06/12/2012 05:24 EDT | Updated 08/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta oil company starts cleanup talks over spill

Officials with the oil company responsible for spilling almost a half million litres of light sour crude into the Red Deer River are vowing to "make it right" with affected residents.

Stephen Bart, vice-president of crude oil operations for Plains Midstream Canada, said Tuesday that staff has made contact with landowners affected by the spill.

“To the extent that we have impacted the residents, we are going to make it right,” Bart said. “Exactly what those impacts are, how we're going to address that, that's something we need to deal with one on one with those particular individuals.”

Light sour crude spilled into the Red Deer River Thursday, with some of it washing into the Gleniffer reservoir, which provides thousands of Albertans with drinking water.

Cleanup plan

Officials estimate the cleanup will take months, possibly even to the end of the summer.

“We are very, very pleased with how the cleanup and containment is progressing,” Bart said. “Of course, everyone, including ourselves, would like things to progress as quickly as possible.”

On Tuesday, 179 response personnel were on site, working with cleanup activities, installing wildlife deterrents, and maintaining containment.

Plains Midstream Canada will now attempt to remove any residual oil in the pipeline straddling the river.

“What we hope to do is build a vacuum station …on the east side of the river, and draw any residual oil up into the vacuum station,” Bart said.

Officials estimate it will take three or four days to build the vacuum station and another two days to remove the excess oil.