Ontario, Canada – ‘Final capping’ of abandoned gas well to start in Leamington, four months after toxic leak erupts

Final capping operations are about to begin on a gas leak that has forced two Leamington families out of their homes since last October.

Ontario, Canada - 'Final capping' of abandoned gas well to start in Leamington, four months after toxic leak erupts

The Municipality of Leamington said Tuesday the “source of the leaking natural gas has now been thoroughly investigated” and capping of the well can begin shortly.

Work still not done.

Moir-Impens and her husband Robert have lived at the split-level home at 241 Robson Rd., for 24 years. They said they have always been aware of a foul-smelling odor emanating from somewhere in their backyard.

For years they made unsuccessful attempts to find the cause, but it was on a particularly rancid Oct. 18 that Moir-Impens asked her husband to search again.

“He just started to move the topsoil and the dirt and gas shot up,” she said.

Provincial ministries and agencies have been working to cap the noxious hydrogen sulphide pouring out of the abandoned well since it first erupted in Oct. 18, 2016.

The town declared a localized emergency and the two homes surrounding the leak were evacuated.




 

“The primary objective has always been the safety of the public, the workers, and the protection of the environment,” Leamington fire Chief Chuck Parsons said in a release.

Robert and Robin Moir-Impens and Donald and Francene Giesbrecht have been forced to find alternative accommodations while crews investigated the leak.

Final capping
Donald Giesbrecht, 51, sits in his wheelchair outside his home on Robson Road in Leamington. Attempts to repair the leak have already taken more than a four months.

Donald Giesbrecht said he and his neighbors sat down with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and town officials on Monday. They were told it could be two to four weeks before they could return.

gas leak

Hydrogen sulphide is a colorless, flammable and extremely hazardous gas. It can have a rotten egg smell and occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas and hot springs.

The Municipality of Leamington said final capping operations will begin shortly and should be finished in about four weeks.

“Once complete, the affected properties will be returned to their pre-incident condition,” the release said.

land is where a old farm sat

The leak prompted officials in the municipality to evacuate the homes on either side. Then declared a localized state of emergency and call on the expertise of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Moir-Impens and her husband have been fortunate in that they have only had to relocate across the street to a friend’s summer cottage while contractors take over their property.

Their neighbors Donald and Francene Giesbrecht, however, are gearing up for their sixth move since the evacuation.

“Not having a stable place to stay is pretty rough and I need somewhere that’s accessible,” said Donald Giesbrecht, who uses a wheelchair.

testing air quality

Giesbrecht and his wife have had to stay in a motel, two different hotels and the Leamington Mennonite Home before a furnished house was offered up for their use.

Leamington fire Chief Chuck Parsons said the mysterious origin has complicated the repair.

“The problem is that there are no records of this well, no history,” Parsons said.

“(The well) has thrown us some curve-balls and we are still in the process of controlling the leak.”

Hydrogen sulphide is a colorless, flammable and extremely hazardous gas. It can have a rotten egg smell and occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas and hot springs.

According to Health Canada, low concentrations of hydrogen sulphide can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system. High concentrations can cause a person to go into shock, convulse, fall into a coma or die.

 



 
Mary Greeley News
www.marygreeley.com
 
Credit http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/final-capping-of-abandoned-gas-well-to-start-in-leamington-four-months-after-toxic-leak-erupts

Two homes remain evacuated a month after toxic gas leak
 

Mary Greeley News