Edson area residents concerned about well water contamination
Published Tuesday, April 15, 2014 5:56PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:23PM MDT
A mother who lives in near a gas plant in the Edson area is worried about her family's health, after learning that they have been drinking contaminated well water.
Mersades Royale says her family has been experiencing headaches and diarrhea since moving into the trailer in December. She says the water also had a bad smell. They were notified by Alberta Health Services in March that Sulfolane, which is used to purify natural gas, had leaked into their water from the plant.
Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health says that as soon as the contamination was discovered, they asked Bonavista Energy, the company that owns the plant, to provide alternate water sources for impacted residents. More than 30 wells, and 80 homes are were tested.
"There’s one set of wells on one property that are known to be contaminated. And they’ve been put on alternate water and we believe they’re probably still contaminated." Dr. Talbot said. "The remaining wells, all the wells were tested in the 5 km radius has tested negative for this chemical."
Bonavista Energy acquired the South Rosevear Gas Plant in 2010. In a written statement, the company says that Sulfolane has not been released from the plant since they aquired the plant.
"We know that that property has been in operation for a long period of time. So when we were doing our risk evaluation we didn’t assume that it would just be days or weeks or months, there was a possibility that it could have been years." Dr. Talbot said Tuesday.
According to Health Canada guidelines, Sulfolane is safe to drink in at 40 parts per billion. Dr. Talbot says that the contaminated well in question contained about three times that amount.
The water advisory will remain in place until Alberta Health can figure out exactly where the contaminated ground water is.
Sulfane can cause liver problems, decreased white blood count, and in high levels can also cause nerve problems.
Royale, who is pregnant, is worried the damage may have already been done. She is currently looking for a new place for her family to live.
With files from Sarah Richter