08/25/2016 04:12 EDT | Updated 08/25/2016 04:59 EDT

Saskatchewan Oil Spill Cleanup On Hold Due To Rising Water Levels

Water flows could rise up to two metres.

REGINA — A government spokesman says cleanup of an oil spill along the North Saskatchewan River will be put on hold due to an anticipated rise in water levels.

Wes Kotyk with the Saskatchewan Environment Ministry says heavy rainfall in Alberta means water flows are expected to rise up to two metres starting this weekend.

But Kotyk says there's enough time to complete the shore cleanup before the water starts to freeze in October.

144 confirmed animal deaths

The government says that there have been 144 confirmed wildlife deaths, including 51 aquatic species, since a Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) pipeline leaked last month near Maidstone, Sask.

Meanwhile, the province's Water Security Agency says one sample out of 120 taken from the river did not meet drinking water guidelines.

That sample was taken five centimetres below the surface of the river at North Battleford.

The agency says 16 samples showed amounts of chemicals that exceed guidelines for the protection of aquatic life.

Crews work to clean up oil on the North Saskatchewan River. (Photo: CP)

It also took sediment samples and found hydrocarbons at some sites.

The city of Prince Albert lifted water restrictions on Wednesday. Officials said they are confident there is ample supply from two temporary water lines. A leak found in one of the hoses is not expected to change the situation for now, agency spokesman Sam Ferris said Thursday.

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