2 National Spill Statistics and Trends
2.9 Summary Findings for Major Spills in Canada (1984-1995)
- 2.9.1 Distribution of Major Spills in Canada
- 2.9.2 Number of Major Reported Spills
- Sewage and effluents are spilled in high quantities nation-wide.
- The largest reported spills involve either sewage or effluents.
- There are a number of large saltwater spills occurring in the petroleum industry.
- Spills involving fuel oil and crude oil are the largest of the non-sewage/effluent spills.
- The number of spills exceeding 100 tonnes in Canada increases from 1984 to 1992; the frequency decreases after 1992.
- The industry base and industrial activity in each of Environment Canada’s five regions correlates to the nature of the major spills occurring in these regions.
This section provides information on major spills in Canada by Environment Canada regions for the years 1984 to 1995 (Tables 2.9.1 through 2.9.5). Environment Canada’s five regions are Pacific and Yukon (includes British Columbia and Yukon Territory), Prairie and Northern (includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories), Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic (includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland). The tables presented in this section provide information on the types and quantities of major spills occurring in Canada in various sectors, and the sources and causes of these spills.
The sectors reporting large spills include chemical, government, metallurgy, mining, petroleum, pulp and paper, and service industry. These are the sectors examined most closely in this report. The transportation sector, although recognized as an important sector and prone to major releases, has not been included for reasons discussed previously in this report (see ‘Notes for Sections 2.2-2.4’).
The range of major spills and the types of substances spilled vary from region to region. High-quantity sewage spills are prevalent across the country.
A large number of major spills in the Pacific and Yukon and Atlantic regions are discharges to water. Most major spills occurring in the Prairie and Northern Region are either from pipelines or the production field. Ontario has multiple large spills in the metallurgy sector. Quebec shows spills in a variety of industries, including the transportation sector, petroleum refineries, and the chemical sector. The sources of the major spills reflect the industry base and activity in each region.
|Raw sewage||Municipal government||100 000||Pipeline leak, discharged into a river|
|Effluent||Pulp and paper||27 000||Discharge from pulp and paper mill into a lake due to equipment failure|
|Raw sewage||Municipal government||21 300||Spill to a river due to equipment failure|
|Raw sewage||Municipal government||13 500||Overflow discharged into river|
|Raw sewage||Municipal government||11 000||Discharge into marine environment due to equipment failure|
|Effluent||Pulp and paper||4 800||Discharge from pulp and paper mill on land due to equipment failure|
|Chlorinated water||Municipal government||4 550||Pipeline leak, discharged into a harbour|
|Raw sewage||Municipal government||4 500||Discharge into a river due to equipment failure|
|Gypsum rock||Transportation||3 200||Shipping accident in marine environment|
|Chlorine dioxide solution||Pulp and paper||815||Tank rupture, discharge into river/marine environment|
|Crude oil||Petroleum||750||Pipeline spill on land|
|Chloramine||Municipal government||225||Pipeline failure|
|Crude oil||Petroleum||190||Pipeline failure, spilled on land|
|Sodium chlorate||Pulp and paper||150||Human error|
|Sewage||Municipal government||84 000||Spill from municipal sewage treatment plant|
|Mine tailings||Mining||39 000||Dyke failure as a result of material failure|
|Crude oil||Petroleum||13 075||Spill in production field, overflow due to human error|
|Saltwater||Petroleum||8 200||Pipeline failure due to corrosion|
|Saltwater||Petroleum||8 000||Spill in production field due to equipment failure|
|Gasoline||Petroleum||6 200||Pipeline spill due to equipment failure|
|Mine tailings||Mining||4 000||Dyke failure of storage pond|
|Mine tailings||Mining||3 300||Cause unknown|
|Crude oil||Petroleum||2 150||Pipeline leak due to material failure|
|Coal||Transportation||2 100||Train derailment|
|Crude||Petroleum||1 045||Pipeline spill due to corrosion|
|Effluent||Metallurgy||980 000||Dirty water discharge from a steel mill to harbour via storm sewer|
|Sewage||Provincial government||875 000||By-pass of chlorinated sewage due to storm|
|Sewage||Municipal government||300 000||Sewage by-pass due to rain|
|Sewage||Municipal government||250 000||Sewage by-pass due to rain|
|Sewage||Municipal government||160 000||Sewage by-pass due to rain|
|Effluent||Metallurgy||145 000||Discharge of dirty water from steel mill filtration plant into a lake|
|Sewage||Municipal government||100 000||Sewage by-pass due to rain|
|Sewage||Municipal government||80 000||Sewage by-pass due to rain|
|Sewage||Municipal government||72 000||Sewage by-pass due to rain|
|Sewage||Municipal government||65 000||Sewage by-pass due to melting of snow|
|Petroleum||Petroleum||4 050||Dyke failure|
|Ammonia solution||Chemical||3 650||Solution discharged to a river|
|Alcohol beverages||Food processing||3 500||Discharge of liquid into a sanitary sewer|
|Petroleum oil||Metallurgy||3 475||Discharge of oil and water mixture from steel mill into a lake|
|Petroleum oil||Metallurgy||3 060||Discharge of oil and water mixture from steel mill into a lake|
|Phosphate||Metallurgy||2 880||Discharged from steel mill into a storm sewer|
|Ammonia solution||Metallurgy||2 000||Discharge of cooling water mixture into a lake|
|Heavy oil||Petroleum||5 580||Above-ground tank failure in a refinery due to overstressed material|
|Sodium hydroxide||Chemical||1 640||Pipeline/equipment failure at industrial plant|
|Bunker C||Petroleum||715||Ship collision|
|Crude oil||Petroleum||400||Ship collision due to human error|
|Gasoline/P>||Mining||395||Failed valve fitting due to vandalism|
|Fuel oil||Petroleum||295||Above-ground tank spill due to human error|
|Fuel oil||Petroleum||250||Pipeline spill due to human error|
|Bunker||Petroleum||235||Ship grounding due to storm floods|
|Fuel oil||Metallurgy||205||Equipment failure in metallurgy plant|
|Light fuel oil||Petroleum||180||Overflow due to equipment failure from storage|
|Bunker||Transportation||155||Valve failure due to human error in rail transport|
|Sewage||Municipal government||132 000||Discharge into harbour from sewage treatment plant|
|Crude oil||Petroleum||17 200||Shipping accident due to severe storm|
|Pig Manure||Agriculture||4 550||Dyke failure from a private sector farming operation|
|Sewage||Construction||4 550||Intentional dumping of sewage into a river from a construction site|
|Sewage||Municipal government||3 200||Discharge into a river from a sewage treatment plant|
|Sewage||Federal government||2 300||Sewage escaped to a National Park from hole in lagoon|
|Industrial waste||General Food processing||2 300||Discharge due to lagoon wall failure|
|Fertilizer||Transportationation||1 200||Train derailment due to flood|
|Mine tailings||Mining||1 000||Brine spilled into brook|
|Bunker oil||Petroleum||910||Ship collision|
|Bunker oil||Petroleum||440||Ship grounding|
|Bunker oil||Petroleum||410||Ship grounding|
|Lube oil||Federal government||400||Pipeline leak to a lagoon|
The number of spills exceeding 100 tonnes rises steadily between 1984 and 1992 (Fig. 2.9.2). Since that time the number of large spills appears to decrease. This may be explained by industry’s management in the area of hazardous materials; with an increased focus on the elements of prevention and preparedness, the result is fewer major spills from 1992 to 1995.
- Date Modified: