Crews are trying to contain oil which spilled from a Husky Energy pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River on Thursday.
The spill has had a major effect on the City of North Battleford, which relies on the river for a large amount of its drinking water. The city is currently forced to use groundwater sources as it waits for the river water to be safe again.
Sam Ferris, executive director of environmental and municipal management services with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, said they are looking at potential backup solutions in the event the city cannot draw water from the river for an extended time.
“We are starting to look at alternatives for trying to remove and treat petroleum hydrocarbons from the water supply.”
Businesses like car washes and laundromats have closed as the city works to conserve water.
Currently the provincial government is not sure how much of the oil will be recovered from the river.
Wes Kotyk from the Ministry of the Environment said a number of factors are in play.
“It depends on the nature and … composition of the oil and the situation of the flow of the river.”
Kotyk said efforts to contain the spill were hurt when debris flowing down the river interfered with some of the booms, which were set up to block the oil.
The provincial government is not sure about what caused the pipeline to leak in the first place.
Bert West, executive director of the Ministry of Economy’s petroleum and natural gas division, said they still haven’t had a chance to inspect the pipe.
“We have to inspect on what’s happened to the pipe … and until it’s been dug up we don’t know where the location is (or) what happened.”
Editor’s note: a previously posted version of this story mispelled Sam Ferris’ name. News Talk Radio regrets the error.