One year after the Husky oil spill, cleanup of the North Saskatchewan River is almost complete.
The province announced Thursday afternoon their monitoring of 717 kilometres of shoreline downstream from the Maidstone spill showed only “isolated” impacts along a combined six-kilometre stretch of the river.
Wes Kotyk, assistant deputy minister for the environment, said it’s difficult to quantify how much oil has been recovered beyond the 90 per cent figure announced before the river froze for winter.
“You’re not recovering actual oil,” he said. “You’re removing vegetation, maybe removing some of the impacted soil and sediment … There is very little that is left to be recovered.”
Kotyk added there’s no indication of risks to wildlife or humans from their test results.
The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of the spill, when a shift in the ground caused Husky’s pipeline to leak along the riverbank near Maidstone.
Nearly 225,000 litres of oil was spilled, forcing several communities along the river to find alternative water supplies.
Kotyk said all investigation materials related to the spill have been passed on to the ministry of justice, but he didn’t have a timeline on when any charges could be announced.
Husky could be penalized with fines of $50,000 a day under the Saskatchewan Pipelines Act, and up to $1 million a day under the Environmental Protection Act.
The company has promised to cover the costs of the oil spill response, which Kotyk didn’t provide a price tag for.
In the meantime, the province said Husky has received approval to begin repairs on the damaged section of pipe.
However, they’ll require a second approval before moving oil through the pipeline again.
—With files from 980 CJME’s Britton Gray.