The Town of Stettler has been given the all-clear from Alberta Environment to resume drawing water from the Red Deer River after tests revealed the water was safe.
The town had switched to reserve water supplies after a single-vehicle collision sent a tanker truck into a creek. The creek feeds into the Red Deer River about a kilometre downstream, upstream from where the town draws its water.
Around 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, a tanker truck hauling a pup trailer tipped near the Content Bridge, south of Nevis, and fell into the creek. The hatch on one of the tanks opened, spilling about 25,000 litres of diesel fuel into the creek.
First responders to the scene included the County of Stettler, Stettler and District Fire and Rescue, Stettler RCMP and EMS. The Ponoka Community Spill Response team was shortly thereafter dispatched to help contain the spill.
Crews worked to stop the fuel from travelling downstream to the Red Deer River by building earthen berms and dams, and later deploying inflatable booms, hard booms, absorbent booms, skimmers and pumps.
Wildlife near the scene of the accident was affected, with surviving animals being sent to Medicine Hat Wildlife Rehabilitation for care.
Crews remained onsite round-the-clock after the spill, with first responders not being able to get home until about 12 hours after the first call.
Alberta Environment is now assessing the environmental damage, as well as continuing water and soil testing. The testing will continue until the site has been completely cleaned.
Absorbent booms, which absorb hydrocarbons, are being monitored and replaced as needed, with contaminated booms being properly disposed.
The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries and was transported to the Red Deer Hospital by ambulance. As of press time, there is no indication of whether charges will be laid in connection with the incident.