Oil company facing scrutiny after butane leak in Saint John
Published Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:51PM AST
The city of Saint John is still adding up the costs of a week-long emergency situation in one of the city's industrial neighbourhoods following a butane leak.
Police say the rupture happened Jan. 8, 2018, at about 11 a.m. in a line that runs from the Canaport facility on Bayside Drive to the Irving Oil refinery.
Bayside Drive and River Avenue were shut down and businesses were evacuated. Part of a causeway in the area was also temporarily shut down, as well. About 30 homes in the area were evacuated, as well as the SPCA Animal Rescue League Shelter.
Numerous municipal departments responded to the pipeline leak including fire, police, emergency measures, works and others. Officials say some of the employees needed to be on the scene for six full days.
The affected butane pipeline is one of several in the area that link the Irving Oil refinery and the Courtney Bay terminal.
It is unknown how much the emergency event cost municipal taxpayers at this time, but civic officials say each department is keeping a tally and they will eventually create a final bill.
Saint John councilor, Donna Reardon says the city should not bear the cost and it should be sent to the company.
"Irving Oil has insurance for any incidents that happen, so I don't see why their insurance wouldn't pay for that,” says Reardon. "That’s part of what we're asking all of our departments to do, where are they spending their money. They'll have a tally of what's been spent and who's been called in."
Residents of evacuated homes were put up at a hotel, but the Canadian Red Cross officials say those costs have already been covered by the oil company.
“It's hard to say what the overall expense would be but there were accommodations. There was clothing provided for those who were unable to grab enough when they left home,” says Bill Lawlor from the Red Cross. “If anyone had any transportation requirements or other requirements, they were all very well taken care of."
In the meantime, the pipeline itself continues to be under the scrutiny of the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities board, which says in a statement:
"The board has directed the company to demonstrate that the pipeline can be operated safely before permission will be granted to resume operation. This will include the installation of an enhanced leak detection and monitoring system."
The board says it is still waiting to see Irving Oil refinery’s plan of action for the pipeline in the coming weeks.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.