September 1, 2016 6:56 pm
Updated: September 2, 2016 7:57 am

Saskatchewan water intakes closed after oil spill could reopen before winter

WATCH ABOVE: Coverage of the Husky Energy oil spill near Maidstone into the North Saskatchewan River

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The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) is hopeful communities affected by the Husky Energy oil leak will be able to turn on their water intakes before freeze up.

Although Sam Ferris with the WSA wouldn’t give a definite timeline, he did offer some reassurance.

“I’m fairly confident we’ll probably see the reuse of some of the intakes, most of the intakes, certainly before winter comes,” he said.

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The cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort had to shut off their water plant intakes after the July spill by Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) and find alternate sources.

READ MORE: North Battleford, Sask. lifts business water restrictions following oil spill

The news will be a relief to communities currently using other sources of water.

Prince Albert is drawing water from the South Saskatchewan River through a large hose, which come winter is subject to freeze.

The WSA continues to monitor and sample the river.

READ MORE: Nearly half of Sask. residents approve provincial government’s response to Husky spill: Mainstreet poll

Of 135 water samples taken, 43 have tested positive for petroleum substances and one has exceeded the drinking water limit of allowable hydrocarbons.

That was a sample taken near North Battleford according to Ferris. It tested positive for a carcinogenic substance.

Another 17 samples have tested above the standards set for aquatic life.

Sediment monitoring turned up 12 exceedances.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan First Nation says oil from Husky spill affecting sturgeon spawning

New test results from the area near the James Smith Cree Nation are complete.

Water samples came back clear but one foam sample taken from the surface of the water had 14 positive petroleum results.

A leak in a Husky Energy pipeline was first noticed on July 21, 2016. An estimated 225,000 litres of blended crude leaked into the North Saskatchewan River near Maidstone, Sask.

Clean up efforts are ongoing.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment said last week that almost 75 per cent of the petroleum that spilled has been recovered.

With files from The Canadian Press

 

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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