A sign is posted at Glennifer Resevoir at Dickson Dam north of Sundre, AB June 9, 2012. A pipeline broke nearby spewing thousands of gallons of oil, stretching for kilometres along the Red Deer River and into the resevoir, a popular recreation area.
Credits: Jim Wells/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY - Alberta Ministry of Environment officials are satisfied with efforts to clean an oil pipeline leak that sent thousands of barrels of sweet crude down the Red Deer River into Glennifer Lake.
"It was a high streamflow, so much of (the oil) got flushed right into the lake, which was actually a good thing because they can contain it easier," said spokeswoman Jessica Potter. "We just make sure they are doing it correctly and we are satisfied with the progress so far."
Roughly 3,000 barrels of sweet crude - about 470,000 litres - were released into the Red Deer River near Sundre, Alta., when the Rangeland South pipeline, owned by Plains Midstream Canada, burst on June 7.
The crude flowed downstream into Glennifer Lake, a popular fishing destination.
Booms were put in place to contain the oil, said Potter, and crews are working to clean it up.
"There's a significant amount of product along the shoreline, but they've got bird deterrents along the lake," she said. "On the lake itself they're using skimmers, and there's some big absorbent pads they put down along the shoreline as well.
"Part of the difficulty is because there was such high water for a couple of weeks, some of the areas are quite tough to get into."
No timeline has been set for the cleanup, which Potter said will likely take weeks to months to complete.
"They're trying to clean the lake up as quickly as they can. Obviously, it's summer," she said. "There's a variety of pressures on the company from both environmental cleanup and from the community."
Government officials have found four dead fish, said Potter. Some of animals covered in oil- two beavers, a crow and a goose- were taken to Medicine River Wildlife Centre near Innisfail.
"(The animals) will get cleaned up and checked and if they're good, they'll get released," she said. "Right now, they're being cleaned and are under observation."
Open houses were held Saturday for residents of Glennifer Lake Resort and Country Club and Carefree Resort on Glennifer Lake, however media were barred from attending.
Officials with Plains Midstream Canada did not return calls for comment Saturday.
In a statement on their website, the company said a nedia availability is scheduled for Monday, however no announcements will be made.