Clean up and investigation work is continuing on the Ocean Man First Nation, after a underground pipeline leaked an estimated 200,000 liters of oil onto First Nations farm land.
The leak, which was detected last Friday, did not affect any creeks or streams and has now been fully contained in the area.
Doug MacKnight the Assistant Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas with the Ministry of Economy, says the area of pipe that was leaking is now being tested to determine what caused the hole, that was on a weld connecting two portions of the pipe together, to form.
“The portion of the pipe that was leaking has been removed from the site, it has been transferred to Edmonton for metal testing and other evaluations to determine the root cause of the failure ,” said MacKnight in a news conference on Thursday.
MacKnight says the hole was very small, and was identified on site to be “very hard to see”, it has not been determined at this time how long the leak ran before it was discovered.
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Tundra Energy Marketing is in charge of the clean up and reclamation of the site.
As of Thursday they had removed around 180 meters cubed of oil, and nearly 455 tones of contaminated soil.
Clean up on the site included the use of vacuum trucks.
Currently it is believed that the leak did not exceed 200,000 liters, but further investigations could change that.
The pipe had been in the ground since 1968, however MacKnight says companies are responsible for updating their leak detection systems as the industry standard evolves.
He said that will be one focus in their investigation, was the company using proper leak detection systems, and why were they not notified of the leak sooner.
“Right now, that’s something we’ll have to be investigating, is whether the leak detection system they had in place was up to industry standards,” MacKnight told reporters.
There were other pipelines in the area that were abandoned or not operational at the time, which made it easier to identify which pipe it was, that was leaking.
MacKnight said they do not have a clear cut time-line on when the clean up will be finished, as soil samples will continue to be taken, and de-marking will be done.
He added that the clean up process has been running sufficiently and smoothly.
The Ocean Man first Nation is located about 140 kilometers southeast of Regina, near Stoughton.