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Emergency declared after Husky oil spill

Water restrictions in place as oil plume migrates through North Saskatchewan River.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Emergency declared after Husky oil spill
Emergency declared in city in Saskatchewan in central Canada with oil from a pipeline rupture is threatening drinking water supplies. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

REGINA, Saskatchewan, July 26 (UPI) -- A city government in central Canada declared a state of emergency as an oil spill into an area river travels downstream to threaten drinking water supplies.

The city government in Prince Albert declared an emergency and shut down the local intakes for a water treatment plant along the North Saskatchewan River.

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"The oil plume traveling down the North Saskatchewan River has been visually detected upstream and has approached the district of Prince Albert," the city government said.

Responders working with Canadian company Husky Energy are cleaning up after about 1,550 barrels of oil was released about a quarter mile from the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Prince Albert's government issued a temporary ban on everything from watering of lawns to retail car washes in an effort to conserve water. A $1,000 fine is enforceable for businesses and residents who violate restrictions in place under the state of emergency.

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The provincial government in early July warned flows from the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers from Alberta were at record lows for this time of year because of low runoff from the neighboring province.

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As of Sunday, the company said cleanup operations at the site of the pipeline breach has been completed and containment boom was in place in the river. By Monday, the company said shoreline cleanup was underway, starting with the first 12 miles of soiled areas.

The company said water monitoring and environmental sampling is ongoing.

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A pipeline is under construction to bring water from the South Saskatchewan River. No timeline for completion was listed.

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