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Imperial given weeks to plan fix for months-old Kearl tailings leak

Last Updated Feb 9, 2023 at 9:28 am MST

Alberta's energy regulator has given Imperial Oil until the end of the month to figure out a way to fix ongoing seepage at a tailings pond at its Kearl oilsands mine. The Imperial Oil logo at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on April 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta’s energy regulator has given Imperial Oil until the end of the month to figure out a way to fix ongoing seepage at a tailings pond at its Kearl oilsands mine.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) said a pond on the site north of Fort McMurray, has been seeping since May, releasing thousands of cubic metres of wastewater that contains toxins such as arsenic.

The seepage has been recorded both on- and off-site and is considered to have got into tributaries of area rivers.

While there have been no wildlife or human impacts from the releases, the AER said there has also been overflow of tailings water from one of the system’s holding ponds.

Imperial says it is working with the Regulator to try and resolve the problem.

Kearl is located about 130 kilometers north of Fort McMurray.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023.