Agency says social media photos of residue in North and South Saskatchewan rivers misleading

I’ve been to where the two rivers merge several times in the past – the one river is almost brown vs. the other’s bluer.  The top image below is a result of lighting showing the brown section as almost shiny.

Eric

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Oil residue? Water Security Agency says not the case where Sask. rivers meet

Agency says social media photos of residue in North and South Saskatchewan rivers misleading

By Devin Heroux, CBC News

Posted: Sep 08, 2016 5:30 AM CT Last Updated: Sep 08, 2016 5:30 AM CT

river-1

Photos like this of the Saskatchewan Forks have been circulating around social media in the wake of the Husky oil spill. The Water Security Agency says the North Saskatchewan River is naturally more muddy compared to the South Saskatchewan River. (James Smith Cree Nation/Submitted to CBC)

It’s a bit of an oily mystery causing a lot of conversation on social media. Photos showing a huge contrast in water quality where the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers meet are being circulated on Facebook. Many of the comments express concerns about the Husky oil spill.

Sam Ferris, an official with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, says what people are seeing has nothing to do with the Husky oil spill.

“What people are seeing is not oil, it’s just the natural condition of the river,” said Ferris.

“The water from the North Saskatchewan River tends to always be more muddy when it’s in high flow stages.”

Ferris said the South Saskatchewan River has relatively clean, transparent water because it’s downstream of the Gardiner Dam.

Since the late-July oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River there have been concerns expressed by many communities along the water way. The most recent concerns came from the James Smith Cree Nation.

river-2

The Water Security Agency says the North Saskatchewan River is naturally more muddy than the South Saskatchewan River and that it’s not Husky Energy oil people are seeing in the river. (James Smith Cree Nation/Submitted to CBC)

Ferris said the Water Security Agency has people on the ground testing the water quality regularly.

“It’s getting quite a long time since the Husky oil spill occurred,” said Ferris.

“Not saying it’s impossible, but it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to see a lot of oil on the river or something that would affect the North Saskatchewan River to the magnitude people are reporting.”

Ferris said he’s seen a number of photos from where the rivers meet and photos of the foam downstream of the Codette Reservoir. He said he appreciates the good intent of individuals reporting the things they see but also admits it can be distracting from the real issue.

“It does take away some time in terms of dealing with other aspects of the spill.”

 

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on September 9, 2016, in economic impact, oil, political. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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