Wheatley gas explosion. (Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent)Wheatley gas explosion. (Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Experts closer to solving gas leak in Wheatley

Results of testing are confirming that the gas that leaked in Wheatley last week was a naturally occurring gas typically found in the area that originates 300 metres or deeper below the earth’s surface.

Samples of the gas were sent to the University of Windsor for testing.

Hydrogen sulphide gas was detected again in downtown Wheatley on Friday. It's the fourth gas leak since the original gas leak on June 2, 2021. One of them resulted in an explosion on August 26, 2021, which injured 20 people and levelled several buildings.

The Wheatley technical team is planning to have soil vapour monitoring probes installed at various strategic locations later this week near the origin of the surface leak at 15 Erie Street North.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent said investigators continue to make progress regarding the source of the intermittent gas leak occurring in Wheatley’s downtown core. Officials noted this week's soil vapour monitoring work should help engineers determine the actual location of the source.

"The area is currently stable but as experienced this past Friday, this can change at any time," said the municipality in a news release on Wednesday afternoon. "A careful step-by-step process of elimination is required to safely determine the source of the gas leak and the appropriate mitigation actions."

Meantime, municipal officials said gas monitoring continues around the clock.

The experts investigating the gas leak have said residents evacuated from the area could be out of their homes and businesses for up to six months.

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