Oil spills into Manitoba creek

A leak in an Enbridge Oil pipeline has spilled more than 1,500 litres of oil into a creek near the town of Virden.

A leak in an Enbridge Oil pipeline has spilled more than 1,500 litres of crude oil into a creek near the town of Virden.

The leak was discovered after local residents noticed pools of oil on the surface of Boghill Creek.

It's not the size of the spill that is most concerning, but the location, said Virden Mayor Bruce Dunning.

"By oil field standards, you know, it's a small to average spill site. But there is a big difference between [a spill] on a flowing water body and on solid land," he said.

Water from the creek eventually flows into the Assiniboine River, Dunning noted, adding he's heard reports that some fish and birds may have been contaminated.

Calgary-based Enbridge has deployed more than 50 workers to clean up the water and the creek banks, according to Dunning, who has been told the spill is contained.

"It's a very rough area — into the bush and steep banks, and lot of bullrushes and vegetation and they're still continuously removing and cleaning up and using absorbent material to sop up any oil and sheen," Dunning said.

No impact on drinking water: Enbridge

An Enbridge spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the company has been given the OK to divert the creek around the affected area to clean up the spill. Removal of affected materials will begin on Thursday, Jennifer Varey said.

"Enbridge is treating this situation as a high priority," Varey said in an emailed statement to CBC News.

The company has been visiting landowners in the area to advise them of the company's cleanup plans, Varey said.

Water sampling for contamination is being conducted in Boghill Creek, as well as Scallion Creek, Gopher Creek and the Assiniboine River.

Samples collected so far show the spill has had no impact on the quality of drinking water or aquatic life, Varey said.

"It is anticipated that the pipeline will be returned to service once the repairs are complete," Varey said.

Virden is located about 280 kilometres west of Winnipeg.