A company responsible for an oil spill on the Red Deer River is winding down its cleanup and restoration efforts.
Stephen Bart, vice-president of operations for Plains Midstream Canada, said the company broke the Red Deer River into 15 sections and met with regulators to determine what should be done in each section.
The company has been working through the summer to get those areas cleaned up after up to 3,000 barrels (475,000 litres) of light sour crude oil ended up in the river on June 7.
The oil came from a Plains Midstream pipeline about one km north of Sundre.
Bart said that it now has interim closure on those sections.
“So we’re really shifting from the cleanup and remediation phase to a more longer term monitoring phase,” said Bart.
The company has estimated it will spend upwards of $53 million with cleanup and remediation activities. Bart said that monitoring involves various strategies.
One of them is a fish study to determine, what if any, impacts have resulted, Bart added.
Joe White bought his house in 2005 because he loves to fish. It’s located two km north of the spill.
“When I heard they said they had cleaned the river — I went for a walk and I came across oil,” said White, who showed Plains Midstream staff pictures at Saturday’s information session put on by Plains Midstream.
“It’s about a kilometre and a half downstream of the spill, so that’s why I came, was to show them and say, ‘what do you mean?’”
He fishes brown trout, bull trout and walleye.
“I don’t know if (the spill) has affected the system or not, but we’re keeping an eye right now because the bull trout are starting to spawn,” said White.
Bart said that daily activity will come to an end around early October, but there will be some monitoring in these various areas.
“In the spring, we’ll bring people back and regulatory people back and we’ll inspect each one of these segments again,” said Bart.
Bart said that there could be some residual stains that some people might confuse for oil or a spill.
“In some cases, trying to deal with that stain or blemish, the cure is worse than the disease,” said Bart.
“So it’s better to leave the stain rather than remove it — and let it diminish over time. Let Mother Nature deal with it, than deal with it by mechanical or manual means.”
Ila and Wayne Johnston, who have land just downstream of the spill, are still waiting for cleanup on their land.
“We feel it’s not all been cleaned up because our land was under flood when it happened and they haven’t been onto the land,” said Ila.
Wayne said that crews have cleaned up in the Sundre area where the spill occurred, but they left his area.
“They did a little cleanup but they didn’t finish the job,” he said. “There’s oil and crap on the trees — that you guys in Red Deer will be drinking next spring.”