Crews are working trying to contain oil which spilled from a Husky Energy pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River.
The spill has had a major effect on the city of North Battleford, which relies on the river for much of its drinking water. This has left the city dependent on ground water sources in the mean time.
Sam Farris of the Water Security Agency said the agency is looking at potential backup solutions in the event the city cannot draw water from the river for an extended time.
“We are starting to look at alternatives for trying to remove and treat petroleum hydro carbon from the water supply.”
North Battleford is working to conserve water, and as a result business such as car washes and laundromats have closed.
Currently the provincial government is not sure how much of the oil will be recovered from the river.
Wes Kotyk from the Ministry of the Environment said a number of factors are at play.
“It depends on the nature and … composition of the oil and the situation of the flow of the river.”
Kotyk said efforts to contain the spill were hurt when debris flowing down the river interfered with some of the booms, which were set up to block the oil.
The provincial government is also not sure about what caused the pipeline to leak in the first place.
Bert West with the Ministry of the Economy said the ministry will not know for sure until they have the chance to fully inspect the pipe.
“We have to inspect on what’s happened to the pipe … and until it’s been dug up we don’t know where the location is (or) what happened.”