An investigation into the Husky pipeline incident on July 20, 2016 has been completed and according to Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan says the Ministry of the Economy has delivered the findings of this investigation to the Ministry of Justice.
“Since the Husky spill in July, we’ve recognized that we need to do better when it comes to preventing incidents,” Duncan said. “The changes announced today will help ensure that workers and the environment are well-protected moving forward.”
The pipeline leaked an estimated 225,000 litres of heavy oil into the North Saskatchewan River and affected an area of about 41,500 square metres — with about 40-percent of the spill liquid flowing into the river.
The incident forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut off their water intakes from the river and find other water sources for almost two months.
Husky said it spent about 100-million dollars responding to the spill and wrapped up shoreline clean-up efforts in October after recovering about 210,000 litres of what spilled.
Doug McKnight is the Assistant Deputy Minister with Petroleum and Natural Gas. In a teleconference Thursday morning, he confirms the investigation is changing hands.
“We have turned over the report and all the investigation materials to our colleagues at the Public Prosecution Branch at the Ministry of Justice,” says McKnight. “The branch will now conduct a thorough review of the findings in order to determine what charges, if any, are to be presented.”
Wes Kotyk, the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environment Protection Division with the Ministry of Environment says with the changing seasons and conditions, more clean up work can continue.
“Clean up activities were suspended for the winter,” says Kotyk. “Husky is in the process of gearing up activities beginning this spring. The main activities will include additional shoreline assessment and water and sediment sampling.”
Sam Ferris with the Water Security Agency says with milder weather, crews will more easily be able to detect any problems.
“Right now we are working on monitoring plans associated with spring break up,” says Ferris. “We’ll be able to see what, if anything happened.”
- Cost of cleanup for Husky in North Saskatchewan river oil spill has grown
- Report from Husky Energy shows oil spill into North Saskatchewan River caused by ‘ground movement’
According to McKnight a statement of ‘substantive findings’ of the investigation has been provided by the government and these items were released:
- The cause of the pipeline break was due to mechanical cracking in a buckle in the pipeline.
- The buckle was caused by ground movement on the slope which occurred over many years. The investigators have concluded the slope movement was not a sudden one-time event.
- The volume of spilled material is approximately 225 cubic meters of oil blended with distillates.
- It is estimated roughly 60-percent was contained or recovered on land prior to the point of entry into the river. The released volume was independently calculated by the investigators. This volume calculation will continue to guide the provincial response and monitoring of the clean-up.
While the technical review is complete, government officials indicate the full report will be released once all prosecution-processes and any appeals have been concluded.