Remember The Tar Sands Leaks That No One Knew How To Stop In July? They’re Still Leaking.
BY KATIE VALENTINE ON SEPTEMBER 25, 2013 AT 3:31 PM
CREDIT: Global News
Tar sands oil that began leaking more than four months ago in northern Alberta is still bubbling to the earth’s surface, an environmental disaster that has prompted the Alberta government to intervene.
The government hasordered Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., the company in charge of the leaking Primrose tar sands operation, to drain two-thirds of a 131-acre lake on the property in an attempt to plug one fissure, located directly below the lake, which has been spilling tar sands oil into the lake over the four months. The order, according to CNRL, willallow the company to identify the exact location of the leak and attempt to halt it. The company’s plan to stop the other three leaks on the site is unknown, though CNRL says the seepage rate from all four leak sites has been reduced to fewer than 20 barrels a day.
The first of the four ongoing leaks at the Primrose site was reported May 20, and may well have started leaking long before that. As of September 11, the leaks have spilled more than 403,900 gallons — or about 9,617 barrels — of oily bitumen into the surrounding boreal forest and muskeg, the acidic, marshy soil found in the forest. In addition, 14,491 metric tons — 31,947,188 pounds — of “impacted soils” have been removed from the site, along with 515 cubic meters — 18,151 cubic feet — of oily vegetation. Two beavers, 49 birds, 105 amphibians and 46 small mammals have been killed as a result of the spill, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator.