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Cold Lake Birds Incident

On July 24, 2023, Imperial Oil reported to the EDGE call centre a release of an estimated 900 litres of crude oil into a process water lagoon at their Mahihkan plant, located about 30 km north west from Cold Lake. It was subsequently observed that a flock of 12 Canada Geese had become stained due to landing and swimming in the impacted lagoon.

The oil release was due to an operational upset that was immediately addressed. The recovery of oil from the lagoon is ongoing. Additional wildlife deterrents (wildlife cannons and flagging) have been deployed around the lagoon, and the site is under 24 hour surveillance by Imperial. Containment booms have been deployed to prevent the release from spreading further within the lagoon.

All 12 birds have been removed from the lagoon and taken to a specialist site for cleaning and rehabilitation.

To oversee Imperial’s response to this incident, field Inspectors from the AER were onsite on Monday 24 July. Another visit took place, collaboratively with Environment and Climate Change Canada, on Tuesday 25 July. The AER has directed Imperial to provide daily updates with respects to the release clean up, preventative measures taken to ensure no further adverse impacts to wildlife occur, and to ensure that Imperial meets all AER expectations. The AER continues to monitor the situation.

Imperial and the AER has provided notification to communities in the area.