Saskatchewan’s environmental protection branch says a major pipeline oil spill near North Battleford is a very rare event and of a higher magnitude than the province is used to.
Department spokesman Wes Kotyk says fish and wildlife staff are working to develop a plan in case wildlife is affected by the spill from a Husky Energy pipeline near Maidstone.
Husky has said between 200-thousand and 250-thousand litres of crude oil and other material leaked into the North Saskatchewan River yesterday.
Husky was trying to contain the spill using booms across the river, about 40 kilometres upstream from North Battleford, where officials have shut down the city’s water intake plant.
Chief operating officer Rob Peabody said some of the spilled oil was on land and was being recovered.
The pipeline runs from Husky’s heavy oil operations to its facilities in Lloydminster and carries heavy oil mixed with a lighter hydrocarbon, called a diluent, that’s added to ease the flow.
North Battleford operations manager Stewart Schafer says they have about three days of water supply stored and then they will have to start up their other plant.
Mayor Ian Hamilton is asking residents to slow the flow from their taps to help ensure an adequate supply.
The city also and Husky are building a berm around the water intake of the water treatment plant to prevent the oily water from getting in.