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Burnaby Parkland Refinery Incident

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On January 21, 2024, an incident at the Burnaby Refinery, operated by Parkland, resulted in emissions with a strong chemical smell. Odour was reported in parts of Vancouver and Burnaby, following the path of the easterly wind. Metro Vancouver received over 150 odour complaints on this day. Metro Vancouver Environmental Regulation & Enforcement Officers attended the site in response to air quality complaints that were received. Metro Vancouver Environmental Regulation & Enforcement has now initiated an investigation into the incident. 

For ongoing updates from Burnaby Refinery, visit https://www.burnabyrefinery.ca/news/.​

Air quality bulletins


​​Metro Vancouver will continue to monitor air quality and work closely with the health authorities (Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, and BC Centre for Disease Control). If members of the public smell odour in their area, they can report it to Metro Vancouver at 604-436-6777 or online complaint form. If the need arises, Metro Vancouver will issue further air quality bulletins.

Air quality monitoring

 

 

Continuous air quality monitoringContinuous air quality monitoring<div class="ExternalClass0493382B1BCC443EAFA61B72890950C8"><p>Metro Vancouver operates an extensive air quality monitoring network that is suited to measure air quality that results from Parkland's typical emissions, however the monitoring network may not capture the full extent of non-typical emissions. Air contaminants that are typically emitted from Parkland Refinery that Metro Vancouver monitors continuously are particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, total hydrocarbons, reduced sulphur compounds, carbon monoxide, and black carbon. Data from the continuous ambient air quality monitoring network is made available every hour at <a href="http://www.airmap.ca/" target="_blank">airmap.ca</a>, along with current ​air quality information. ​<br></p></div>
Non-continuous air quality monitoringNon-continuous air quality monitoring<div class="ExternalClass00A7F1B6C63E4CE791C8F5409A1FE5F0"><p>Non-continuous sampling for over a hundred volatile organic compounds (VOC), including benzene and 1,3-butadiene, is conducted at eight air quality monitoring stations in the region, including North Burnaby and Vancouver-Clark Drive. Samples are collected on a once every six-day schedule for a 24-hour period by Metro Vancouver and sent to Environment and Climate Change Canada's laboratory in Ottawa for analysis of concentrations. The scheduled January sampling days were January 1, 7, 13, 19, 25 and 31 and did not correspond with the January 21, 2024 event.​<br></p></div>
Additional VOC samplingAdditional VOC sampling<div class="ExternalClass9C7101B781104067AC6F928D8A30C181"><p>During the Parkland Refinery's recent operational procedure to address issues encountered, Metro Vancouver collected additional VOC samples on January 25, 26, 27, and 28 at the North Burnaby ambient air quality monitoring station. These samples have been sent to Environment and Climate Change Canada's laboratory in Ottawa and will provide concentrations for over a hundred compounds, including benzene and 1,3-butadiene. It typically takes several months for analysis and results to be provided to Metro Vancouver from the laboratory.  However, Metro Vancouver has requested an expedited analysis of these samples and will publish the laboratory results on this page once they are available, which is expected to be mid-February. Metro Vancouver is prepared to deploy additional VOC monitoring, as needed, while the refinery works to resume normal operations.</p><p><strong>Thursday, February 15, 2024 – Expedited VOC Sampling Results:</strong></p><ul class="fa-ul"><li> <span class="fa-li"><i class="fa-light fa-file"></i> </span>​<a href="/services/air-quality-climate-action/Documents/voc-summary.pdf" target="_blank">Summary of VOC Sampling at North Burnaby on January 25, 26, 27, and 28, 2024</a>​​​</li><li> <span class="fa-li"> <i class="fa-light fa-file"></i> </span>​<a href="/services/air-quality-climate-action/Documents/voc-data-sampling-jan25-28-2024.xlsx" target="_blank">Raw data – VOC Results January 25, 26, 27, and 28, 2024 at North Burnaby</a></li></ul></div>
Review of air quality dataReview of air quality data<div class="ExternalClass5D10F8A5C1444CC8A9242BD74246556D"><p>​On the morning of January 21, Metro Vancouver determined that a number of odour complaints received in the morning were likely due to non-typical emissions from the Burnaby Refinery during the incident. A strong chemical odour, described as being similar to burning plastic, was reported in Burnaby and Vancouver, following the path of the easterly wind. Data from air quality monitoring stations was evaluated, and while measured air contaminants did not exceed Metro Vancouver's ambient air quality objectives, there may have been other contaminants present that the monitoring stations were not able to measure. Metro Vancouver's air quality monitoring network is suited to measure air quality that results from Parkland's typical emissions, however the monitoring network may not capture the full extent of non-typical emissions. We are working closely with health authorities, who are also reviewing the event.​<br></p></div>

Environmental regulation and enforcement

Metro Vancouver is responsible for issuing air emissions permits within the region, and assessing whether our requirements and bylaws are being met.  Metro Vancouver Environmental Regulation & Enforcement has now initiated an investigation into the January 21 incident.

Metro Vancouver officers are responsible for ensuring activities and businesses comply with Metro Vancouver bylaws and site-specific air quality permits. 

​​​linkMore information about compliance and enforcement​​

Metro Vancouver also handles complaints about outdoor air quality and odour in Metro Vancouver. We ask for concerns to be reported through our online complaint form or by phone to 604-436-6777 as the issue is occurring (whenever possible) to help us assess the issue most effectively. Additional information, including tips about making an air quality or an odour complaint is available on air qualit​​y c​omplaints. ​​

Public health

Metro Vancouver works closely with regional health authorities. The regional health authorities have requested air quality monitoring data for the January 21 incident and the days following, in order to inform their assessment of potential health impacts.​​

If members of the public smell odour in their area, they can move inside if they are outdoors, and close windows, doors, and air intakes to help reduce their exposure to the contaminants causing the odour. Running a portable air cleaner that uses an activated carbon filter may help to reduce indoor concentrations of some odour-causing contaminants. Additionally, indoor spaces with air filtration, including libraries and community centres, may have lower concentrations of contaminants. Consider spending time in these spaces if you are affected and able to.​​

If you have chronic underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma, and/or diabetes or are sensitive to air pollution, you may wish to reduce your outdoor physical activity if you find the air quality affecting you. If you are experiencing significant symptoms, including chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or wheezing, limit physical activity and seek prompt medical attention. Call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.



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 Quick links

 

 

Metro Vancouver’s Air Quality Regulatory Programhttps://metrovancouver.org/services/environmental-regulation-enforcement, Metro Vancouver’s Air Quality Regulatory ProgramMetro Vancouver’s Air Quality Regulatory Program
Annual Air Quality Summarieshttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/air-quality-reports , Annual air quality summariesAnnual Air Quality Summaries
Air Quality Objective Fact Sheethttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/Documents/air-quality-objectives-fact-sheet.pdf , Air Quality Objective Fact SheetAir Quality Objective Fact Sheet
Stack Monitoring and Test Resultshttps://metrovancouver.org/services/environmental-regulation-enforcement/air-quality-regulatory-program/stack-test-results, Stack Monitoring and Test ResultsStack Monitoring and Test Results
1217 - Parkland Refining (B.C.) Ltd. - Air Quality Permit - Issued July 28, 2022https://metrovancouver.org/services/environmental-regulation-enforcement/air-quality-regulatory-program/AirQualityPermits/1217%20-%20Parkland%20Refining%20(B.C.)%20Ltd.%20-%20AQ%20Permit%20-%20Issued%20July%2028%202022.pdf, 1217 - Parkland Refining (B.C.) Ltd. - Air Quality Permit - Issued July 28, 20221217 - Parkland Refining (B.C.) Ltd. - Air Quality Permit - Issued July 28, 2022

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