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Expanded Hydrogen Sulphide alert area may affect more residents

Norfolk County Emergency Control Group
MEDIA RELEASE

Expanded Hydrogen Sulphide alert area may affect more residents

Norfolk County, ON – August 31, 2017 – Emergency officials in Norfolk County have expanded the alert area around the zone affected by the leaks of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) between Silver Hill and Langton.

Officials have ongoing communications with households under evacuation orders. Communications will begin today with 16 additional addresses in a wider alert area approximately 800 meters in diameter from the wells.

Capping of one of the gas wells is expected to commence before the weekend. The capping operation has the potential to temporarily increase levels of the toxic, flammable gas in the immediate area. Officials will post ongoing readings as they become available on the website hnhu.org and norfolkcounty.ca/emergency.

“Public safety is our top priority,” said Mayor Charlie Luke. “Please follow the warnings from your Emergency officials. Stay away from the area.”

The affected area is centered at North Walsingham Concession 10, which has been closed between Forestry Farm Road and East Quarterline Road until further notice. Norfolk County has declared exclusion zones in the area that prohibit anyone from entering on foot or by vehicle or vessel.

Norfolk County officials, staff and experts are meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry later today to demand action on the capping of the second well, which is spewing very high concentrations of H2S. Norfolk County contends that the MNRF has the statutory authority to cap the second well based on readings from multiple sources of data.

Citizens who believe a well is leaking H2S should contact the Spills Action Centre of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change by calling 1-800-268-6060 (toll-free) or 416-325-3000 immediately.

Updates on the situation will be posted at norfolkcounty.ca/emergency, announced via 98.9 FM, and via media releases and social media. More information about hydrogen sulphide has been added to the Haldimand & Norfolk Health Unit website at hnhu.org.

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See attached Map PDF indicating 400m and 800m zones.

Media Contacts:

Marlene Miranda, General Manager, Health & Social Services
519-426-6170 Ext 3120

David Cribbs, County Manager
519-426-5870 Ext 1225

Mayor Charlie Luke
519-426-5870 Ext 1220

Terry Dicks
Fire Chief
519-426-4115 Ext. 2400

Clark Hoskin, Deputy Emergency Information Officer
519-426-5870 Ext 1238