After the owners of a northwest Calgary gas station site “consistently failed” to remediate the leaky, defunct site to provincial standards, the Alberta government is taking over the work and sending the owners the bill.
The site’s owners, Gas Plus Inc. and Handel Transport (Northern) Ltd., have, in turn, blamed the Alberta government for the four-year delay that hangs over the remediation’s final stage. They issued a May 20, 2014 statement alleging that they’ve been waiting for “written consent” from a senior official with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. The statement suggested that any intentional delay on the part of the company is “not correct” and “entirely without merit.”
The need for the clean-up in the first place comes from a gas line leak discovered in 2010 at the site, which lies in Calgary’s Bowness area. Although figures vary, a consultant hired at the time by Gas Plus pegged the leak total at more than 7,000 litres. The consultant had recommended “immediate action” due to the “highly-permeable” gravel and groundwater that could send the contaminant toward a nearby river and residences.
Eventually, Alberta Health Services declared three nearby houses unfit for habitation after gas vapours (benzene) reached levels 100 times more than federal limits.
In late 2013, the Alberta government responded to the leak by issuing fines to Gas Plus totalling $250,000 under the province’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
Currently, the Alberta government says it will begin court proceedings if Gas Plus fails to give crews appropriate access to remediate the site.
“Assessment of the contamination in the area is already underway by the department’s consultants. Updates will be provided to residents as work progresses,” states a May 20, 2014 announcement from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.
The ministry issued its second environmental protection order for the Gas Plus site in January 2014.
A spokesperson from the ministry told EcoLog News: “[…] there is no legislated timeline for parties to come into compliance,” once an order is ignored. However, the ministry has the ability to ensure the order is enforced as it sees fit.
The post-remediation fate of the former Gas Plus site remains unknown.
This news item originally appeared in EcoLog News. To learn how to subscribe, visit www.ecolog.com