Imperial assessing whether Norman Wells spill reached river

Imperial Oil says it is investigating whether a 55,000-litre spill of treated water at its Norman Wells facility has reached the nearby Mackenzie River.

The company says it discovered the spill on Wednesday. Imperial says the spill involved a “release from a produced water line,” referring to water that comes out alongside oil during production.

Produced water that has been treated is often used in other areas of oil and gas operations.


“We currently estimate that approximately 55 cubic metres may have been released,” company spokesperson Lisa Schmidt said in a statement.

“We are still investigating whether produced water entered the Mackenzie River.”

The NWT’s spills registry shows the incident was reported shortly after 5am on Wednesday.

Imperial says it is monitoring the water quality but does not believe there is a risk to public health or wildlife.

“We have notified regulators and have shared this information with local communities,” Schmidt wrote. “The cause is still being determined.”