The authorities have determined that oil was intentionally dumped into a stormwater culvert on Tuesday.
The small spill took place near the city’s wastewater treatment plant. A large culvert, located just south of the plant, had heavy crude dumped into it’s drainage path. The oil appeared to have been dropped into the south end of the culvert from the road, with a large black streak heading down into the waterway.
According to Lloydminster Fire Chief Jordan Newton, around 2000 litres of oil were dumped in the incident. The spill was reported around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.
“At this time, it does appear to be an intentional release,” said Newton, speaking on Wednesday afternoon.
“The Saskatchewan Water Services Agency, as well as the RCMP, are involved in this investigation, and will be looking further to find the persons responsible.”
Newton said that efforts are underway to fix the damage caused by the oil release, and around 95 per cent of the oil has been cleaned up.
“There should be no permanent damage,” said Newton.
“We are working to remediate all the environmental impact to return that area to what it once was.”
Newton also indicated that the suspect in the case appeared to have used a “large transport vehicle” to dump the oil, pulling up to the ditch to unload.
“This isn’t a common occurrence,” said Newton.
“This is the first time that the city of Lloydminster has ever had an intentional crude oil release, such as this. We don’t think at this time that it’s going to be a repeated behavior, but if anyone has information on this release, they’re highly encouraged to contact the public safety office of Lloydminster, as well as the Lloydminster RCMP.”
Newton said that if someone was found guilty in the case, they could face serious and significant fines.
“If we did find the persons responsible for this intentional release, I’d really like to ask them why they would do something such as this,” said Newton.
The culvert is currently back in use, with booms set up and a third party environmental group to monitor the situation. There is no threat of the oil entering into the municipal water system.