Canada’s Imperial Oil is repairing a culvert at its Kearl oil sands mine in northern Alberta after accidentally releasing 670 cubic metres of sediment-laden water into the Muskeg River from a settling pond, the company said on Wednesday.
The incident occurred on Nov. 13, and comes after Imperial was lambasted earlier this year for two other water management incidents at its Kearl site, including a months-long seepage from a toxic tailings pond that outraged local First Nations communities and prompted a federal investigation.
Imperial spokeswoman Lisa Schmidt said the water released from the settling pond had already been treated and approved for release. It was flowing through a channel connecting the pond to the Muskeg River, when it passed through a partially eroded area around a culvert, pushing soil sediment levels above approved regulatory limits.
“Water flow was stopped and materials were placed within the channel to slow the flow of the water to prevent further migration of sediment,” Schmidt said in an emailed statement.
Testing the next day showed that sediment levels had dropped back down within allowable limits, she added.
The Alberta Energy Regulator said there was no impact on wildlife reported.
(Reporting by Nia Williams, editing by Deepa Babington)