The Saskatchewan government is defending its handling of a pipeline leak southeast of Regina.
Greenpeace says the province took three days to announce the leak had fouled farmland on the Ocean Man First Nation.
The group says it’s astonished the Saskatchewan government waited three days to announce the 200-thousand-litre oil spill.
Spokesman Keith Stewart says it’s worrisome pipeline spill detection technology and systems seemed to fail.
The leak happened at the Ocean Man First Nation — where a local band member who had worked in the oil industry detected the smell of crude oil days before the leak was actually discovered.
Meantime, Energy Minister Dustin Duncan says the government was only informed of the incident late Friday night.
Of the 200-thousand litres spilled, 170-thousand have been recovered — and none has crept into waterways.
Duncan says an excavation to find the leak will begin Wednesday.
A University of Saskatchewan geoscientist cautions it is notoriously difficult to completely clean up after an oil spill, and if there is seepage into the ground it could make it to water or nearby wells.
This oil spill from a Tundra Energy Marketing pipeline near Stoughton was discovered on Friday and the public was told on Monday.
Grant Ferguson says, although it wasn’t the case this time, river crossings are the most at risk for pipeline failures because of ground slumping, which is what happened this past spring near Maidstone.
There has been more slope movement over the past 5 to 10 years because of high water tables and a what seems to be a wetter phase in the climate.
With about 30-thousand litres of the 200-thousand litres spilled left on the ground, the excavation to take that earth away is expected to begin on Wednesday.
Ferguson expects there will be lasting effects to the spill however, because when it gets in the ground, it is really difficult to get out.
He says there is no way to eliminate all the risk for pipelines, so companies and stakeholders need to be prepared and have an emergency response in place.