By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Trans Mountain pipeline workers found soil with a historical contamination of petroleum hydrocarbons – a generic term for the crude oil through the Trans Mountain Mainline – in Mount Robson Provincial Park earlier this month. The company has completed excavation to remove contaminated soil, but some residual contamination remains, Trans Mountain Media Relations told The Goat.

After discovering the contaminated soil, Trans Mountain notified BC Parks and sent a notice of contamination to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), the federal body responsible for regulating pipelines. 

According to the notice, workers discovered the historical contamination while remediating another, more minor oil release from the pipeline.

The recently discovered contamination comprised about 10 cubic metres of soil, according to the notice of contamination. In an email to The Goat, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said the Fraser River was less than 30 metres away from the contaminated site. Trans Mountain is required by the CER and BC Spills to ensure the water is not contaminated, but when asked, the company did not provide details on its plan to prevent contamination of the river.

About 10 cubic metres of contaminated soil was discovered near a pipeline running through Mount Robson Provincial Park in mid-June. Trans Mountain will be responsible for addressing the contamination, a Canada Energy Regulator spokesperson told The Goat. /ABIGAIL POPPLE

In an email to The Goat, CER media relations confirmed that Trans Mountain is responsible for addressing the contamination in accordance with the Polluter Pay Principle. Under this principle, companies are responsible for covering any costs arising from spills on their pipelines when they spill is their fault.

“Trans Mountain will be the one to assess, manage and remediate this contaminated site. The CER will oversee their progress,” the CER’s media relations team wrote. “We require annual updates and meet with Trans Mountain regularly as part of our compliance program to ensure contaminated sites are moving through the remediation process.”

Trans Mountain media relations said the company will manage the contamination in accordance with the CER’s Remediation Process Guide. The company was  unable to confirm when the historical contamination occurred before being discovered earlier this month.

“Trans Mountain is planning to conduct further environmental site assessment activities to delineate the historical contamination to facilitate development of an appropriate management strategy for the site,” they wrote. 

The company did not comment on the source or cause of the historical contamination.