It has been over a year since the Husky Energy oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River and the company promises the cleanup efforts are complete.
Husky Energy representatives made the announcement at last night’s council meeting in North Battleford. Chris Meloche, with Husky, approached the podium and told council the good news regarding the cleanup efforts for the spill, which occurred in July of 2016.
“At this point in time we are done all our cleanup work and have met regulatory closure for all aspects of the cleanup,” Meloche said. “There is one area about 19 kilometres downstream from where the spill occurred and we are waiting on the approval from the ministry of environment to carry out that work.”
In total 5,440 water samples have been taken, none of which have exceeded regulatory criteria since October of 2016. Meloche added Husky will continue to monitor the surface water for the remainder of 2017.
Meloche said after considering all the data collected, he believed North Battleford could go back to running their water systems as usual.
“It is within Husky’s beliefs that based on these results, we do not believe there is any oil left in the river that would present unacceptable health risk to residents or any oil in the river that would present risks to infrastructure,” he said.
Council then turned their attention to the decommission of the GE Filtration system and the waterline to Battleford, along with recommissioning the F.E. Holiday Water Treatment Plant. The plants filtration system was shut down because of the spill and was replaced temporarily with the GE Filtration system.
According to administration, decommissioning of the filtration system and waterline was supposed to commence this Friday, but director of operations Stewart Schafer said the process could happen earlier.
“It could start as soon as I text the consultant and contractors who are biting at the bit to get going,” Schafer said. “It will take two weeks to makes sure the filtration system isn’t contaminated, but at the same time we can start taking things apart.”
According to administration the plant will be up and running in two weeks.
As for the waterline to Battleford, the agreement was to uninstall it on Sept. 15, but council will request it stay two weeks after the water treatment plant is up and running as a precaution. The city will stop drawing water from the line this Friday.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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