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Husky Maidstone Oil Spill

Latest News

May 30, 2018 Update

  • Water quality monitoring continued throughout the winter and will proceed for the summer. Results have not exceeded any applicable criteria.
  • Aquatic environmental monitoring will continue in 2018. It is designed to detect a change in fish and benthic macroinvertebrate (small organism) communities as a result of the spill.
  • Ongoing sediment sampling will also be conducted in 2018 in order to identify any residual oil in the river sediments.
  • Shoreline Clean-Up Assessment Techniques (SCAT) surveys will also be conducted in the spring, with a focus on the area from the point of entry to approximately 21 km downstream.
  • The Ministry of Environment will continue to oversee the 2018 activities conducted on the North Saskatchewan River as a result of the Husky 16Tan incident.

September 15, 2017 Update

  • The Ministry of Environment continues to oversee clean-up activities, ensuring that Husky manages the incident to minimize environmental and water supply impacts.
  • Shoreline clean-up and assessment continued in 2017 with more than 900 kilometres of shoreline surveyed and over 6.5 kilometres of overall shoreline cleaned up.  The focus of the clean-up activities has been within 20 kilometres of the point of entry.
  • Clean-up and monitoring activities are anticipated to continue until October 2017. The remaining activities will focus on 18.5 km from the point-of-entry near the Highway 21 bridge crossing.
  • The fish assessment is complete and the consumption advisory lifted. Wildlife surveys are complete and no further risks were identified.
  • The water sampling program will continue. No exceedances of criteria were reported, with the exception of one upstream of the point-of-entry and one near Prince Albert; however, these exceedances are unrelated to the 16Tan incident. Surveys will continue in areas that have had corrective actions completed to ensure clean-up objectives have been met.
  • It is expected that monitoring will be required for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

July 20, 2017 Update

  • Stage two of North Saskatchewan River shoreline cleanup and assessment began on July 6. This final stage of cleanup and assessment is expected to wrap up in mid-August, with ongoing monitoring through summer and fall.
  • Since July 6, teams have surveyed 90 kilometres along the river and completed  26 corrective action plans (areas where more work is required than on the spot ‘complete -as-you-go’), primarily focused within 20 kilometres of the initial spill area. Examples might include areas with remaining oiled woody debris, vegetated mats or oil buried by sediment.
  • This stage includes the use of dogs to identify any further areas requiring cleanup, particularly around the spill location and other areas where oil was previously found.
  • An average of 45 people are working on the North Saskatchewan cleanup and assessment each day.  
  • There are 47 corrective action plans to date, to address sporadic spots of oil on 6.5 kilometres of shoreline.
  • The amounts of remaining oil are relatively small and isolated, and assessments tell us that any remaining oil is weathered and low overall risk to the river quality or wildlife. Examples of areas still requiring cleanup include oiled woody debris, vegetated mats and oil buried by sediment.
  • Shoreline cleanup and assessment for the remainder of the summer will focus on the areas closest to Maidstone and North Battleford, as well as First Nations land in the area.
  • Ongoing water sampling has been taking place at key locations since spring melt, and additional sediment and fish sampling resumes later this month.
  • Six summary reports have been submitted to the Ministry of Environment. The reports do not indicate any ongoing concerns with fish populations or habitat, nor any risks to human health from fish consumption.
    1. Aquatic Community Compilation Report
    2. Human Health Risk Assessment for Precautionary Fish Consumption Advisory
    3. Aquatic Habitat Report
    4. Wildlife Management Plan
    5. Organoleptic Testing (Taste Sensory Evaluation) of North Saskatchewan River Fish
    6. Semipermeable Membrane Device to assess potential fish polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) tissue concentrations in the North Saskatchewan River
June 28, 2017 Update
  • Stage one of the Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment on the North Saskatchewan River ended mid-June, with a total of 550 areas surveyed and 40 corrective action plans in place.
  • Stage two is expected to begin in early July, when water levels start to decrease along the river. This will include returning to the river to assess the impact of rising water levels along the core spill area, First Nations land, and areas further along the river towards North Battleford and Prince Albert.
  • The implementation of corrective action plans will also continue, with cleanup crews addressing each action identified area. These are expected to occur throughout July and August until complete.
  • Water sampling continues throughout this timeframe; there have been no exceedances this season.
  • There have been no exceedances of hydrocarbons in sediment core sample results to date.
  • Submerged oil detection devices continue to be checked in Prince Albert and North Battleford. No oil has been detected.

June 7, 2017 Update

  • The Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams have completed 285 survey areas, including locations near Moosomin, Little Pine, Red Pheasant and parts of Thunderchild First Nations.
  • A device to detect submerged oil at the North Battleford and Prince Albert water intakes is examined on a weekly basis and has observed no detectable oil since its placement in early May 2017. 
  • Water samples continue to be collected at Dear Creek, Highway 21 crossing, Paynton Ferry, North Battleford and Prince Albert bi-weekly. No exceedance of potable water or fresh water aquatic life criteria have been identified in 2017, to date.
  • A helicopter survey and K9 units help to identify potentially impacted areas.
  • Corrective actions have been initiated in the core area where oil entered the river. An additional 26 survey areas will require corrective action plans or cleanup operations. 
May 18, 2017 Update
  • Activities on the North Saskatchewan River resumed on Monday, May 8 to continue with Husky’s corrective action plan, which includes a 2017 shoreline cleanup and assessment program.
  • 2017 activities include observation and the removal of any additional oil-impacted areas, establishment of a submerged and sunken oil working group, an additional wildlife assessment, and ongoing community engagement.
  • A wildlife assessment was completed in May 2017 and no risks to wildlife were identified during the survey.
  • Sediment sampling started up again in May and depth of disturbance devices will be installed at a number of locations to identify areas where oil may have been deposited.
  • The Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams have surveyed 61 segments, including locations near Moosomin, Little Pine, Red Pheasant and parts of Thunderchild First Nations, and will begin cleanup work in 21 segments.
  • Four K9 units have been dispatched to help identify potentially impacted areas.
  • On May 12, 2017, officials from the Ministries of Health and Environment reviewed several reports containing results of the testing and analysis conducted on fish from the North Saskatchewan River. Based on the review, ministry officials believe that fish in the North Saskatchewan River are safe to eat. As a result, the “Do Not Consume” Fish Advisory issued last year has now been lifted.
  • More information about the 2016 oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River is available in this information sheet.

About the spill

On July 21, 2016, a leak was reported on Husky Energy's 16TAN pipeline where it crosses the North Saskatchewan River near Maidstone, Saskatchewan. The pipeline was immediately isolated at the river crossing valves, and spill response crews were dispatched.

The break occurred on land, approximately 160 metres from the riverbank on the south slope of the river and 75 kilometres upstream of Paynton Ferry, Saskatchewan. An estimated 225 cubic metres (m3) of crude oil blended with condensate was released, and about 60 per cent of this volume was contained on land.

The spill response was overseen by a unified command structure involving Husky and the Government of Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) provided science support and guidance. This unified command stood down on September 14 and Husky used its own incident command structure until October 1.

Husky's ongoing spill management project will address longer-term monitoring, regulatory compliance requirements and ongoing stakeholder engagement, and will target the cleanup of any potential small, isolated areas that warrant remediation in 2017. 

2016 shoreline cleanup and assessment

A Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) team surveyed and documented affected areas and provided an accurate picture of shoreline conditions, leading to the development of response and cleanup plans.

The SCAT process relies on experienced observers, is based on a systematic approach to data collection, and employs standard terms and definitions. Five to nine SCAT teams were working each day, including two K9 units. 

The first phase of SCAT safely removed any mobile oil and the heaviest concentrations of oil from the shoreline. The second phase removed recoverable oil to meet the goals developed by Husky, Ministry of Environment and ECCC.

Assessment and cleanup included: collection of free liquids near the release point; soil and vegetation removal at the release point and along the shoreline; and removal of oil from the river through the use of skimmers and absorbent materials.

The land impacted by the spill at the point of entry was completely remediated to meet regulatory criteria for soil and closure requirements.

Specially trained dogs (K9 units) located small areas of oil, and were the first of their kind deployed in Canada.
A late-August flood event redistributed oiled debris that had not yet been recovered and necessitated a second survey phase to characterize the post-flood oiling conditions and cleanup requirements. Husky has conducted additional winter monitoring and will re-survey in 2017. This will involve an overall environmental protection plan (EPP) to the Ministry of Environment with proposals for remedial strategies and/or monitoring, to address any remaining impacts.

A human health risk assessment addressed potential risks to people whose water is sourced from river-based intake systems downstream of the 16TAN spill. The assessment evaluated the risk to people drinking untreated water directly from the river. Risks were found to be within acceptable limits for lifetime drinking water use.

On September 16, 2016, the Water Security Agency advised the communities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort, as well as SaskWater, that they may again start diverting and treating water from the North Saskatchewan River and Codette Reservoir.

2017 planned activities

A corrective action plan including a new 2017 Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment (SCAT) program has been developed, with field work expected to begin in early May.

Some planned activities include:
  • Engaging with First Nations communities and Aboriginal associations, with impacted shoreline access. Regular meetings to discuss concerns, plans for 2017 SCAT program, business inclusion, traditional use studies, etc. will occur with local First Nations communities. Engagement with other Aboriginal groups is ongoing.
  • Husky will continue to work with agencies and the municipalities that were impacted by the release.
  • A post-treatment (cleanup) assessment program will be developed by Husky in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and ECCC, and aligned with the Saskatchewan Environmental Code for any corrective action plans.
  • An Environmental Protection Plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment that includes the shoreline assessment (resurvey/re-inspection) program design, the Tier 3 (no further treatment) endpoints, and the overall SCAT data management plan.
  • Summary documentation of the 2017 SCAT program will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment. First Nation stakeholders will be engaged for the SCAT program, including involvement in the assessments and the Tier 3 endpoints implementation aspects.
  • The observation and the removal of any additional oil-impacted areas, such as small isolated areas and oiled vegetation mats will be addressed. The area at kilometre point 18.25 will be reassessed and remediated to meet cleanup objectives.
  • A Submerged and Sunken Oil Working Group consisting of Husky, regulatory and subject matter experts will be initiated. The Working Group will review the 2016 sediment sample, bottom oil and oil fate and transport data and findings in order to develop the 2017 program.
  • In spring 2017, an additional wildlife assessment will be conducted to determine any potential continuing threats to wildlife.

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