Teams conduct oil spill drill in Whatcom Creek


BELLINGHAM - Emergency teams practiced how they would handle an oil spill into Whatcom Creek during a drill downstream of the Maritime Heritage Park fish hatchery Tuesday afternoon, June 4.

The Oil Spill Containment and Response Team from Kinder Morgan set up booms along the creek to simulate how they would stop spilled oil from spreading down the creek.

Meanwhile, a Marine Spill Response Corp. team from Bellingham placed booms in Bellingham Bay at the mouth of the creek.

No oil or any other product was put into the water during the drill, said Kelly Malinoski, emergency response and security adviser for Kinder Morgan Canada.

The company operates the Trans Mountain pipeline that transports crude from Abbotsford, B.C., to the refineries west of Ferndale and continues south through Bellingham into Skagit County. It is not the same pipeline that ruptured in 1999 and led to an explosion that rocked much of Bellingham.

Marine Spill Response Corp. is a private nonprofit that specializes in handling spills. In an actual spill, it would be called to help quickly limit any damage.

The state Department of Ecology requires Kinder Morgan to perform two such equipment drills a year, Malinoski said.

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