Pesky gas returns again in Wheatley
There’s been another gas leak in Wheatley, the fifth in almost six months.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent reported on Monday that a gas leak happened Sunday at the centre of the evacuation zone. Municipal officials said the leak was at the same location as the previous four leaks.
“On-site gas monitoring experts responded quickly and captured a gas sample for laboratory analysis,” read a news release issued Monday afternoon. “The [gas] release subsided to zero levels after approximately eight hours.”
All on-site equipment performed as “designed and as expected” according to officials. They noted the gas was safely vented into the atmosphere and all monitoring equipment, both within and along the perimeter of the evacuation zone, provided data that ensured the safety of the area.
“Odour complaints were investigated, and it was determined that there were no imminent risks outside of the evacuation zone,” said the municipality.
The data captured will be used to assist the continuing investigation. The municipality said engineers from the province and the municipality will be reviewing all details of the gas leak to determine if any adjustments in the work plan are needed.
Municipal officials said the evacuation zone is now stable and the scheduling of appointments to allow homeowners to temporarily access their properties and retrieve their belongings will proceed as planned.
The first hydrogen sulphide gas leak happened at 15 Erie Street North on June 2, 2021 and residents were forced out of their homes and businesses. An explosion at the same location on August 26, 2021 destroyed several buildings, injured 20 people, and displaced dozens of people once again.
The last gas leak was about six weeks ago and it’s following a similar pattern. General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly previously pointed out the gas seems to build up pressure over time and releases again, usually 40 to 45 days apart.
The municipality said there are two abandoned gas wells near the site. The source of the leaks has not been confirmed.