Oil from Co-Op refinery leaks into city sewers

Weather is being blamed for an incident May 22 where an unknown amount of oil from the Co-Op refinery spilled into city sewers.

In a statement from Federated Co-Op, the company says the issue was detected May 22 when analysis showed irregularities.  The early investigation shows strong, sustained winds leading up to May 22 resulted in sediments in the pond being stirred up which resulted in a discharge of sludge into the sewage system.

The statement goes on to say there was no threat to the natural environment and the investigation is ongoing.

Unifor 594 says this news is disappointing, but not surprising.

“With the refinery using inexperienced scab labour to operate an intricate and complex refinery, it’s these types of major incidents that we were afraid of when we were locked out back on December 5, 2019,” said  local President Kevin Bittman, Local 594 President. “I’ve worked at the refinery for 23 years, and windy conditions are not abnormal in Saskatchewan, so the explanation doesn’t have merit. There is more to this than just weather.”

Bittman adds that it was the City of Regina that apparently discovered the spill and not FCL which should be a concern to everyone.  He also wonders how many other incidents have happened that have gone unreported.

The union says this incident is drawing similarities to the 2016 Husky spill into the North Saskatchewan River, and that they will be calling on the Ministry of the Environment and other agencies to conduct a full investigation.

Numbers from Environment Canada show the top wind speed on May 22 was 48 km/h with the top wind speed on the 21st being 67 km/h and 64 km/h on May 20.

Opposition leader Ryan Meili is also weighing in as he once again says it is time for the government to end this dispute and get workers back on the job.

In a statement, Meili says this dispute has gone on far too long, and is putting lives and vital infrastructure at risk. The Premier has the power to end this lock-out through legislation, but has chosen not to.

Over 700 workers, represented by Unifor 594, have been off the job since being locked out on December 5 after they served strike notice.



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