Tetra Tech’s Aurelien Hospital and James Stronach, et al. performed an oil spill simulation to evaluate the effectiveness of an oil spill response plan along Canada’s southwestern coast. Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) developed the plan as part of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which proposes to increase the capacity of the current pipeline and, if approved, will result in increased tanker traffic.

Our team used a modified version of the oil spill weathering and tracking model, SPILLCALC, for the evaluation. A hydrodynamic model provided 3D currents and water properties, and a wave model simulated waves. Wind data was obtained from the local network of coastal light stations and wind buoys. The oil spill model used booms and skimmers as mitigation methods. The skimmer’s characteristics including schedule of arrival and time to unload, as well as boom deployment, were provided by WCMRC.

The results of the spill model confirmed the need to reduce the time to first response, conducted by WCMRC and coast guards, due to the effects of currents on the floating oil and the close proximity of shorelines along the proposed shipping route. The results also validated the need to upgrade availability of early on-water storage capacity for WCMRC spill responders, which could be met by a large, fast, offshore storage vessel.

Aurelien Hospital, James A. Stronach, et al.
March 16, 2015
Aquatic Procedia, March 2015
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