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Clean-up starts after major oil spill in northern Alberta

Amount of spilled oil and fracking fluid at Pace Oil and Gas site unknown.


May 28, 2012
by The Canadian Press

RAINBOW LAKE, Alta.: An investigation is underway into what is being called a significant spill of oil and salty water from an energy site surrounded by muskeg in northwestern Alberta.

Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board says the spill happened last Saturday at a Pace Oil and Gas injection well, about 900 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Darin Barter, a board spokesman, says ERCB investigators aren’t sure how much of the mixture leaked from the site, located about 20 kilometres southeast of the tiny community of Rainbow Lake.

Barter says the spill has not been totally contained, but there are no nearby streams or creeks that would allow for the oil to escape from the area.

He says Calgary-based Pace is bringing in special equipment to deal with the situation, but there is no indication of how long the cleanup will take.

The company says crews are working around the clock to clean up the oil.

“We have an operating base in the Rainbow area so we were able to get men on the ground quickly,” says Pace president Fred Wood. “We do have a local wildlife and environmental firm out there, air monitoring, water monitoring. It’s not near any live water. We’ve contained the site.”

©The Canadian Press