July 12th, 2024

Leaky well near playground fenced but not a threat

By Collin Gallant on August 23, 2017.


A long abandoned well-site in Crescent Heights will be fenced off from a nearby playground, but officials say it is part of ongoing monitoring and there is no risk to the public.

The well, known as No. 0012434, sits on land near the Hockey Hounds Arena, and was flagged by provincial regulators in a 2016 report into the issue of methane leaks in urban areas.

The city parks department says the remaining underground infrastructure from the well is “located away from the playground and does not pose a safety hazard to playground or arena users.”

“Installation of fencing will ensure the well site is well-marked and protected from foot traffic,” a press release reads.

Installation will begin and be completed on Wednesday.

In July, the News reported that a leaked draft report by the Alberta Energy Regulator stated that six urban wells in Alberta were leaking concerning levels of methane. Five of those were located in Medicine Hat at four locations.

As well, three others in the province were found to have levels deemed dangerous for short-term exposures, including sites in Bonnyville, Turner Valley and the well at the Hockey Hounds.

Testing in 2014 found that methane concentrations of 1,000 parts per million of air at a manhole cover above the well. Follow-up testing in late 2015 found levels of about 300 parts per million at the site, but no gas past a six-metre boundary.

The AER has ordered annual monitoring at the site until at least late 2019.

Officials with the city’s natural gas and petroleum resource division have stated that they monitor all active and abandoned wells within city limits and none pose an immediate risk to the public.

Mitigation planning is taking place for four other sites in the downtown, River Flats and South Railway areas considered to be leaking methane above acute thresholds laid out by the AER.

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