New boom fights Canadian oil spill

Authorities are building a new containment boom to fight an oil spill in a major western Canadian river, officials said on Saturday 23rd July, after the spill breached a previous barrier and threatened the drinking water of several communities along the coast. North Battleford, a city of 14,000 people that draws its drinking water in part from the North Saskatchewan River, shut its supply intake on Friday and switched to using ground water.

Some 1,572 barrels of heavy oil and diluent leaked from Husky Energy Inc’s Saskatchewan Gathering System pipeline on July 21st, flowing into the river. The Calgary-based company has shut the line  and has been working to contain the spill. It has said it has alternative ways to move oil and expects “minimal impact” from the event. Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said that the clean-up at the source is “nearing completion”.

The spill first appeared some 600 metres from the river. Water levels rose on Friday, pushing debris into the booms upstream from North Battleford and the oil continued to moved downward. Saskatchewan province has started building a new boom near the community of Maymont, about 50 km downstream from North Battleford.