Preparing for pipeline emergencies
Pipeline emergencies require specialized response capabilities.
Emergency responders at the City of Toronto have some ability to identify and respond to small spills or leaks. However, at the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on Enbridge’s Line 9 application, it was clear that the proper resources are not in place in the Toronto area.
The city had significant concerns about Enbridge's ability to respond to a pipeline emergency.
In fact, many residents in our community only recently discovered that this pipeline was so close to home.
In many cases it came as a shock.
The existing Line 9 pipeline runs under the hydro corridor close to a number of sensitive and vital areas in Willowdale, including the Don River and thousands of residential homes and high-rise buildings. The pipeline also runs within one metre of the access to the Finch subway station.
Local residents were overwhelmingly against the increased capacity and reversal of this nearly 40-year-old pipeline.
Last December, Toronto City Council unanimously passed my motion directing the city manager to ask Enbridge to confirm that it would provide or fund an emergency response team in the Toronto area.
Enbridge just recently responded to this request and advised they will establish a pipeline crew with emergency response capabilities in the Toronto area in 2014.
On March 6, the NEB approved the Line 9 application.
At the very least, the Toronto area will now have a dedicated emergency response team in place.