U of S researcher lands $224K grant to study effects of Husky oil spill on fish

The federal government is providing a University of Saskatchewan researcher with $224,000 to study the Husky oil spill and its effect on fish.

Leaky pipeline spilled 225,000 litres of heavy oil, 40% got into North Saskatchewan River

The Husky oil spill leaked 225,000 litres in 2016, about 40 per cent of which entered the North Saskatchewan River. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

An assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan has received a federal grant of $224,000 to study the effect the 2016 Husky oil spill had on fish.

A faulty pipeline leaked about 225,000 litres of oil onto a riverbank near Maidstone in July 2016. About 40 per cent of the oil made its way into the North Saskatchewan River. 

Tim Jardine, whose research interests include water management, will study the spill over three years. 

"It feels good to be able to contribute to decision-making and better understanding of some of the challenges we face when we're using oil and when these accidents happen," Jardine said.

Incidents like this are going to continue to happen, so we need to be able to understand the consequences for the environment when we have a spill of this magnitude.- Tim Jardine

"Incidents like this are going to continue to happen, so we need to be able to understand the consequences for the environment when we have a spill of this magnitude." 

There will be six other people participating in Jardine's independent study. Field work began in the summer with the collection of fish. Jardine said they are now undergoing chemical testing in the lab. 

The funding for the project is part of a country-wide initiative by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in which $80 million is being provided for initiatives toward the mitigation and prevention of marine incidents, such as oil spills.

Of that money, $16.8 million will be earmarked specifically for oil spill research. 

The spill, affecting an area of about 41,500 square metres, forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut off their water intakes from the river and find other water sources for months.