Responders struggle with Alberta oil spill

June 13, 2012 at 7:50 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, June 13 (UPI) -- An official responding to an oil spill in the Canadian province of Alberta said site assessment is difficult given the high flow rates on an area river.

Plains Midstream Canada reported an oil leak from its Rangeland pipeline system in Alberta. The company said the pipeline wasn't in service at the time of the leak and high flow rates through the Red Deer River kept most of the spill contained to a nearby lake.

Martin Bundred, a director for Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development, was quoted by The Globe and Mail as saying site assessment was difficult.

"We have to use airboats to get in (and there are) lots of sandbars lots of obstacles -- whole trees coming down the river," he said. "It's not a nice place to be."

Plains said it recruited wildlife experts to assess potential damage from the spill but so far reported minimal effects.

As much as 3,000 barrels of oil leaked from the pipeline. Stephen Bart, vice president of crude oil operations for the company, said during a news briefing that plans were under way to remove residual oil from the pipeline.

"What we hope to do is build a vacuum station on the east side of the river and draw any residual oil up in to the vacuum station to purge it of any residual oil," he said.

The Globe and Mail reports that operation could take at least three days.

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