Crews in Innisfail have been hard at work since Friday cleaning up a spill of hydrocarbons that was discovered flowing into Dodds Lake.
The still frozen-over lake became the scene of a cleanup operation after a black slick stretching about 15 metres was discovered coming from a drainage culvert and running towards the lake.
Sarah Jackson, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development spokesperson, said a 2,000-litre holding tank was damaged and its contents spilled in. Jackson did not say how much hydrocabons spilled, nor would she identify where it came from.
Alberta ERSD investigators were on scene early Friday morning checking it out. But the spill was smaller in nature, and the remediation and cleanup is now left to the town and company responsible for the spill.
“We’re in the process of cleaning it up and dealing with Alberta Environment to mitigate it,” said Craig Teal, Innisfail director of planning and operational services.
Cleanup efforts began by about 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning with the Innisfail Fire Department containing the spill. After that, absorbent towels were used to soak up the hydrocarbons.
“On Monday, we were still doing some cleanup and I would imagine that is going to continue for the next couple of days,” said Teal.
“What’s unknown for us is how long the monitoring program may be.”
They are working with consultants to develop a monitoring plan.
Teal said the spill has taken up a fair amount of the town’s resources in terms of staff time and out-of-hand expenses.
Dodds Lake is not a potable water source. Innisfail is on a municipal water line and gets its water from the Red Deer River. Dodds Lake is set aside for active use in Innisfail, primarily for boating, waterskiing and tubing. However, swimming is not encouraged by the town.
Residents around the area are asked to stay clear of the streams leading into Dodds Lake while crews go about cleaning up the spill, and to make sure children and pets don’t go near the drainage course or the channel leading into the lake.
Environment Canada was also involved in the investigation.