Oil spill hits close to home
About 230,000 litres of heavy crude oil was released from a pipeline, about 24 kilometres south of the Town of Elk Point on Monday, with the area since secured and cleanup efforts underway.
According to Enbridge Incident Commander, John Giacetti, there are 58 workers at the site cleaning up the area, while the investigation regarding the cause of the rupture is still ongoing. The spill has been contained, however it has not yet been determined when the cleanup will be complete.
Lac La Biche-St. Paul- Two Hills MLA Shayne Saskiw and council members from the County of St. Paul were at the site to observe the cleanup and were pleased with Enbridge's quick response.
Enbridge Inc. confirmed the oil release at its Elk Point oil pumping station on Line 19 (Athabasca Pipeline) at the location, stating that the release “is largely contained within the pumping station site.” Enbridge also stated in its release that there is no risk to public health or safety from the spill of about 1,400 barrels worth of oil.
In a statement, Enbridge said the cause “appears to be a failure of a flange gasket” in the pumping station. A flange gasket seals two pipe components together. The company said scare cannons have been set up as a deterrent to prevent birds from landing in the spill.
Once the Elk Point pump station was isolated and shut down, the line was safely restarted by Monday afternoon and was running normally, according to Enbridge. However, the pipeline was again shut down on June 19 on order of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). It has since been restarted.
“The ERCB is investigating and will continue to work with the company, and other agencies to ensure that all appropriate clean up and mitigation measures are taking place,” states an ERCB press release.
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