Husky admits crews missed leak night of Saskatchewan oil spill

Husky Energy says it sent crews out to see if there was a problem the night before a 250,000-litre oil spill was discovered — but they missed the leak.

Company revises statement to government, now says leak was found 14 hours later than initially stated

Husky Energy says it missed the oil leak the night of the Sask. spill. (CBC)

Husky Energy says it sent crews out to see if there was a problem the night before a 250,000-litre oil spill was discovered near Maidstone, Sask., but they missed the leak.

That's part of the company's recent clarification on what happened on July 20-21, on the west side of the province.

The spill allowed oil and chemicals to flow downstream toward North Battleford, Prince Albert and other communities, affecting water supplies and prompting local states of emergency to be declared in several areas. 

In its initial incident report to the Saskatchewan government, Husky said the "pipeline release" was discovered around 8 p.m. CST Wednesday, July 20.

The company has since filed a revised incident report, saying the spill was spotted Thursday, July 21, at 10 a.m. 14 hours later.

In an email to CBC News, a Husky spokesman said "pressure anomalies" in its pipeline system were detected the night before the leak was spotted and that prompted the company to take various measures.

"As a precaution, crews were dispatched along the gathering system and did not identify a leak," the spokesman said. 
 
"As a further precaution, aerial surveillance was also organized overnight to fly the length of the pipeline at the first available daytime opportunity. As our analysis continued through the night, we decided as a further precaution to start safe shutdown procedures at about 6 a.m." 

There's no word yet, from either the company or the government, on the exact time the leak actually started.

Oil travelled 500 km

Contaminated water from the North Saskatchewan River is causing problems for North Battleford, Prince Albert and other communities. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

Meanwhile, at a briefing today with provincial officials, reporters were told that the oil spill has now travelled downstream about 500 kilometres. 

Four communities, the largest being the city of Prince Albert, have now declared local states of emergency.

Devin Heroux's tweets from the provincial update on the oil spill Thursday can be read here.