Crews tackle oil spill after pipeline ruptures near Slave Lake

An Alberta official says crews are trying to clean up a spill of more than 1,200 barrels of oil near the northern Alberta town of Slave Lake.

An Alberta official says crews are cleaning up a spill of more than 1,200 barrels of oil near the northern Alberta town of Slave Lake.

The spill of light sweet crude oil occurred early Tuesday morning after a pipeline ruptured southwest of Slave Lake, a community of about 6,800 people 250 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

The spill has flowed into a river and nearby ponds about 200 kilometres north of Edmonton.

Darin Barter, spokesperson for the Alberta Energy Utilities Board, said the spill is serious but poses no threat to public safety and there is no need for any community nearby to be evacuated.

He said the Rainbow Pipe Line Company Ltd., which operates the pipeline, has shut off the flow and cleanup crews are at the site.

"We are gathering information and the cleanup efforts are underway right now," he told the Canadian Press. "There was no public safety risk when this incident occurred. There was no fire, no evacuation."

The number of barrels of oil spilled near Slave Lake is about a quarter of the amount of Bunker C oil that was spilled by a CN train near Wabamun, Alta., on Aug. 3, 2005.

Barter said it is rare for pipelines to fail in Alberta. According to the energy board, the failure rate in Alberta was a low of 2.3 failures per 1,000 km of pipeline in 2005, a drop from 3.3 per 1,000 km in 2000.

Alberta has about 373,000 km of pipeline regulated by the energy board.

With files from the Canadian Press