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Third pipeline leak in Alberta in three weeks

Another oil leak was reported today by Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board. This one, the third in the last three weeks, is on Enbridge's Athabasca pipeline.

The statement on the ERCB website said:

The ERCB is responding to a release that occurred on Monday, June 18, 2012, at a pumping station on Enbridge Inc.’s Athabasca pipeline located approximately 24 kilometers south east of Elk Point.

Enbridge estimates a release of approximately 230 m3 of heavy crude oil. The ERCB has not confirmed this estimate.

The pipeline has been shut in and the pumping station has been isolated. No waterways are impacted and cleanup is underway. There were no injuries or no evacuations as a result of the release. All appropriate agencies have been notified.

The ERCB is investigating and will continue to work with the company, and other agencies to ensure that all appropriate clean up and mitigation measures are taking place.

Enbridge's own website had not mentioned the spill by late Tuesday afternoon. It did, however, have a long statement on a July 2010 spill in Marshall, Michigan.

In related news, Plains Midstream Canada issued its 11th update on the Red Deer River spill. In part, it stated:

•At peak yesterday, a total of 278 response personnel were onsite and continued to maintain containment and collect oil using skimmers, booms and absorbent materials. To continue to expedite clean-up, a third boom has been deployed on the reservoir. ...

•To ensure water quality, samples continue to be taken from the 28 established water sample locations. The sample are collected from locations upstream of the release point on the Red Deer River to the two water treatment plants located downstream of the Dickson Dam. Samples were sent for independent laboratory testing and Plains continues to share water sample results with the governing agencies. ...

•A team of 18 wildlife monitors, including four wildlife biologists and two wildlife technicians, continue daily patrols to conduct wildlife observations, inspect the wildlife fencing, provide human presence and sound off air horns to further deter wildlife.

Meanwhile Pace Oil & Gas, dealing with a third spill near Rainbow Lake, has not updated its cleanup activities since a June 6 news release.

The Enbridge spill is also being discussed on Twitter under the hashtags #abpoli and #oilspill.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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