The sighting of an oily sheen on the North Saskatchewan River from last week’s Husky Energy pipeline leak has prompted the City of Prince Albert to shut down the intake at its water treatment plant.
City manager Jim Toye says the slick was spotted near the Saskatchewan community of more than 35,000 shortly after 6;00 a.m. Monday.
Toye says reservoirs have a two-day supply of water and the city may get permission to tap its storm retention pond for treatment and distribution, which would add another four to five days worth of water.
Work is already underway to lay out a temporary pipeline stretching upwards of 30 kilometres to draw water from the South Saskatchewan River, should the water emergency continue for a much longer period.
Prince Albert city council is holding a special meeting to discuss what Toye calls “drastic” water conservation measures that call for a fine of $1,000 if anyone is caught breaking the rules.
The spill near Maidstone last Thursday released between 200,000 and 250,000 litres of crude oil and other material into the North Saskatchewan only about half of which has been recovered.
Wes Kotyk with the Ministry of environment says Environment and Climate change Canada are using aerial surveillance to help build a model and determine the effects of the spill.
Kotyk says the slick was about 15 km downstream from Maymont as of 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
He says the plume does break up into different areas, slowing in bends and being stopped by booms placed along the river.
He said Environment Canada continued to work on creating a model to determine the location and flow of the oil.
North Battleford is now fully reliant on a ground water system.
Sam Ferris with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency said “based on the conditions, things are going well.”
Officials are urge water conservation is key in these areas, and to not go swimming in any of the contaminated waters.
(with files from The Canadian Press)