Pipeline news release 2009

TSB # P01/2009

THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA FINDS THAT INADEQUATE COMMUNICATION COMPROMISES SAFE OPERATION OF PIPELINE

(Gatineau, Quebec, March 18, 2009) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its final investigation report (P07H0040) today into the pipeline rupture that occurred on July 24, 2007 in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The 610-millimetre line was struck and punctured by a contractor's excavator bucket while the contractor was excavating a trench for a new storm sewer line along Inlet Drive. Approximately 234 000 litres of crude oil was released, approximately 210 000 litres of which was recovered. Crude oil flowed into Burrard Inlet Bay via the Burnaby storm sewer system. Eleven houses were sprayed with crude oil; many other residential properties required restoration and approximately 250 residents voluntarily left their homes. There were no explosions, fires, or injuries resulting from this occurrence; however, emergency workers and two firefighters responding to the incident were sprayed with crude oil. Two members of the public were also sprayed.

"In our investigation, we looked at all the factors that led to the pipeline rupture," said Larry Gales, Investigator in Charge. "We came to the conclusion that the lack of respect for on-site pre-construction procedures and inadequate communication compromised the safe operation of the pipeline," added Mr. Gales.

In its final investigation report, the TSB identifies six findings as to causes and contributing factors related to the occurrence. It also identifies safety action that has been taken since the accident.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca