Environment minister happy 'so far' with Nova Scotia Power spill cleanup

Nova Scotia's Minister of the Environment Margaret Miller is satisfied Nova Scotia Power is taking the steps necessary to clean up a spill discovered a week ago at the company's Tufts Cove power plant.

Margaret Miller wants area around Tufts Cove plant restored to 'pristine' condition following leak

Oil from the Tufts Cove generating plant leaked into Halifax harbour on Aug. 2. (Robert Short/CBC)

Nova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller says she is satisfied with steps Nova Scotia Power has taken following the oil spill at its Tufts Cove generating plant, summing up cleanup efforts in Halifax harbour as "so far, so good."

A Nova Scotia Power employee discovered the spill a week ago during a routine inspection. The company estimates about 5,000 litres of oil spilled into the harbour from a hole in a pipe.

The cleanup could take months, but Miller made it clear Thursday what she expected from cleanup crews.

"Right now our concern is about cleaning up the site, making sure that there are no long-lasting impacts, that the site remains pristine," she told reporters.

Environment Minister Margaret Miller. (CBC)

Miller repeatedly deflected questions about how the spill might have occurred, whether the company properly maintained the pipe and if it could have detected the spill sooner.

"My main concern is the environment of Nova Scotia, making sure the environment is protected," she said. "Ideally, of course, you would have caught something like that right away.

"I can't speak for what happened during their process. I just know where we are now is that we're cleaning up the site.

"We're making sure that it becomes a pristine site again."

Nova Scotia Power has hired a company to clean up the mess and an engineer to oversee the work on its behalf. Miller said her department would inspect the site once the cleanup is complete.

"Our inspectors will be on site to make sure that we're happy with what's happened."