Second oil leak discovered in Maritime Electric cable

Maritime Electric has found a second oil leak in its cable between two Maritime provinces. The problem spot is located on land in N.B.

Company hopes to have leak fixed within 10 days

Maritime Electric has found a second oil leak in its cable between P.E.I. and New Brunswick, but this time the problem spot is located on land.

In March, the company found a small leak in the underwater portion of the cable.

Now, they've discovered oil leaking into the ground from another part of the cable in New Brunswick.

"Fortunately this time it's on land in New Brunswick about 100 metres from shore," said John Gaudet, a vice-president with Maritime Electric. "That means the repairs can start at once and won't be anywhere near as costly as the marine repairs."

Gaudet said they still don't know the cause of the problem.

"We won't know really until we have the pieces that have been leaking cut out and analyzed," he said.

The underwater leak cost Maritime Electric $4 million to fix. Gaudet estimates this ground issue to cost a fraction of that to clean up even though it's larger. But they won't know until they excavate and expose the cable.

He said they'll follow the recommendation of environmental officials, but they have two possible solutions: splice in new cable or apply a patch to the current one.

Gaudet said they weren't surprised to find a second leak.

He said Maritime Electric has been monitoring the underwater location. Since it was discovered in May, approximately 20 litres of oil has leaked out.

"We were suspicious that we had a second leak by virtue of the oil loss versus the oil we were adding to the system."

Gaudet said there's no evidence of oil at the surface of the ground leak. He said the company hopes to have it fixed within 10 days.