Almost two weeks after oil spill, pipeline supplying water to Prince Albert, Sask.
Almost two weeks after the Husky oil spill contaminated the North Saskatchewan River, Prince Albert, Sask., has met its goal of attaining three reliable sources of water.
Tuesday marked the first full day a 30 kilometre pipeline carrying water from the South Saskatchewan River to Prince Albert was operational.
“It did pump Monday for about five hours, shut down overnight, and it’s been operating since early this morning,” said city manager Jim Toye.
Canadian Dewatering, the company in charge of setting up the pipeline, ran into difficulties. Toye said the line was supposed to be completed by Sunday night, but several problems arose.
“It’s been a moving date as far as when the South Saskatchewan pipeline would come on board. There were some timelines that weren’t met, but they did make their way through those. Some of it was piping, some of it was issues with pumps and some with lines. That’s all been resolved now,” Toye explained.
WATCH BELOW: Coverage of the Husky Energy oil spill near Maidstone into the North Saskatchewan River
Prince Albert is using water from retention ponds, the South Saskatchewan River pipeline and the Little Red River pipeline. Going forward, the South Saskatchewan pipeline will be the main source of water.
Toye said the three sources provide volumes close to the amount of water regularly taken from the North Saskatchewan River.
Talks have begun to decide if and when restrictions will be lifted on residents and businesses like laundromats and car washes, which have been under an emergency conservation bylaw.
“We will develop a plan and we’re talking about that today. How we can make all of our residents, businesses and rural areas 100 per cent whole as far as receiving safe potable water from the City of Prince Albert.”
Toye said Prince Albert isn’t in the clear yet. The water pipelines are just a short term solution because they can’t withstand a Saskatchewan winter. Now the process of brainstorming innovative ways to bring residents reliable water sources for the winter begins.
Ash Olesen, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment, said crews have washed over 900 kilometres of shoreline and recovered 133,000 litres of oil and diluent from the river. That’s more than half of the estimated 250,000 litres spilled into the river.
According to Olesen, the chances of recovering all of the oil and diluent are “low” because some oil sediment is at the bottom of the river.
The Ministry of Environment says 1,217 samples of water have been taken from the river and 900 of those analyzed. The results of 256 of them will be shared with stakeholders Tuesday and the public on Wednesday.
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