Journey Energy estimates pipeline near Winfield, Alta. leaked 8,000 litres of oil

A Journey Energy pipeline suffered two leaks last week. They are approximately half a kilometre south of Winfield, Alta. July 3, 2017.
A Journey Energy pipeline suffered two leaks last week. They are approximately half a kilometre south of Winfield, Alta. July 3, 2017. Les Knight, Global News

Editor’s note: Global News was advised Monday that updates had been posted on the Journey Energy site in a section called “Crystal Release Updates.” This article has been updated to reflect that information.

More than five weeks after a Journey Energy pipeline leaked near Winfield, Alta., the company is continuing to monitor the impact on wildlife while the Alberta Energy Regulator says cleanup efforts are ongoing.

On June 29, a second leak was discovered in the same area where 1,000 litres leaked from a Journey Energy pipeline the day before.

The second leak affected an unnamed creek that contains fish and serves as a habitat for other wildlife, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). On July 27, Journey posted an update to its website to say it estimated that both leaks resulted in the release of a combined 8,000 litres of oil being spilled.

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Thirty-six fish and two voles were found dead near the leak sites, it was reported in early July.

READ MORE: 36 fish, 2 voles found dead in 1 week since pipeline leaks southwest of Edmonton

Journey Energy did not return Global News’ inquiry about the size of the leak on Thursday.

The AER told Global News on Friday that Journey Energy was still onsite and cleaning up at the site where the leak took place but said it still hadn’t received an estimate for how much oil escaped.

While companies are required to report spills and their volumes to the regulator, there is no timeline for when they have to do that.

“We don’t specify when they have to because every spill is different and sometimes it takes varied amounts of time to clean up and… get final numbers,” Cassie Naas, senior advisor with the AER, told Global News. “When the cleanup is complete… this will be included in our incident investigation report – all those details will be there.

“Sometimes it takes a day to get the results depending on the spill and the complexity of it and sometimes it takes longer. It’s completely normal for this long a time.”

Mike Hudema, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, told Global News on Friday that information should be made available to the public as soon as updates are available.

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“Albertans and the public deserve timely information, they deserve to know what impacts this spill had, how big this spill is and what caused it and that information should be available.

“Yes, spills are complicated but within a few days, you should be able to determine how much was actually released,” he added. “And if you can’t determine that, it means there’s a much bigger problem.

Global News reached out to Alberta’s energy ministry for comment on the spill but the government declined to speak on the matter.

“Given that the AER is an independent agency responsible for the monitoring and regulating of pipelines, it would be inappropriate for the minister or any official within Alberta Energy to comment at this time,” an Alberta Energy spokesperson said.

According to Journey Energy, a biologist remains at the scene “monitoring wildlife activity, maintaining pitfall traps and inspecting fencing and wildlife deterrents.”

On July 27, the company said “little or no oil remains to be recovered at the site” and that it believes the time between the initial release and its discover was “less than two weeks.”