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Delta still uncertain about jet fuel emergency response
Delta is seeking answers as to how the company behind a $93-million jet fuel delivery system will handle a spill or fire response inside the municipality's boundaries.
The Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project has received conditional federal and provincial environmental approval to build a marine terminal and fuel receiving facility at an existing industrial site in Richmond on the south arm of the Fraser River. An underground fuel pipeline will connect the marine terminal to Vancouver International Airport.
Eighty per cent of the aviation fuel is currently transported via the Trans Mountain pipeline from Burnaby, while the rest comes via 35 tanker trucks per day from Cherry Point in Washington State. Those trucks pass through Delta, travelling over the Alex Fraser bridge before going along the East-West Connector.
The new proposal would have tankers transport the fuel along the Fraser River to the marine terminal, but that still puts Delta at risk of dealing with a spill or fire.
Coun. Sylvia Bishop expressed concern during Monday's council meeting following a staff report outlining those risks. According to that report, Delta's Emergency Management Committee met on Jan. 7 to review the conditional approval of the project and have learned through third party sources that the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) project director Adrian Pollard expects Delta's Fire Department to respond to emergencies.
"Where are we drawing the line in the sand between responsibility," said Bishop. "[Pollard] seems to think that we will and Delta has said in the environmental assessment that we don't have the capacity."
Chief administrative officer George Harvie said not only does Delta not have the resources for emergency response, it doesn't collect taxes from the company which will be delivering the fuel since it's located in Richmond.
"We're quite concerned with regards to that if there is a spill they have to have people there during the loading operations and that's what we'll be following through with insofar as their commitments under their environmental certificate," he said.
Condition No. 50 in the table of 64 conditions requires the preventive deployment of a protective boom across Ladner Reach during offloading of jet fuel at the marine terminal so that this area is protected in the event of a spill.
During the environmental assessment, concerns were raised by Delta regarding potential impacts to commercial and recreational vessel navigation through this area. The condition requires VAFFC to have a spill response vessel on standby in Ladner Reach or nearby the marine terminal during the fuel offloading process.
Delta Council approved a letter to be sent to VAFFC reaffirming concerns raised by Delta during the environmental assessment process.