40,000 Litres Of Oil Spilled In Alberta, It's Dangerously Close To Edmonton's Water Supply

The cleanup will take three weeks.

An Alberta pipeline belonging to Bonterra Energy Corporation ruptured on Thursday, Aug. 15. As a result, 40,000 litres of crude oil was dumped into an Albertan creek. The site, Washout Creek Natural Area, is located about 150 kilometres from Edmonton. The creek flows directly into the North Saskatchewan River, which is where the City of Edmonton gets their water supply.

Around 8 a.m. local time on the morning of the spill, Bonterra identified an imbalance and began to investigate, according to their press notice. Around 1 p.m. Bonterra noticed that one of their pipelines had burst, releasing an estimated 40,000 litres of oil into Washout Creek. They immediately launched their Emergency Response Plan to protect from contaminates, minimize impact, and notify all appropriate officials.

Though there have been not been any Water Safety notices released at present, the spill is being investigated by the Alberta Energy Regulator. As of now, Bonterra Energy Corporation has been ordered to clean up the spill site. Bonterra has released a series of day-by-day press notices which outline their cleanup efforts for each 24-hour period.

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According to Bonterra, over 1200 feet of boom vacuums have been installed along the creek to recover the spilled oil. In areas that can’t be accessed by vehicles, helicopters are reportedly being deployed for recovery efforts. The energy corporation says cleanup and recovery process is expected to continue over the next three weeks.

This week will involve serious recovery efforts and the weeks to follow will be used for shoreline monitoring. Bonterra has stated that they are putting plans in place to try and minimize wildlife impact. These plans include barriers, visual deterrents, and people on site. With a diverse range of animals and wildlife in the area, we are unsure how impactful their protocol can be. 

Water samples are being collected constantly and the ongoing impact of the spill is being assessed. In the next 24 hours, Bonterra plans to continue recovery efforts, install more booms, install rain provisions, deploy wildlife protocol, and completely their Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique (SCAT) assessment.

As of now, it doesn't appear that Edmonton's water is being impacted, but we recommend paying close attention to the Water Quality Reports to be sure. As for long-term impact, the effects are unclear. Stay tuned!

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