A pipeline has spilled 200,000 litres of crude oil onto agricultural land on First Nations land northeast of Weyburn, Sask., the provincial government said Monday.
According to a government spokesperson, the Ministry of Environment was told late Friday of a pipeline leak into an area owned by the Ocean Man First Nation. The location of the leak was approximately 10 kilometres north of Stoughton, which is 62 kilometres east of Weyburn. The government said the ministry was notified as soon as the leak happened.
Two hundred cubic metres (200,000 litres) or just under 1,400 barrels of crude oil spilled onto the land. The government said the spill site is a “low-lying area with a frozen slough.”
“The spill is fully contained within the spill location and the oil is not entering any creeks or streams,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Doug MacKnight, assistant deputy minister of the petroleum and natural gas division in the Economy Ministry, spoke with reporters Monday afternoon about Friday’s spill.
He says that it appears the oil is contained to the low-lying land where it was discovered.
“That’s the evidence on the ground yes indeed, but until all the work’s done we won’t know for 100 per cent. But for now it looks like it’s been contained to the low area where the oil was discovered,” MacKnight said.
After the leak was discovered, the pipeline was shut down.
The Ocean Man First Nation and Environment and Climate Change Canada also learned about the spill on Friday evening. Chief Connie BigEagle of the Ocean Man First Nation has been at the site, the government spokesperson said, and will be told of repair/remediation activities.
Tundra Energy Marketing, which owns the pipeline, is leading the cleanup, which began on Jan. 21. So far, surface oil has been removed with vacuum trucks and as of Jan. 23, approximately 170 m3 (173,000 litres) had been recovered. Excavation of the affected line is expected to take place Wednesday. It will then be sent away for testing.
The government said environmental consultants are also at the site and are investigating.
At this time, the Saskatchewan government said local air quality and wildlife have not been affected.
Provincial officials found out about the leak on Friday, but the public wasn’t notified until Monday afternoon.
MacKnight says this delay was because the government didn’t know the volume of the spill until Monday morning.
“At that point we felt it was prudent to let everyone know what we were up to,” MacKnight said.
The government said the source of the leak will not be known until the site is excavated and the location of the breach is confirmed. Officials added this may take some time, as there are several pipelines in the area and they still need to confirm which one broke.
Last July, the Husky Energy pipeline leaked up to 250,000 litres of oil into the North Saskatchewan River.