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Imperial Oil mum on cleanup plan for tailings leak

Last Updated Feb 14, 2023 at 10:47 am MDT

Imperial Oil has filed a plan for interim cleanup of one of the largest oilpatch spills in Alberta history but won't say what it is. The Imperial Oil logo at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on April 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Imperial Oil Ltd. has filed a plan for the interim cleanup of one of the largest oilpatch spills in Alberta history, but won’t say what it is.

A spokeswoman for the oilsands giant says the company has sent a plan to the Alberta Energy Regulator as required.

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

No new information about the massive spill and seepage event has been released by the company or the regulator.

The regulator says it’s in the middle of an investigation of how more than 5,000 cubic meters of tailings overflowed from one of its tailings dams at its Kearl site north of Fort McMurray.

That alone would make it one of Alberta’s largest spills, but Imperial must also deal with an unknown amount of toxic tailings that have seeped into groundwater and are pooling on the surface.

The seepage has been going on since at least May and still continues.

According to last week’s order from the AER, Imperial’s plan is supposed to include ways to stop and clean up the leak and seepage as well as to study wildlife impacts, including humane euthanasia of affected animals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2023.