Trans Mountain tanks not built to withstand ‘sloshing’ oil during earthquake: engineer

Company says it has excellent emergency preparation procedures

tanks burnabymountian transmointinTanks at the Burnaby Mountain tank farm built in 1953 (not shown) may not be strong enough during a major earthquake, group says.

Trans Mountain is defending its emergency preparedness after a politician, engineer, activist and geologist stood outside its Burnaby Mountain tank farm to accuse the pipeline company of potentially endangering thousands of lives in the event of a major earthquake.

Burnaby North-Seymour federal NDP candidate Svend Robinson held a press conference Tuesday alongside Simon Fraser University geology professor John Clague, structural engineer Gordon Dunnet and anti-pipeline activist Karl Perrin.
Dunnet said existing Trans Mountain tanks could fail to hold their contents during an earthquake. While the company has published a report detailing how the tanks walls would withstand the ground-shaking forces during a quake, it does not take into account the force of sloshing oil within the tank.

The six tanks in question were built in 1953 and have moveable roofs that float on top of the oil. They were built to outdated standards without considerations made for lateral pressure from seismic or wind forces, Dunnet said.

While many people have raised concerns about the risks associated with the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline – which would add 14 new tanks to the Burnaby Mountain site – Dunnet said the existing infrastructure already poses a serious safety concern to the 30,000 people who live within two kilometres of the tank farm. MORE


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