Town of Innisfail must wait until Dodds Lake thaws to assess damage from spill

While an oil slick found in a drainage stream that feeds into Dodds Lake in Innisfail has been contained, town officials will have to wait for the lake to thaw to see what, if any, damage has been done.

While an oil slick found in a drainage stream that feeds into Dodds Lake in Innisfail has been contained, town officials will have to wait for the lake to thaw to see what, if any, damage has been done.

Cleaning efforts continued all last week after a 15-metre-long oil slick was discovered on April 11. At an upstream site, a damaged 2,000-litre holding tank let loose hydrocarbons into the stream.

Craig Teal, Innisfail director of planning and operational services, said the town’s environmental consultant, AMEC Consulting, was in town and gave the town direction for taking care of the spill.

“We put out additional booms as a precaution,” said Teal. “We’re pretty confident the hydrocarbons have been contained and we’ve been putting in absorbent pads and cleaning that out since the incident began.”

Contaminated vegetation on the shores of the drainage stream was removed.

“With the ice on the lake we were not able to get out and do any testing of the water in the lake,” said Teal. “Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to monitor, on a daily and weekly basis.”

As well, after rain they will monitor the lake and drainage streams for hydrocarbons that may seep in from the runoff.

“Once the ice is off the lake, we will be asking our consultants to go out and do some more testing,” said Teal. The testing is dependent on how long the ice takes to melt.

Dodds Lake is not a potable water source. Innisfail is on a municipal water line, getting its water from the Red Deer River.

However, Dodds Lake is used for recreational activities such as boating, waterskiing and tubing. Swimming is not encouraged by the town.

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development investigators were on scene shortly after the spill and Environment Canada was also involved in the investigation.

Because the spill was smaller in nature, cleanup and remediation is left to the town and the company responsible for the spill.

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