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.

  • Venting System Ready

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    Officials on scene in Wheatley have completed preparations to safely vent gas in anticipation of another gas release. Based on history, a release is expected within the next few days.

    The pattern of a gas build-up and release has taken place between 38 and 47 days since gas was first discovered in the downtown area June 2.

    A flame may be visible to nearby residents during the release.

    A second well was recently confirmed during excavation efforts and experts on site have been able to connect the well to a test separator.

    The test separator will divert any water from the well to a holding tank for safe disposal and send any gasses to a temporary venting stack with the capability to flare. The test separator will also allow for sampling and data recording during a gas release which will provide valuable data to the team.

    Petroleum Inspectors from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) have been on site to collect information.

    Fire and Emergency Service and security personnel will continue to be present at the site.

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

  • Second Well Discovered - Work on Pause

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    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.

  • Wheatley Evacuees Receive Gift Baskets

    As work continues in downtown Wheatley, residents who remain out of their homes following the August explosion are receiving gift baskets from the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and Entegrus.

    More than 100 baskets are being delivered to the Village Resource Centre for distribution and pick up.

    The baskets were prepared by Heidi’s Eats and Sweets and contained fruit, candy, chocolate and gift certificates from local businesses. Residents are being contacted by resource centre volunteers.

    Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said, “nothing can replace being in your home during the holidays, but the gift is a heartfelt gesture while we continue to work toward resolving the issue.”

    During a short pause in work Sunday, eight displaced residents were allowed back into their homes for a short period to retrieve personal effects.

    Demolition of buildings at the site of the explosion has been completed. Excavation and pathway analysis are now taking place. While work is taking place, officials have deemed it unsafe for all non-essential personnel to be within the evacuated area.

    Chatham-Kent General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly said last week such analysis is a key factor in determining how the gas is reaching the surface.

    The Municipality has been advised that some local residents detect a gas-like smell in the area.

    The technical team has reviewed all on-site gas monitoring equipment, and there are no appreciable readings at this time. It is possible that the currently ongoing construction activity and soil disturbance are most likely the sources of the smell.

  • Demo Work in Wheatley

    Municipal officials confirmed today that demolition of buildings adjacent to the site of the explosion in downtown Wheatley is expected to be completed by the end of this week.

    Chatham-Kent General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly said the process is proceeding on schedule.

    As soon as demolition is completed, excavation will begin.

    "The excavation will go hand in hand with the pathway analysis," Kelly said. "The analysis is a key factor in determining how the gas is reaching the surface and gives us important information we can use for remediation."

    Kelly said work crews will proceed as quickly as possible but said safety remains paramount. "The excavation phase of the plan carries with it an elevated risk," he said. "We're very mindful of that."

    The practice of allowing residents into the evacuation zone to return to their homes for a brief period to retrieve some of their personal property has been on hold while the current work plan takes place.

    "We will resume allowing residents to return as soon it is safe to do so, but the current work Is critical to long-term resolution of the problem. If there are any gaps in the work plan, temporary access will be restarted," he said.

  • Downtown Wheatley Work

    Building excavation is taking place at 19 and 15 Erie St. N and 9 Talbot Trail West. Excavations will follow at APEC 1 and 2 to identify any sub-surface infrastructure that could be acting as a lateral pathway and to confirm if another source of gas is present.

    All work performed on-site follows a comprehensive health and safety plan that was developed by expert engineering consultants. The safety of public, staff and contractors remains the number one priority for site.

    Image of work currently being done in Wheatley




  • Access to Properties Ramped Up

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    Over this past weekend, 16 homeowners were able to obtain temporary access to properties in the evacuation zone. Efforts continue to provide access for the remaining property owners and tenants.

    Hydro poles and lines have now been removed near the site of the explosion to clear the way for the demolition work to begin. The demolition contractor is currently on-site and is mobilizing equipment for the next stage of the process.

    To ensure the safety of everyone involved, temporary home access has been suspended while this work is in-process. If there are any downtimes that occur, temporary home access appointments will restart immediately.

    As previously reported, the goal for the next phase of the investigation is to confirm the presence of a lateral pathway between APEC 1 and 2 and to verify there are no any other sources of gas in the area.

    Building excavation is taking place at 19 and 15 Erie St. N and 9 Talbot Trail West. Excavations will follow at APEC 1 and 2 to identify any sub-surface infrastructure that could be acting as a lateral pathway and to confirm if another source of gas is present.

    All work performed on-site follows a comprehensive health and safety plan that was developed by expert engineering consultants. The safety of public, staff and contractors remains the number one priority for site.

  • Update on Wheatley Investigation

    As previously reported, three Areas of Potential Environmental Concern (APEC) have been identified. APEC 1 is the area near the Pogue and Wheatley hotel. APEC 2 is the reported location of the abandoned Tait Well (Well 000981), which was located using ground penetrating radar and electromagnetic geophysical surveying. APEC 3 is a vent on the north-west corner of the municipal parking lot near Elm Street.

    Analysis of the gas samples taken from APEC 1 and APEC 2 indicates the gas source closely matches gas from a producing natural gas well in the region.

    To date, H2S (hydrogen sulphide) has been detected near APEC 1 during gas leak events and was accompanied by flowing water. It was also detected in extremely low concentrations near APEC 2 immediately following the latest gas leak event on Nov. 21/21. The source of H2S may be related to an unidentified gas source (thermogenic) from depth. It is also possible that the H2S is biogenic in nature and is generated from stagnant water close to surface mixing with gas that is migrating along a subsurface pathway.

    The goal for the next phase of the investigation is to confirm if a lateral pathway exists between APEC 1 and 2 and to confirm whether there are any other sources of gas.

    The removal of hydro lines and poles is occurring on Monday next week. Building excavation will follow at 15 and 19 Erie St. N and 9 Talbot Trail West.

    The technical consultants are currently actively working with sub-contractors, the municipality and the province to develop detailed work plans and health and safety plans to ensure these activities are undertaken safely.

  • Work Continuing in Wheatley

    As of today, December 2nd, approximately 30 out of 76 (40%) authorized residential and business properties in the evacuation zone have been accessed by owners and tenants.

    Entegrus will be in the area next week removing power lines before the demolition work begins. Efforts continue in the development of a safety plan for the investigation. Demolition work will only commence when all safety protocols have been completely satisfied.

    Residents will see heavy equipment beginning to move into the area later next week as the companies retained for this work prepare for the next steps in the investigation.

  • Working Continuing in Wheatley to Locate Gas Source

    The gas leak last week delayed re-entry appointments for residents, however, the process is set to continue today, December 1st. As of today, approximately twenty-five percent of the properties have been accessed.

    For the exploration into the source of the gas to continue, ongoing work Is required, which includes removal of some power lines and some demolition work in the vicinity of where gas was detected. Property owners of all immediately affected properties are being advised of the demolition plans and the impact on their property.

    Entegrus will be in the area this week removing power lines in the parking lot inside the evacuation zone prior to the demolition work. Residents will see heavy equipment beginning to move into the area later this week or early next week as the companies retained for this work prepare for the next steps in the investigation.

  • Temporarily Entry To Properties Postponed

    On Sunday, November 21, another gas release event occurred at the centre of the evacuation zone in Wheatley. The gas release was at the same location as witnessed on four previous occasions and lasted approximately 8 hours. Yesterday low levels of H2S returned to the same area for a short period of time. Due to this recent development, appointments for people to temporarily enter their properties today have been postponed until it can be confirmed that the zone is safe for re-entry.

    Firefighters remain on the scene providing around-the-clock service to ensure the safety of the community.

    The data captured yesterday and on Sunday will be used to assist in the continued investigation. Once the technical experts have thoroughly reviewed the data, a determination will be made if adjustments are required to the work plan and temporary homeowner re-entry process.

    As of today, ten homeowners have re-entered their property. A case manager is on-site to provide assistance to residents.

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