Improperly supported hose cause of oil spill near Regina last year

Enbridge says it has received approval from the Ontario Energy Board to upgrade the backbone of its natural gas distribution system in the Greater Toronto Area. Steve Silva/Global News

REGINA – An improperly supported flex hose was what caused last year’s spill of 125 barrels of crude oil at an Enbridge pump station south of the city.

“They didn’t do what they were supposed to do to ensure that that hose didn’t move around. They realized where they went wrong. It could have been prevented. It will be prevented in the future by this company,” said Darin Barter, a spokesperson for the National Energy Board (NEB).

The incident happened at the Rowatt pump station during the morning of Jan. 18, 2014.

“The lack of proper support on the flex hose enabled the hose to move and eventually shift it off from where it was attached. So, essentially, it gave way where it was connected to another pipe,” said Barter.

Metal straps should have been used to prevent too much movement from the hose, he said.

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The hose is used to determine oil pressure and can be found in all pump stations; Barter compared it to hoses in cars that transport oil or transmission fluid.

The investigation was completed in early December.

The company will not face any penalties because of the incident, and the incident is not symptomatic of trend, said Barter.

“It’s a pretty minor incident with a fairly expedient conclusion to it, so a full investigation into it wasn’t warranted,” he said, adding that the report won’t be posted on the NEB’s website but information regarding the incident is available to the public when requested.

Enbridge has since replaced all of the same hoses in the station, added proper supports to them, and also sent a company-wide safety alert about the incident.

“First and foremost, our goal is to have zero incidents and we strive for that,” said Graham White, a spokesperson for Enbridge.

The company hasn’t yet learned of the NEB’s determination of the cause of the spill, he said, though Enbridge’s preliminary investigation found the cause to stem from a pinhole leak from a “failed pressure transmitter braided flex hose.”

“When you do have an incident, these are the places you want to have them. They’re not on the main lines, they’re at the facilities. The facilities are designed to contain even large volume releases without impacts off-site,” said White.

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Winds sprayed part of the leak to a neighbouring property: “I would say less than a barrel of oil. It was a very small amount,” said Barter.

There was no public or environment impact, he said.

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