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Driver charged in oil spill that closed highways between Drayton Valley, Warburg: RCMP

A spill of oilfield material on Highways 20 and 39 in Brazeau and Leduc counties on Jan. 25, 2024, caused damage to the vehicles that drove through it. (Provided by RCMP.) A spill of oilfield material on Highways 20 and 39 in Brazeau and Leduc counties on Jan. 25, 2024, caused damage to the vehicles that drove through it. (Provided by RCMP.)
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About 40 kilometres of highway in Brazeau, Leduc and Wetaskiwin counties were still closed Friday because of an oil spill the night before.

RCMP issued a traffic advisory for Highways 20 and 39 at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, telling drivers to avoid the area.

According to Cpl. Troy Savinkoff, Mounties were called around 8:30 p.m. to divert motorists and helped find the commercial tanker truck the oil was coming from.

The leaked oil is vacuum gas oil, a byproduct of the vacuum distillation process in refineries. It can be upgraded to gasoline and diesel.

Savinkoff said the truck driver, a 55-year-old man from Rocky Mountain House, was ticketed under the commercial safety regulations for failing to prevent leaks or spills while transporting cargo and under the Traffic Safety Act for failing to produce a record during an inspection by a peace officer. 

He could not say what caused the spill.

Officials were expecting the highways to be closed for the majority of Friday for clean-up work.

Highway 20 was affected from Township Road 470 to Highway 39.

Highway 39 was affected from Highway 20 to Highway 770, just west of Warburg.

Savinkoff did not know if there would be environmental impacts.

He said the oil was very slippery and several drivers ended up in the ditch before roadblocks went up.

Anyone who needs to report damage to their vehicle from the spill was asked to contact the Breton RCMP detachment during office hours. 

Correction

An earlier version of this story stated Alberta Sheriffs charged the driver, according to RCMP. In fact, RCMP charged the driver after consulting Alberta Transportation. 

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