A tentative date for the completion of well remediation in Wheatley has been pushed back until the end of June.
During a virtual public meeting held on April 9 officials announced a reduction in the evacuation zone and provided a tentative goal of mid-to-late May for remediation of all Areas of Potential Environmental Concern (APEC) within the reduced zone.
Although capping has commenced on the Tait well (APEC 2) near the centre of the municipal parking lot, detailed work plans for similar work on APEC 1 (the well nearest the explosion site) and APEC 3 (the well at the far end of the municipal parking lot near the intersection of Erie and Elm streets) have yet to be completed.
Officials have said safety remains the utmost concern, noting that there were two significant releases of lower explosive limit (LEL) gas on April 22 and 23. In both cases, the systems, procedures and venting stack worked according to design.
Work on the wells will take longer than originally thought. The process of plugging a gas well is complex. Sometimes wells that were previously plugged require that they first be drilled out and re-plugged to ensure a proper seal of the well.
During the drilling process, various subsurface conditions could be encountered which help to inform how to proceed with the next steps and can result in changes to both timelines and the workplan.
The mitigation work requires expert consultation and methodical actions to ensure that health and safety is maintained while completing the work to current standards, involving modern construction techniques and materials.
Everyone on site is committed to working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, while ensuring that the appropriate health and safety measures are taken throughout the course of the mitigation work, to protect the public and those working in and around the area.
The Tait/APEC 2 Well has been cemented/plugged up to the bedrock surface. Plugging activities at this well did take longer than expected which has pushed the overall project timeline out, however, the work on the Tait well is expected to be completed in the very near future. The team will then move to begin plugging activities on the APEC 3 Well and then to the APEC 1 Well.
This week the municipality sent notices to owners of some properties within the evacuation zone regarding possible structural damage and what steps would be needed for future occupancy.
The municipality will host a virtual meeting Saturday, May 14 at 10 am to answer residents' questions.
The meeting will be hosted on the municipality’s Facebook and YouTube channels.