Calgary-based oil and gas producer ARC Resources Ltd. experienced a Christmas Day spill of about 400,000 litres of produced water from an oilfield pipeline near Drayton Valley, about 130 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, Alberta.
Some of the produced water — a byproduct heavy with saline from the extraction of oil and natural gas — flowed into an unnamed creek and then into the North Saskatchewan River, although ARC officials said they found no detectable levels of chlorides from the produced water leak in the river.
CBC News reported that a local landowner spotted and reported the spill.
With a qualified aquatics environmental specialist onsite, ARC immediately began its cleanup collaboratively with representatives from the Alberta Energy Regulator, Environment Canada, and multiple other stakeholders, the company said.
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By December 28, ARC officials said the release had been contained. In the days that followed, ARC continued the recovery of water at multiple locations and conducted daily sampling along the release area.
By this time, ARC was still awaiting approval from multiple regulatory bodies for some specific remedial strategies; however, ARC received approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator to implement the company’s communication, containment and mitigation, sampling and monitoring, fish and wildlife management, and waste management plans.
On New Year’s Eve, ARC continued sampling and field measurements throughout the day. Company officials said a regulator-approved freshwater flush was implemented at strategic locations.
Produced water recovery volumes continue to drop day-over-day, the company reported on its website.
Less than two months earlier, Husky Energy, another Calgary-based oil company, spilled some 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta.