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Water Security Agency Releases Results of Water Quality Sampling on North Saskatchewan River

Released on August 15, 2016

Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the first results of its ongoing water quality testing on the North Saskatchewan River and Saskatchewan River systems as a result of the Husky oil spill.

The results show no exceedances of the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines or the provincial drinking water standards.  However, exceedances were found relative to the Canadian Protection of Aquatic Life Guidelines.  One of the samples had an exceedance of toluene, and one sample had an exceedance of pyrene.

This additional sampling will help WSA make an informed decision on when and what is required to turn on the water treatment plant intakes for the communities impacted downstream of the spill site.

WSA is undertaking a water safety assessment to further evaluate water quality in order to reopen the intakes.  Specifically, WSA has requested further data from Husky and other agencies involved in the technical working group specific to drinking water quality.

This includes the following components:
  • Where is the remaining oil that has not been captured (evaporated off, degraded microbiologically, captured within river bed sediment or elsewhere);
  • What form is the oil in, is it a potential risk to the waterworks, and how will it respond or react to various factors such as flooding, or spring break-up conditions;
  • What short-term and long-term monitoring program will be required; and
  • Will any additional pre-treatment processes have to be considered for the existing water treatment plants.
Upon receiving this information, which is expected in the coming weeks, WSA will evaluate the findings as part of the water safety assessment and make a decision on when the water intakes can be reopened.

In general, the intakes from the North Saskatchewan River will be reopened when:

  • There is low risk of oil reappearing in the source water;
  • There is a risk of oil appearing but monitoring can detect this and intakes can be shut down prior to oil entering the system (back-up water systems must be in place); and
  • Water treatment plants can treat oil that may enter the plant.
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For more information, contact:

Felechia Brodie
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-3907
Email: felechia.brodie@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-513-7547

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