The Sea to Sky Gondola is reporting a diesel spill that took place over the weekend.

On Sunday staff members discovered that fuel was leaking from a storage tank. After stopping the leak it was found that a valve on a diesel storage tank was inadvertently knocked open during snow clearing and 2,362 litres of marked bio-diesel was spilled.

In a statement the company says the tanks sit on a large pad designed for containment saying; ‘The pad and the cold dry snow surrounding the tank contained the leak and prevented any exposure to the surrounding area. The spilled fuel has since been secured and will be removed and properly recycled at an off-site facility.’

Sea to Sky Gondola General Manager Kirby Brown says they conduct regular dips in the tanks to know exactly how much fuel is in them, and they know their daily consumption. So staff were able to work out exactly how much fuel was spilled. Weather may have played a helping hand in containing the spill. Kirby says that the cold dry snow captured the majority of the fuel and turned it into a slurry; “we were able to shovel and bag all of the snow surrounding the tanks so that it wasn’t able to permeate and contaminate”.

Environmental monitoring company Ambleside Environmental are now on site conducting soil samples to see what depth the fuel may have reached. Snow pits are being dug around the pads to make sure there was no other leakage of fuel. Soil and gravel on the pad are also being removed to make sure that any fuel on the pad doesn’t leak into the environment in the spring thaw. Cascade Environmental will also be attending the site to assist with cleanup.

Brown says that he doesn’t know of any incidents like this happening before at the site. He says it was a manual mistake rather than a mechanical floor; “In the course of shoveling snow and moving around on the top of the tank they [staff] bumped it with either a shovel or heel of a boot or something like that and literally opened the valve.” Kirby says that to make sure this doesn’t happen again they’ve now removed a handle from two valves that equalize the tanks.

The company said all required regulatory agencies have been notified and the incident has not affected operations.


Photo Credit: GoToVan /

Filed under: BC, Diesel, Gondola, Sea to Sky Gondola, Spill, Squamish