July 21, 2016 6:28 pm
Updated: July 22, 2016 8:40 am

Husky Energy pipeline leaks oil into North Saskatchewan River

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan government says oil from a Husky Energy pipeline has spilled into the North Saskatchewan River upstream of Maidstone. Joel Senick reports.

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The Saskatchewan government says oil from a pipeline has spilled into the North Saskatchewan River.

The province said in an email that a breach was reported on a Husky Energy line upstream of Maidstone on Thursday morning.

“Based on our current information that we’ve received from the responsible party, it’s between 200 to 250 cubic meters [200,000 to 250,000 litres of oil],” Saskatchewan Environment Ministry Hazmat and Impacted Sites manager Ralph Bock told Global News.

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The province said Husky activated an emergency response team and berms were being used to contain the oil blend near the spill site. Another berm was being set up further downstream near Paynton.

“Right now our efforts are solely focused on the response phase and controlling the incident at the release point and then putting some controls in the North Saskatchewan River to keep the footprint of the incident at a minimum,” Bock said when asked about the cause.

Husky said it shut down the line and was working closely with neighbours and municipalities.

Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said the line runs from the company’s heavy oil operations to its facilities in Lloydminster and carries oil mixed with a diluent, which is a lighter hydrocarbon that’s added to ease the flow.

The province said an environmental protection officer had been dispatched to the site. It also said Husky, with co-operation from the province, was notifying river users downstream of the spill.

“There certainly could be some impacts to the shoreline and vegetation on the shoreline and potentially to wildlife and the eco system in general,” Bock told Global News.

He said the clean-up operation is a “very fluid and dynamic thing” that will be evaluated as efforts continue.

In North Battleford, which draws its water supply from the North Saskatchewan River downstream from the spill, city officials said they had been informed and were taking precautions.

Tammy MacCormack, the city’s environment manager, said it was unknown how long it would take for the flow to reach North Battleford. But water samples were being done, she said, and supply intakes were to be shut if the oil spill reached the city.

“Our plan is to be shut down when it goes by,” said MacCormack.

“We will be watching the water.”

With files from Global’s Joel Senick

© 2016 The Canadian Press and Global News

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