Wheatley Gas Release Update

Today’s release of hydrogen sulphide gas at the site of an August 26 explosion in Wheatley may help investigators get closer to finding the cause of the reoccurring issue.

Site monitoring devices at 15 Erie Street North detected gas at 4:00 am this morning. Gas continued to leak from the site until 11:30 am when the flow dropped abruptly.

Thomas Kelly, Chatham-Kent General Manager of Engineering and Infrastructure Services, said the gas release is following a pattern. Gas was first discovered June 2 and monitoring devices detected gas again on July 19 and August 26.

“One of the possible theories is that gas pressure is building up underground to a level where it finds a path to release into the atmosphere. Once the gas releases, it begins to build up pressure over time and releases again,” he said. “We have had incidents 47, 38 and 43 days apart.”

Thomas said samples taken at the source of the leak were sent to the University of Windsor for analysis. “This is the best sample we have been able to obtain so far. We are confident it will provide new evidence to assist with the resolution of the problem.”

Monitoring around the perimeter of an evacuation zone in the downtown core has not shown any trace of the gas.

Currently, the situation does not warrant any change in the evacuation area put in place in August, however, ongoing monitoring continues. The public will be notified should the situation change.

Thomas said rumours that the use of ground penetration radar and electromagnetic technology to map the subsurface of the area may have played a role in releasing the gas are without merit.

“The work was undertaken this week was non-invasive,” he said. “There is no possibility it is connected in any way with today’s release.”

Anyone who smells gas should call 9-1-1.

For more information contact:
Don Shropshire
Chief Administrative Officer
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
519-360-1998 x 3010

Media Contact:
Jim Blake
Communications Officer
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
519-360-1998 x 3624