Calgary

Apache Canada ordered to pay $350K for Alberta pipeline spills

Apache Canada Ltd. has pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to properly operate its pipelines after multiple spills on its network.

Calgary-based company has been fined for spills in Zama City in the past

A containment tank at one of three of Apache Canada's cleanup sites holds wastewater being pumped out of the ground following a May 2013 pipeline leak near Zama City, Alta. The company has now been fined for a spill that took place in October. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Apache Canada Ltd. has pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to properly operate its pipelines after multiple spills on its network.

The company pled guilty on Sept. 30 to violating the Pipeline Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act in relation to a pipeline spill near Zama City, Alta., in 2013, and a second spill in 2014 not far from Whitecourt, Alta.

The Zama City spill on Oct. 25 released 1.8-million litres of produced water, generally a mix of mostly salt water with some oil, that affected about 3.8 hectares of public land.

The spill about 40 kilometres northwest of Whitecourt released just under two-million cubic metres of produced water.

$350,000 in penalties

The court ordered the company to pay $350,000 in penalties for the two spills, with most of the funds going to a creative sentencing project where Alberta Innovates Technology Futures will research remediating salt-affected soil.

In the agreed statement of facts on the Zama City spill, the company admitted that it did not install a protective fence around part of the pipeline that stuck out of the ground, with evidence pointing to the possibility that a bison rubbed against the section and crushed the pipe.

The company also had to pay $16,500 fine for a spill in the Zama region in May 2013.

On the Whitecourt spill, the company agreed that it installed the wrong size of pressure valve on the pipeline and that it did not properly review reports on whether the valves were working properly.

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