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City responds to strange substance floating in Oldman River: ‘We are containing it’

The City of Lethbridge is responding after a foaming, yellowish-orange substance was found floating in Oldman river late Tuesday. Global News

The City of Lethbridge is warning people not to dump any household products down city storm drains after a strange yellowish substance was found floating in Oldman River Tuesday evening.

“We think it is cooking oil,” water and wastewater operations manager, Leanne Lammersten, said.

“Anything entering the storm water system goes directly into the river untreated.”

“We want to remind people not to dump anything unclean into the storm drains in front of your house or at your place of business.”

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The oil amounted to between 3,500 and 4,500 litres and entered the river through Lethbridge’s storm water drainage system.

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The oil amounted to between 3,500 and 4,500 litres and entered the river through Lethbridge’s stormwater drainage system. Global News

Lammersten says she believes most of the substance has been contained at the river.

“The problem is that material could be anywhere in the storm system between the source and the river,” she said.

“It just takes time.”

But Lammersten says the fact that the oily substance is floating on the surface is a huge advantage when it comes to cleaning it up.

“We are using a vac truck to remove the substance from the surface of the water.”

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The city is still not sure where the substance came from and whether its disposal was accidental or deliberate.

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Alberta Environment  is investigating the incident and has not confirmed whether any of the surrounding wildlife were harmed by the spill.

When asked to speculate on an end date for cleanup, Lammersten declined to answer.

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