Work to vent gas in downtown Wheatley begins this week

Wheatley strong sign at CK Fire Hall 20. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Officials trying to put an end to leaking gas at the downtown Wheatley explosion site are adding a new gas relief well to relieve pressure, if necessary, before any more work to resolve the situation goes ahead.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent reported officials have decided to install a conductor pipe as the first step of a redundant pressure relief well in the municipal parking lot near one of the wells under investigation before proceeding with further remediation.

The municipality said investigation work has taken place at the site since the last gas leak on July 6, 2022, which took place while workers were excavating to drive a larger conductor pipe over the existing well.

“The purpose of this new work is to provide redundancy in the venting of any potential gas release away from the work taking place,” wrote the municipality in a news release.

Work on the new gas relief well will begin this week.

As previously reported, the two-hour gas release on July 6, 2022 was measured at 24 parts per billion in the atmosphere, less than one-hundredth of the amount that would represent a safety hazard, even though some smell was noticeable at the site.

There has been no gas leak since that time, according to the municipality.

“A thorough review of the gas monitoring system and health and safety plans was undertaken. At no time was there a risk to the community beyond the evacuation zone,” the municipality emphasized once again.

Municipal and project officials said a gas odour may be detected when the new work work resumes this week and encourage residents to “immediately” call 911 if they detect the smell of gas at any time.