Husky Energy can restart a repaired pipeline following a major spill of heavy oil and diluent that leaked into the North Saskatchewan River.
The Saskatchewan government said in an email on Oct. 12 that it has given the OK for Husky to resume operating the 16 inch line.
In July, 2016, a break in the pipeline near Maidstone leaked 225,000 litres of oil and diluent near the riverbank with about 90,000 litres of the mixture entering the river.
The spill forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Mel fort downstream to shut off their water intakes for nearly two months while cleanup efforts were in full swing.
Husky’s own investigation attributed the leak to a buckled pipeline due to ground movement following heavy rainfall in the area.
Significant testing, inspection and evaluation of the repairs to this line have been undertaken as Husky is committed to improving its operations to prevent another leak in the same area.
Husky’s integrity management program has been updated to include all geotechnical hazards and all management programs have been updated and implemented.
Additional measures include using thicker pipe on the sloped portion of the pipeline, and the use of various meters to monitor ground movement and water levels that may contribute to slope movement.
Other steps include additional state-of-the art fibre optic systems to monitor both pipeline strain and slope movement in addition to existing leak monitoring systems.
In addition to the new measures included in the pipe repair, Husky is required to submit weekly data from strain gauges installed on the pipeline.
The company is also required to submit an annual engineering assessment where the pipeline crosses the river.
All work on the line has been verified by the provincial regulator and a third party engineering firm.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister is still determining whether charges should be laid regarding Husky’s response to alarms on the pipeline system where the leak occurred.
Husky could face fines of up to $1-million a day under the Environmental Protection Act and $50,000 a day under the Pipelines Act in Saskatchewan and possible charges under the Fisheries Act.