Massive spill questioned

ZAMA CITY — A First Nation wants answers from a Texas-based oil company after a pipeline spilled 9.5 million litres of industrial waste water in northern Alberta.

ZAMA CITY — A First Nation wants answers from a Texas-based oil company after a pipeline spilled 9.5 million litres of industrial waste water in northern Alberta.

Dene Tha’ leaders are to meet Monday with Apache Canada Ltd. officials in the remote community of Assumption.

Sidney Chambaud, a band councillor, said they want more information about what happened and what the company is going to do about it.

“There are wildlife impacts and water and land impacts,” Chambaud said in an interview Thursday.

“Right now within that area the trees, the vegetation and the soil are dead. The water is contaminated.”

The Energy Resources Conservation Board has said the spill of water containing salt, oil and minerals was first reported on June 1, but the board didn’t learn about its size until Tuesday.

Chambaud said the 42-hectare spill is so large it raises questions about how long the pipeline that carries water used in oil and natural gas operations had been leaking.

He said some band members believe the pipeline had been leaking since the winter, but no one noticed it until earlier this month.

“There are indications that the spill occurred earlier, during the winter season, but due to ice and snow it wasn’t discovered.”

Chambaud said water from the spill has leaked into a stream that runs through a small aboriginal community and onto land used by band members to hunt and trap.

Alberta Environment has monitoring crews outside of Zama City looking at the effects of the spill.

Staff was taking water samples for testing and checking animals. An assessment of vegetation is to begin later this week.

The department said crews were removing water from the spill area and storing it in tanks. Culverts were being plugged to stop the spill from spreading.

Nikki Booth, a department spokeswoman, said Alberta Environment and the ERCB are investigating what happened.

“Alberta has some strict environmental laws,” Booth said. “If we believe the law has been broken charges can be laid. But at this point in time this incident is still under investigation.”

The spill prompted the New Democrats to call on the provincial government to release a report into the safety of Alberta’s network of oil and natural gas pipelines.

Alberta Energy commissioned the study last summer following major breaches of oil pipelines owned by Plains Midstream Canada.

One spill last June near Sundre fouled the Red Deer River after about 475,000 litres of oil spilled.

Earlier this year the province charged U.S.-based company over an April 2011 breach near the community of Little Buffalo in north central Alberta following a spill of 4.5 million litres of oil.

“This government can’t be trusted to protect our air and water,” NDP member Rachel Notley said of the Apache Canada spill.

“It took the government and the ERCB more than 10 days to confirm the volume and affected area of the spill, and that response is simply unacceptable.”

An Alberta Energy official said Thursday the pipeline safety review report will be released in the very near future, but declined to elaborate.

Apache Canada officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto in April. Alberta’s unemployment rate this past month was 11.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. This is nearly half a point lower than October when the unemployment rate was 10.7 per cent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Job recovery in Alberta remains uneven: ATB Financial

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, employment in Alberta’s hospitality sector remains down the… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels winger Arshdeep Bains had two assists in the first period Monday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in WHL action in Lethbridge. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Hurricanes hand Red Deer Rebels ninth straight loss

Hurricanes 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Hurricanes 8 Rebels 5 (Monday) The goals… Continue reading

Red Deer City Hall. (File photo)
Red Deerians will see a slight tax increase, but the municipal portion is at zero per cent

The provincial educational requisition went up by about half a per cent

The length of grass on people’s lawns could be part of the new Community Standards bylaw being considered by Red Deer city council. (Black Press file photo).
Loitering, noise complaints, swearing covered in proposed bylaw

A few old rules could be dropped and new rules added

Sweden skip Niklas Edin makes a shot against Scotland in the Men's World Curling Championship gold medal final in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Curling's Humpty's Champions Cup in Calgary has been pushed back a day due to the delayed finish of the men's world championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

People line up in the rain for a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the Masjid Darus Salaam in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Provinces defend health restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise

Provinces defend health restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta legislature Speaker apologizes for condemning new COVID health restrictions

Alberta legislature Speaker apologizes for condemning new COVID health restrictions

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Most Read