Venting system ready for next Wheatley gas leak

Venting System in Wheatley (Courtesy Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is ready for another gas leak in downtown Wheatley, which officials are anticipating will occur within the next few days.

Municipal officials announced on Thursday afternoon that preparations have been completed to safely vent gas in the community, using a venting system.

Chatham-Kent General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly previously said the past pattern of gas to build up and release has taken place between 38 and 47 days.

Gas was last detected at the site on November 22, the fifth occurrence in six months. Based on history, a release is anticipated within the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, a second abandoned well was recently confirmed during excavation efforts near the site of an August 26, 2021 explosion and experts on site have been able to connect the well to a test separator.

Petroleum inspectors from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry have been on-site to collect information.

“The test separator will divert any water from the well to a holding tank for safe disposal and send any gasses to a temporary venting stack with the capability to flare,” the municipality said in a media release. “The test separator will also allow for sampling and data recording during a gas release which will provide valuable data to the team.”

Downtown Wheatley (Courtesy Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Downtown Wheatley (Courtesy Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Fire and Emergency Service and security personnel will continue to be present at the site. The municipality added that a flame may be visible to nearby residents during the gas release.

Meanwhile, resident visits and building winterization continues to be put on hold and will be resumed when it’s safe to do so.