Cleanup of central Alberta oil spill expected to take 3 weeks

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Bonterra Energy Corp. says it has 70 workers cleaning up the site of an oil emulsion leak from a pipeline into a creek that feeds the North Saskatchewan River in west central Alberta.

In an update posted on its website Monday, the Calgary-based oil and gas producer says cleanup and recovery of the saltwater and oil leak discovered last Thursday will continue until “all recoverable fluid has been retrieved,” which is expected to take about three weeks.The company says the pipeline severed due to the collapse of a creek bank following flooding at Washout Creek, 18 kilometres south of Drayton Valley.

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It says the release of an estimated 250 barrels or 40,000 litres of liquid was suspected due to an “imbalance” in the pipeline and an investigation led to the site of a rupture about five hours later.The Alberta Energy Regulator has issued an order directing that operations be suspended and cleanup completed at the scene in and around Washout Creek.No initial impacts on wildlife or people were reported.Bonterra says it has deployed about 4,000 metres of booms at multiple locations on the creek to contain and recover released fluids with the use of vacuum units and it plans to use helicopters with barrel skimmers at inaccessible locations.It says barriers, visual deterrents and people are being put in place to prevent harm to wildlife.“All possible resources have been deployed to the incident and will remain active until fluid recovery and remediation is complete, and since the company’s initial response, a significant volume of fluid has already been recovered,” the company said in a statement Monday.“Bonterra is working closely with regulatory authorities, area stakeholders have been notified, and the company will remain in contact with them until the incident is resolved.”

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