New information released on Tuesday means the timeline of when an oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River began is different than first thought.
Initial reports suggested the spill began Thursday but we now know it appears to have started much earlier.
Husky filed an initial report with the Ministry of Economy, as is required when incidents like this happen. That report says the spill began 12 to 14 hours earlier.
The report shows a pipeline release was discovered at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday night on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. Two-hundred and fifty cubic metres of blended crude oil was released on the shore and into the water. According to Husky, a response team didn’t arrive until Thursday morning.
“I don’t have the details on the Wednesday night activities,” explained Al Pate on Tuesday, Husky’s clean-up and recovery head.
Pate insists, regardless of when the spill began, they are confident in their estimate that 200 to 250 cubic metres of oil is how much was leaked.
“The system we use measures volumes from one point in the line to another point so the data we’ve got is accurate in terms of loss of volumes,” Pate said.
So far 69,000 Saskatchewan residents are using alternate water sources or under boil water advisories. Three cities – North Battleford, Prince Albert, and Melfort and surrounding areas will likely see an oily sheen on nearby water.
Health regions are working to ensure supplies aren’t contaminated and both households and businesses can call the Husky emergency line to make a claim. The number is 1-844-461-7991. People can also email email@example.com.
Minister Reiter and I continue to reach out to community leaders along the river to offer any additional help from the province.
— Brad Wall (@PremierBradWall) July 26, 2016
Husky is taking full responsibility. So far some wildlife has died as a result of the spill, including birds, fish, and a frog.
Work to clean-up the shoreline and the river continues.