An oil sheen seen along the Mackenzie River recently is likely decades old, says Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

A press release issued July 22 says NTPC became aware of the sheen the day before and has deployed hydrocarbon booms and pads to prevent the sheen from spreading. Sandbags were used to further seal the area off and helped in identifying the source of the spill — which is believed to be old contaminated infrastructure that was buried in a time before environmental regulations.

“The area suspected to be the likely source of the spill was active several decades ago for fuel off-loading and small spills were left in the ground during those years,” said the release, written by NTPC communications manager Doug Prendergast. “High water levels currently in the area may have disturbed soil or abandoned pipes, releasing what appears to be oil into the river.

“NTPC will continue with cleanup and remediation efforts, working closely with regulatory agencies. There has been no risk to public health identified as a result of this situation. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.”

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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