Husky spill cleanup continues in North Saskatchewan River

Two weeks into the cleanup, 11 booms are on the North Saskatchewan River following a crude-oil spill discovered by Husky Energy Inc. on July 21. Ten of the 11 booms have been placed along an 18-km stretch below the oil’s point of entry into the river.

About 1,570 bbl leaked from an underground pipeline, and officials say more than half of the oil has been recovered (OGJ Online, July 26, 2016).

Saskatchewan province estimates 62,000 people have been affected. Various communities shut off water intakes from the river after the spill, and four have declared local states of emergency.

Some communities are relying on stored water in reservoirs or retention ponds. A 30-km temporary line was laid from the South Saskatchewan River to supply Prince Albert. It has pumps every 2 km. A shorter line was laid from the Little Red River.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment said more than 1,200 water samples have been taken. The wildlife death toll is about 60.

The breach in the Husky crude line is about 300 m from the river’s south shore, southeast of Lloydminster. The line was built in 1997. A smaller underground line nearby carries diluent.

Husky said pressure anomalies were noticed the evening of July 20 as several segments of the pipeline system were being returned to service. Husky started shutdown procedures at 6 a.m. on July 21.

The province says Husky will submit a full report within 90 days of the breach.

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