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'Significant' diesel spill cleanup continues
Up to 11,000 litres leaked in late October

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Monday, November 28, 2016

Work is still underway to clean up a "significant" spill of diesel fuel that occurred late October in Hay River.

Albert Bourque, the regional environmental co-ordinator with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the spill involved between 8,500 and 11,000 litres of fuel.

"It's definitely a significant spill," he said.

Some of the spill from a fuel-delivery truck upstream from the Mile 5 area, about seven kilometres from the mouth of the Hay River, made its way into the river.

Bourque said it is difficult to give any certain estimate on how much ended up in the river.

"It travelled a little over 100 metres off the property into a ditch down the riverbank," he said. "So it's difficult to say how much of it actually made it down to the water."

However, he said there was a visible sheen on the river.

Bourque said the spill was the result of a broken water-separating filter on the fuel truck, which separates water condensation in a tank from the fuel.

"Usually they come equipped with a glass sight bowl so that you can see the water in there and then you drain it off so that you're drawing off clean fuel and not the water," Bourque said.

"So it was a cracked sight bowl on a water-separating filter."

The cleanup of the spill has started.

The ditch has been cleaned and some contaminant remains unmoving on flat ground surrounded by barriers with absorbent materials in the event there is any water movement.

The department's investigation is not yet complete.

There is still no determination whether a violation of environmental legislation has occurred and if a charge is warranted.

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