The City of Regina has confirmed that small amounts of hydrocarbons were released into the city’s sewer system from a Co-op refinery oil spill on May 22.
Neither the City of Regina nor the Co-op Refinery Complex issued a public notice to alert residents or media of the spill when it occurred.
The City of Regina’s Water, Waste and Environment director, Kurtis Doney, said when the city noticed the hydrocarbons in the wastewater collection on May 22, it notified the regulatory agencies as soon as possible, and then collected samples and discussed the situation with the Water Security Agency and was directed by the agency late on Friday, May 29, to inform downstream users,” Doney said.
“The hydrocarbon discharge was tracked to the Co-op Refinery Complex and the refinery has confirmed they were the source of the discharge and are responsible for reporting the event to a regulator.”
He said the city then collaborated with EPCOR to isolate and contain the discharge and reduce the risk to the environment.
“Despite our quick action, no municipal waste management plan is designed to treat this type of event. However, majority of the hydrocarbons were isolated in our lagoons,” Doney said.
“The city continued testing throughout the following days and further testing had indicated that some hydrocarbons were released to Wascana Creek. This information was received late last week due to the time it takes for the testing.”
According to Doney, the Ministry of Environment confirmed the elements released to the environment are low risk and clean up is in progress.
CRC notified the city they are implementing long and short term improvements to the quality of their wastewater and that the wastewater treatment plant is meeting all regulations right now.
According to Doney, the city and EPCOR are continually sampling the wastewater management plants and the Qu’Apelle River and Wascana Creek.
A full investigation is ongoing to track the costs associated with the clean up which the city will recoup from CRC.
Unifor Local 594 which alerted Regina residents and the media to the spill when it occurred, released a statement calling on the Ministry of Environment, and all other appropriate agencies, to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the oil spill.