Exercise simulates massive oil spill in Grand River
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013 5:19PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 25, 2013 6:36PM EDT
What would happen if 4,400 barrels of oil fell into the Grand River?
It seems unlikely, but that’s exactly the scenario more than 200 emergency personnel spent Wednesday preparing for.
Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline runs from Sarnia to Montreal, and closer to Waterloo Region passes through a section of the Grand River.
It can handle as many as 240,000 barrels of oil per day.
A training exercise Wednesday brought firefighters and police from Cambridge, Brantford, North Dumfries and the surrounding area to a section of the pipeline just outside Cambridge.
“It’s reassuring for people in the community to see that in the unlikely event of such a spill happening, we would be ready to respond,” Enbridge spokesperson Eric Prud’Homme tells CTV News.
The exercise tested local preparedness should 4,400 barrels of oil spill from the pipeline and into the river.
“This would be a very big spill, but the probability of such happening … is very low,” says Prud’Homme.
Local officials say the exercise was a successful display of emergency responders from different jurisdictions working together seamlessly.
“You need to be prepared,” says City of Cambridge spokesperson Linda Fegan.
“We have a list of things that could potentially happen within the region, and we look at ways that we can continue to address those.”
The Line 9 pipeline isn’t without controversy – protesters not wanting it to be used for thicker Alberta oil made their case at Waterloo Region council meeting last week and demonstrated at the Wednesday exercise as well – but Prud’Homme says the project is necessary.
“This energy has to come from somewhere, and pipeline is the safest way to transport this type of volume – and the one with the lowest carbon emissions as well.”