10/12/2012 07:03 EDT | Updated 12/12/2012 05:12 EST

Alberta Oil Spill: Plains Midstream Canada Says Crude Oil Leak Cleanup Along Red Deer River Complete


CALGARY - The company that owns a pipeline that leaked nearly 3,000 barrels of crude oil into a central Alberta river, fouling shorelines, says its cleanup is complete.

Plains Midstream Canada said in a news release Friday that it will return to the site of leak in the Red Deer River near Sundre next spring or early summer to inspect the sites again.

The Calgary-based company says Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development has approved its restoration efforts and closure of the sites.

The pipeline leak on June 7 fouled shorelines and closed a popular downstream recreational lake to fishing and swimming for weeks this summer.

Plains Midstream says it is still trying to determine what caused the leak.

It also says they are still working on compensation for individuals who have been directly impacted.

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"Plains is committed to the process and will continue to work one-on-one with individuals who have been directly impacted until the claims are resolved. Thank you to area landowners and residents for your continued patience while we work through this process.," the company said in the news release.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed over the spill.

Plains Midstream also says aquatic studies are underway to determine the any potential impact on fish habitats, and the first phase of the long-term monitoring plan is approved and underway.

The company says the final tally on how much oil was spilled is 463,000 litres, or 2,911 barrels.

"With interim closure granted, our long-term monitoring plan is now underway," Stephen Bart, vice president of crude oil operations, said in the news release.

"Our crews have been demobilized but we’ll continue to oversee activities and will return to the area in spring or early summer 2013 to inspect the sites again to ensure restoration is progressing.”

The Red Deer is a popular river for both Albertan and foreign anglers, who come to its waters for important sport fish such as mountain whitefish and brown trout.

Plains Midstream has said water quality in the river has returned to near normal and the impact on wildlife has been minimal. Gleniffer Lake reopened the July long weekend.

Fishing guides and landowners along the river have said they fear the spill may have killed off the insects fish feed on and reduced the number of young fish that survived.

The Alberta government has said scientists want to determine if there are any changes to the age distribution of fish populations.

Fish samples will also be assessed for contaminants and there will be long-term monitoring, the department said in August.

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