Wheatley Update December 23

Second well discovered, work on pause in Wheatley

Excavation work near the scene of an August 26 explosion in Wheatley has resulted in the discovery of a second well in close proximity to the site of the explosion.

Petroleum Inspectors from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) were on site earlier this week to collect information to understand more about this well.

Examining information gathered this week and learning more about this new well including controlling any gas flow, are the priority next steps for the investigation team. Experts are also anticipating another gas event. Chatham-Kent General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly said the past pattern of gas to build up and release has taken place between 38 and 47 days.

“We anticipate the next release could be within a few days of December 31,” he said. “We are venting and monitoring the gas to reduce any chance of further issues.”

Air monitoring will continue while officials examine information gathered this week regarding the findings of the new well. Fire and Emergency Service and security personnel will continue to be present at the site. Using a controlled monitoring approach will allow officials to gather more information if the expected release takes place.

“We learn more each time a release takes place,” Kelly said.

Resident visits and building winterization will resume when it is appropriate to do so.

Officials are hopeful that the discovery of this well will aid in the development of options to support the mitigation phase.