employers and in essence laid down the law and said you’ve got to deal with this,” Lauritzen said.
He’s hopeful there will be no more repeats, so long as the crews communicate.
If acid mist does start falling on workers, he said, Bilfinger Berger must immediately move its people out of danger.
“We’re just doing everything we can to keep them out of the way of that mist,” confirmed Ian McLeod, Golden Ears Bridge project spokesman.
The GVRD is also investigating the acid overspray as a potential air emission violation at the request of the joint venture.
“We think the solution to the problem is for APS to stop emitting toxic substances into the area around its property,” McLeod said.
“How far should an employer go in designing our operations to protect against a localized and preventable problem that is caused by someone else?”
APS managers could not be reached for comment.
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