Raising our spill and release standards
TELUS continues to use an effective process to track and report on our spills and releases. Under federal and provincial legislation, spills and releases over established thresholds are required to be reported to the appropriate agency. In addition to reporting externally, TELUS requires all spills and releases, regardless of amount, to be reported internally.
We recorded a total of 211 spills in 2011, which is less than the 221 spills we recorded in 2010. Of the 211 recorded spills, 35 were considered reportable by regulatory standards. We did not meet our target to report 100 per cent of all reportable incidents (our reporting compliance was 97 per cent) due to one incident that was not reported promptly. We conducted a thorough investigation, interviewing TELUS team members, and identified areas of improvement within our reporting process. We will implement these improvements in 2012.
The majority of our recorded spill incidents (over 80%) are halocarbon releases from air conditioning equipment used to cool our facilities and network equipment. The total weight of gas released decreased from 1,905 kg in 2010 to 1,656 kg in 2011. The volume of liquids spilled increased in 2011 compared to 2010, primarily due to a single large diesel spill which occurred at our remote Baie-de-Loups radio relay site in Quebec. Please refer to Contaminated Sites for a detailed description of the incident.
We continue to operate a 24/7 hotline that team members and others call to report spill or release incidents. The hotline staff also provide guidance for onsite management and subsidiary reporting to external agencies as required. Follow up and root cause analysis per incident are performed by the Environment team.
In 2011, we introduced a new method for the categorization of our spill and release incidents based on volume. Quantity ranges for each type of material have been developed for each category (A, B and C) based on regulatory standards and associated hazards. Using this classification approach, we have defined Category A spills and releases as reportable and serious and have set a target of zero Category A spills and releases in 2012.
Spills and releases reporting1
|Total spills and releases||211||221||160|
|Approximate volume (L)3||9,827||3,605||12,107|
|Approximate weight (kg)4||1,656||1,905||1,420|
|Category A – reportable, serious5||3||3||2|
|Category B – reportable, significant5,6||38||47||41|
|Category C – not reportable, insignificant5||170||172||117|
|1||Spill amounts reflect best estimates based on investigation results.
|2||Spill and releases below regulatory thresholds do not require reporting and are termed “Not Reportable.” Definition of "reportable" varies by jurisdiction.
|3||Volume in litres includes liquid petroleum hydrocarbons, battery acid, glycol and other.|
|4||Weight in kilograms includes refrigerants (Chlorofluorocarbons) and fire suppression agents (Halon and FM-200).|
|5||Halocarbon and fire suppression gases:
Cat A >100 kg, Cat B >10 kg and up to 100 kg, Cat C < or equal to 10 kg
Hydrocarbon: Cat A > 1000 L or enters water, Cat B > 100 L and up to 1000 L, Cat C < or equal to 100 L
Glycol: Cat A > 500 L, Cat B > 5 L and up to 500 L, Cat C < 5 L
Acid: Cat A > 50 L, Cat B is > 5 L and up to 50 L, Cat C < or equal to 5 L
|6||A small number of category B spills were contained appropriately and, based upon regulatory guidance, were not reported. As a result, these spills are not included in the total reportable spills in row 1 of this chart.|