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Husky’s Saskatchewan pipeline to restart

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Husky Energy has been given permission by the Saskatchewan government to restart the pipeline responsible for a major oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River in July 2016.

According to the National Observer, the government said in an email to media on Thursday that testing, inspection and evaluation of repairs to the pipeline had been successfully completed.

In July 2016 the pipeline leaked 225,000 litres of oil with diluent in onto a riverbank near Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Around 40% of the oil spill reached the river, fouling the water source for the cities of Prince Albert, Melfort and North Battleford and forcing them to shut down their water intakes for up to two months.

An internal investigation from Husky determined that the pipeline buckled because of ground movement. The energy supplier has accepted full responsibility for the incident. Measures have apparently been taken to reduce the risk of a future incident at the spot, including the installation of thicker pipe on the sloped portion of the pipeline.

Other steps include adding meters to monitor ground movement, alongside fibre optic technologies to track strain on the pipeline.

The speed with which Husky responded to the leak, and informed the government about the incident, is a cause of some controversy. Saskatchewan’s Justice Ministry is currently reviewing Husky’s response to alarms prior to the spill to see if charges should be brought.