Crude oil spills into Alberta river 0
Red Deer River. (MIKE DREW/QMI AGENCY)
CALGARY - Residents in central Alberta are concerned about drinking-water contamination after crude oil spilled into a tributary of the Red Deer River.
Efforts to contain the spilled crude are underway, and officials are monitoring air and water quality following a leak of up to 3,000 barrels -- 470,000 litres -- from Plains Midstream Canada's Rangeland pipeline into the Jackson Creek near Sundre, Alta.
The creek is one of the tributaries of the Red Deer River, a source of drinking water for a number of municipalities.
Bruce Beattie, Reeve of Mountain View County, said residents in the Sundre area are concerned about the spill that was announced Thursday night.
"I think any time you have any of these incidences it's a major concern," Beattie said.
"I don't know if you can attach blame, but certainly the operator of the pipeline is the one who has to take responsibility for it and any cleanup for sure."
Beattie said a portion of the pipeline goes through his private property and he hasn't had any problems before.
Booms have been placed in the area of spill and the water is being contained downstream at Glennifer Lake dam near Red Deer.
Bob Curran, a spokesman with the Energy Resources and Conservation Board, said Plains Midstream has deployed appropriate employees to recover the spilled crude.
"We're monitoring. We're assisting as required," he said.
Teams with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Heath Services and emergency responders have also been dispatched.
Curran said there's no indication as to how long monitoring teams will be deployed, but work will continue until officials conclude the environment and residents are safe.
The spill comes as Plains Midstream continues to clean up an April 29, 2011, pipeline spill of 4.5 million litres of oil northeast of Peace River, Alta.
The company said they're co-operating with provincial regulators to fix the problem in central Alberta.
"Plains' first priorities are to ensure the safety of community members and workers, and to minimize environmental impacts," the company said in a news release.
"Light sour crude oil has a strong petroleum odour but this odour does not pose a health or safety risk to the public."
Jessica Potter, a spokeswoman for Environment Alberta, said residents downstream from Sundre have been told not to take water from the river for any use until contamination has been ruled out.
Leslie Chivers, a spokesman for the City of Red Deer, said they're monitoring the situation as things develop, but are asking residents to check the city's website and follow them on Twitter or on Facebook for updates.