Oil spill cleanup continues

Cleanup continues at Dodds Lake in Innisfail, where a greasy black oil slick appeared on Friday.

Cleanup continues at Dodds Lake in Innisfail, where a greasy black oil slick appeared on Friday.

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development reported Friday afternoon that there had been a spill earlier in the day, stretching 15 to 20 meters from a culvert that brings stormwater into the small lake ­­— a popular recreation spot and home base for a variety of sporting clubs.

Katrina Bluetchen, communications director for ESRD, directed inquiries on Sunday to an update stating that cleanup continues at the lake and the owner of the suspected source had built a berm around the tank to contain material that had leaked from it.

In the update released at 7 p.m. on Saturday, ESRD reports that booms placed at the inlet channel and at the lake’s outlet had both been reinforced.

The update says an unknown quantity of hydrocarbon is believed to have leaked from the 2,000-litre tank.

The update does not identify the hydrocarbon that leaked from the tank.

Pools of contaminants were picked up and contaminated soil was also scraped and removed from affected sites. Absorbent pads remain in place at the inlet, which is also being skimmed of contaminants.

Bluetchen did not say whether the owner of the leaking tank is facing charges as a result of the spill.

The unnamed individual or business has hired an environmental consultant to conduct a full remediation of the site, starting Monday.

The Town of Innisfail has also hired a contractor to continue cleanup and remediation at the lake.

Former mayor Jim Romane said on Saturday that Dodds Lake has been used for a number of years as a stormwater retention pond, with water levels managed under the direction of ESRD, with the added benefit of providing recreation for people and habitat for wildlife.

“It would be a shame to see it damaged,” said Romane.

The lake drains into Waskasoo Creek, which flows into the Red Deer River.

While there may be some springs under the lake, the town’s storm system is its main water source.

“I think it’s a great asset to the town and always has been. It’s been a little been better managed over the years. Alberta Environment got involved a few years ago.

There was quite an extensive study process that went on a number of years ago.”

It is a popular feature for Innisfail residents and has recently seen an increase in residential development around its shores, said Romane.

World Champion waterskiers Craig and Jaret Llewellyn got their start on Dodds Lake and the Cottonwood Kayak Club also trains on its waters.

There has also been increased interest in building homes around its shores, he said.


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