Wheatley Updates

Key Dates

June 2, 2021 - a state of emergency was declared in downtown Wheatley after the presence of hydrogen sulphide gas was detected. The state of emergency resulted in an evacuation order for several properties in the immediate vicinity of where the gas was detected.

June 19, 2021 - based on the advice of technical experts, the evacuation order was narrowed to two properties.

July 19, 2021 - Hydrogen sulphide was again detected by monitors that were installed. This resulted in an evacuation of 23 residential properties and 13 commercial properties.

August 26, 2021 - Chatham-Kent emergency services were on the scene after gas monitoring devices placed at the site indicated the presence of gas. First responders had evacuated the buildings closest to the alarm and were in the process of evacuating a wider area when an explosion occurred. A two-block area around the blast site was evacuated and the evacuation order remains in effect to date.

September 20, 2021 - the Municipality signed an agreement with the provincial Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to take the lead in the investigation.

September 21, 2021 - Premier Doug Ford visited the affected site.

September 22, 2021 - Minister Greg Rickford announced that the province has allocated $2 million to help businesses affected in Wheatley get back to business. He also confirmed that the province has entered into an agreement with Golder Associates to locate the source of the gas.

March 29, 2022 - Tait Well Re-Drilling Work Imminent - An oil and gas drilling contractor is anticipated to begin re-drilling the Tait Well, located in the APEC 2 area.

December 7, 2022 - Fencing to be installed along Erie Street North in preparation for street re-opening.

Key Dates

June 2, 2021 - a state of emergency was declared in downtown Wheatley after the presence of hydrogen sulphide gas was detected. The state of emergency resulted in an evacuation order for several properties in the immediate vicinity of where the gas was detected.

June 19, 2021 - based on the advice of technical experts, the evacuation order was narrowed to two properties.

July 19, 2021 - Hydrogen sulphide was again detected by monitors that were installed. This resulted in an evacuation of 23 residential properties and 13 commercial properties.

August 26, 2021 - Chatham-Kent emergency services were on the scene after gas monitoring devices placed at the site indicated the presence of gas. First responders had evacuated the buildings closest to the alarm and were in the process of evacuating a wider area when an explosion occurred. A two-block area around the blast site was evacuated and the evacuation order remains in effect to date.

September 20, 2021 - the Municipality signed an agreement with the provincial Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to take the lead in the investigation.

September 21, 2021 - Premier Doug Ford visited the affected site.

September 22, 2021 - Minister Greg Rickford announced that the province has allocated $2 million to help businesses affected in Wheatley get back to business. He also confirmed that the province has entered into an agreement with Golder Associates to locate the source of the gas.

March 29, 2022 - Tait Well Re-Drilling Work Imminent - An oil and gas drilling contractor is anticipated to begin re-drilling the Tait Well, located in the APEC 2 area.

December 7, 2022 - Fencing to be installed along Erie Street North in preparation for street re-opening.

  • Evacuation Zone Reduced in Wheatley

    This morning over 190 residents participated in the hour long meeting hosted on the Municipal Facebook page, where listeners could submit questions to be answered by municipal and provincial representatives.

    Those watching learned that work on the site where a gas explosion occurred back in August 2021 has reached a stage where the evacuation zone can now be reduced. A map showing the new evacuation zone boundaries can be found on Let’s Talk Chatham-Kent/Wheatley-Updates.

    Investigation and remediation work will continue in the new smaller evacuation zone. Restaging of fencing to the new evacuation zone will begin on Wednesday April 13th beginning at the north-west corner of the evacuation zone, moving clockwise around the zone. This restaging of fencing to establish the new evacuation zone is anticipated to take a day or two.

    All residents and businesses that will have access to their properties outside the evacuation zone should reach out to their insurance companies and discuss next steps.

    Reactivation of utilities must occur before occupancy. Utility companies will be working with residents to ensure a smooth reactivation process.

    For owners of properties that remain in the evacuation zone, the Municipality will endeavour to accommodate limited access for those may want access, but only to properties that are deemed safe to enter. Access will be limited to certain periods of time when on-site conditions allow for it, based on the investigation work that is ongoing.

    The Provincial Wheatley Resident Assistance Program will continue to provide assistance for temporary accommodations during renovations as required and for all households that remain evacuated.

    Beginning Saturday afternoon, April 9th, municipal case managers will be calling each evacuated household to provide guidance and discuss their individual circumstances.

    If you would like assistance in completing a pre-inspection of your home, including an initial gas reading and visual inspection of your residence for visible hazards, please communicate this to your case manager. If you miss this opportunity, please call your case manager directly to make your request. Case managers can be reached during business hours at 519-351-8573.

    Economic Development officers will be reaching out to businesses over the coming days to discuss their individual circumstances.

    Wheatley Subscription members will receive a detailed document with information and resources that outlines the various steps for safe re-entry to properties. This information will also be made available on our website at www.chatham-kent.ca.

    We would like to remind the community, safety is the top priority for the workers on-site and the community. Air monitoring will continue to be conducted 24/7 in and around the municipal parking lot, on the perimeter of the evacuation zone and on mobile units. Residents must stay outside of the evacuation zone at all times for their safety.

    Anyone can call 311 to get updates or answers to any questions.

  • Wheatley Work to Begin Tomorrow

    An oil and gas drilling contractor is anticipated to begin re-drilling the Tait Well, located in the APEC 2 area tomorrow morning.

    Residents in the areas adjacent to the evacuation zone may hear and see things that are unfamiliar to them but are perfectly normal for an oil and gas drilling operation.

    Residents can expect to see a variety of large equipment onsite including a drilling rig, storage tanks and a flare stack. Workers will be wearing a variety of personal protective equipment including at times breathing apparatus to prevent exposure to any harmful gases. During several phases of the work, the drill rig will be using a series of air horn blasts to communicate information to workers. Controlled gas releases through the flare stack are to be anticipated. During drilling, if gas is encountered the flare stack will ignite to protect workers on-site and the community. It is possible that residents may notice odours in the air similar to previous gas releases that have occurred on site.

    Safety is the top priority for the community and for the workers on-site. Air monitoring is being conducted 24/7 in and around the municipal parking lot, on the perimeter of the evacuation zone and on mobile units. Residents must stay outside of the evacuation zone at all times for their safety.

    Municipal employees and the Fire Department will be visiting adjacent properties to answer any questions from residents. Anyone can call 3-1-1 to get updates or answers to any questions. Updates will be provided as the work progresses.

  • Next Phase Work to Begin This Week

    Work safety plans have been finalized and it is expected the next phase of work in the gas emission investigation will begin by the end of the week in downtown Wheatley.

    The re-drilling of the Tait well at APEC 2 in the municipal parking lot is expected to begin and will take approximately two weeks. The well is being re-drilled to collect gas samples, the existing structure analyzed and ultimately prepared for re-abandonment. Operational plans for further investigating APEC 1 and 3 are underway which will begin after the work at APEC 2.

    Planned hydro-vac trenching and asphalt removal around the exterior of the 17 Talbot Road East was completed last week. No well was found in the excavated areas, the provincial team is analyzing the results of the investigation to determine the next steps if any are required.

    While safety plans were being prepared, an additional five property visits took place over the weekend. During the re-drilling work, visits will be suspended.

  • Investigation into Potential Fourth Well Under Way

    As the result of low-level gas readings detected from soil vapour probes, contractors on site in Wheatley will begin hydrovac trenching and asphalt removal around the exterior of the 17 Talbot Road East.

    Thomas Kelly, Chatham-Kent’s General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services said the work is being undertaken to gain further information regarding the source of the gas. “The investigation process has been meticulous,” he said. “We want to determine whether there is a fourth Area of Potential Environmental Concern (APEC) or if the gas is related to APEC 1, 2 or 3.”

    Engineers met this morning to finalize the appropriate next steps with respect to wells identified in APEC 1, 2 and 3. Once concluded, operational plans and well licenses will be developed to ensure the work is carried out in a safe manner.

    This next phase of work is expected to commence next week.

    Homeowner access will continue on Sunday only of this weekend due to the work being conducted on-site.

    Municipal officials concluded another session of face-to-face meetings with homeowners Wednesday.

  • Equipment for Work on APEC 2 Arrives on Site

    supporting image

    Plans are continuing for re-drilling the Tait well at APEC 2 in the municipal parking lot.

    Equipment has arrived on site and the contractor will be soon able to re-enter the well and collect additional information for investigators.

    Additional property access continued while the next phase of the work was being readied.

    Analysis of gas and water samples taken from monitoring wells in late February continues.

    Well Drilling Equipment


  • Province Extends Wheatley Residents Assistance Program

    The Provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced today that it is extending the housing assistance program for Wheatley residents affected by the evacuation order.

    April Rietdyk, Chatham Kent’s General Manager of Community Human Services, said the announcement is welcome news.

    “The uncertainty of accommodations has understandably been a cause of great anxiety for residents,” she said. “This program will provide some stability in terms of residents’ ability to having accommodation costs covered.”

    Rietdyk said those participating in the program are being contacted by the province and urged residents to continue to work with the case workers who have been assisting with their claims.

  • Water Sampling From Monitoring Wells Complete

    The investigation has now successfully collected water samples from the new monitoring wells that were recently installed near APEC 2 and the Arena.

    Gas and water analysis is now underway and the results will help the investigation team better understand the geology under Wheatley. Samples obtained at these monitoring locations will be compared to previous samples taken from the source of the explosion.

    Equipment has begun arriving on site for the re-entry of APEC 2. Operational plans are being finalized for a tentative start later this week.

    Homeowner access was completed over the weekend and will be paused while investigation work is ongoing.

  • Wheatley Residents & Business Owners Urged to Contact Insurance Professionals

    Municipal officials are urging those whose properties have been affected by the ongoing investigation into gas emissions in Wheatley to contact their insurance companies or the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) if they have outstanding questions concerning their policies.

    Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire said some residents have contacted the Municipality regarding questions about their insurance questions.

    “The best advice we can provide is that anyone with questions first contacts their insurance company,” he said. “If there are still unresolved issues, they can reach out to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. These people are professionals, understand the situation and can offer the best advice and direction. Their office is acutely aware of the situation in Wheatley and wants to help add some clarity.”

    The IBC's Consumer Information Centre can be reached at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422) or via email at ConsumerCentre@ibc.ca

    Callers are asked to provide their name, insurance company/adjuster and the nature of the issue.

  • Homeowner Access Continuing this Week in Wheatley

    Based on information learned during the monitoring well installations, contractors are preparing operational and safety plans for drilling out the Tait well at APEC 2. Drilling is expected to begin early next week.

    As a result, Wheatley residents will have the opportunity to access homes in the evacuation area this week.

    No gas readings have been observed at the monitoring well completed last week near the Wheatley arena.

  • Drilling Completed on Second Monitoring Well in Wheatley

    Contractors completed drilling on the second of two monitoring wells in Wheatley without incident this morning.

    No gas was discovered at the scene of the second well, located near the Wheatley Arena. The first monitoring well located in the municipal parking lot behind the scene of last August’s explosion was completed Monday.

    Information gathered from this work as well as a sampling of regional gas wells for comparison with on-site samples should provide more information for investigators.

    Work on re-drilling the Tait well at APEC 2 is expected to begin next week once the equipment arrives on site.

Page last updated: 16 Dec 2022, 11:22 AM