January 16, 2013 The Delta Optimist A3
Port is still recovering from crash BY
A coal dust storm in April of last year was the result of a sudden and unexpected gust of wind.
Westshore looking to douse complaints over coal dust Company spending $7 million this year to upgrade its dust suppression system BY
Westshore Terminals is planning on spending millions this year to upgrade its coal dust suppression capabilities. Vice-president and general manager Denis Horgan told Delta council Monday night the coal port is planning on spending $7 million on new equipment. Horgan outlined the system for suppressing coal dust as the material makes its way from the mine to Delta to be shipped around the world. The presentation was in response to a letter from chief administrative officer George Harvie voicing con-
cerns about coal dust in the community. Horgan said once the coal is loaded into a rail car at the mine, it is leveled and sprayed with a latexwater spray. The solution is a binder than forms a crust that holds the coal in place for the trip. A few years ago, after CN Rail received complaints about coal dust coming off rail cars, the company built a second spray station near Kamloops that trains must path through enroute to the coast. “Since that time, they’ve had very few if any complaints. They tell me that the... complaints are in the single digits for coal dust,” Horgan said.
GARDEN from page 1 a 220-room hotel, a marina, a neighbourhood pub and limited commercial uses. To date, eight neighbourhoods have been constructed totaling 619 homes. While the initial plans largely consisted of singlefamily homes, the revised proposal for the remaining neighbourhoods includes 737 housing units, only 65 of which are single-family or duplex dwellings. The remaining units would either be in one of four five-storey apartment buildings (360) or three-
and-a-half-storey townhouses (312). Last October, Marina Garden Estates homeowners packed the association’s annual general meeting to hear an overview of the reviseed development and voted unanimously to oppose the density of the project. “The proposal being considered will add huge density to the Marina Gardens’ area and along with it will come significant issues around traffic, parking, access and an incredible
be automated and will be more responsive to weather conditions. He said the company is also planning to add six water spray towers and is looking at a fog cannon, which is mounted high in the air and sends out a fine mist to combat fine particulate matter. “So that’s what we plan to do between now and the beginning of summer to hopefully increase our dust suppression abilities,” Horgan said. Coun. Ian Paton asked why rail cars aren’t required to be covered. Horgan said rail companies have told him the most effective way to prevent coal dust is spraying.
Once at the terminal, 30 per cent of the coal goes straight from train to vessel while the other 70 per cent is unloaded and stockpiled. When coal arrives at Westshore it’s unloaded in a rotary dumper. There’s a building around the machine that’s sole purpose is to contain the dust. “There’s no other reason for the building,” he said. Currently the facility has several different pieces of equipment used to help keep coal dust down. There are 77 ground-level rain guns that use recycled water to wet the stockpiled coal and 35 high mast sprays that spray clean water onto the piles. Horgan said the company
also uses water trucks to clean roads and sprays magnesium chloride a couple of times a year, which is also used on logging roads to keep dust down. Horgan said there were a two dust incidents last year — one in April after a sudden and unexpected gust of wind and a second in October that was the result of high winds and dry weather. “It pinpointed to us the weaknesses in our system and they need addressing,” he said. To improve the system, Horgan said Westshore is replacing the existing rain guns with 96 new models. He said the newer rain guns will have more controls, can
change in the characteristic of this single-family neighbourhood,” association president Stan Lawson said at the time. “This plan is completely different than the development plan that was approved for Marina Gardens many years ago by a former council and it will have grave and negative impact, not only for the immediate area, but for Ladner as a whole.” A public information meeting on the proposal is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Ladner Community Centre from 7 to 9 p.m.
2013 flat-rate utility bill increases $15 to $930
Delta’s utility bills will rise $15 this year. On Monday night, civic politicians approved a 1.6 per cent increase to flat-rate utility bills, bringing the total to $930, up from $915 in 2012. Civic finance director Karl Preuss said council and staff worked hard to ensure the increase did not exceed the rate of inflation. Last year residents saw a $55 jump over the 2011 rate.
Preuss said $9 is going to cover an increase in regional costs for water and sewer services, while the remaining $6 will cover Delta costs for garbage and recycling. Preuss said even with the increase Delta still has one of the lowest flat rate utility fees for a singlefamily home in the Lower Mainland. The flat-rate utility bills will be sent out at the end of February.
Westshore Terminals vice-president and general manager Denis Horgan provided a brief update to Delta council Monday on the December crash that damaged a conveyor system at the coal port. “It was not one of our best days, unfortunately,” Horgan said. “So as we dusted ourselves off and got over the shock, we mobilized fairly quickly to get things going.” On Dec. 7, the Panamaregistered and Japan-owned bulk carrier Cape Apricot crashed into a causeway, destroying about 100 metres of the structure, including a coal conveyor system. It severed the only link with one of the port’s two loading berths, knocking out half the capacity of North America’s busiest coal port. No one was injured and the ship had only minor damage. The Transportation Safety Board is looking into the incident and Horgan said he has no idea why or how it happened at this point. He was told it would take “quite a while” to complete the investigation. “It is the first time in 42 years with more than 8,300 ships under our belt that we’ve had an incident like this and we hope not to have another one,” he said. Horgan said Westshore immediately hired a salvage company to begin the clean up. He said that all the larger pieces have been recovered and there are still a few small pieces left. The crash resulted in several tonnes of coal spilling into the water. Horgan said Westshore would soon look at salvaging whatever coal it can without further impacting the seabed. A company has been hired to fabricate the new trestle and a consulting firm has been brought in to supervise the environmental aspect of the salvage operation and rebuild. Horgan said the company hopes the work will be complete between midFebruary and the end of March. Westshore has filed a lawsuit against the ship’s owners alleging “the vessel was navigated, managed and operated in a negligent manner, or in the alternative, in a grossly negligent manner by her owners, master, pilot and crew.”
Delta Optimist January 16 2013