Es­caped gas dur­ing main­te­nance at Safety-Kleen plant prompts mul­ti­ple odour com­plaints in Bres­lau

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - STEVE KANNON

A STRONG PETROLEUM ODOUR that spread out across Bres­lau Mon­day morn­ing was traced back to clean­ing and main­te­nance work be­ing done at the Safety-Kleen refinery.

Wool­wich fire­fight­ers re­spond­ing 9-1-1 calls – prompted by a “very strong” odour of nat­u­ral gas or sul­phur – couldn’t im­me­di­ately pin­point the source, as the plant re­ported it was shut down for main­te­nance, said town­ship fire chief Dale Martin.

Even­tu­ally, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion “all led back to Safe­tyKleen ... the clean­ing process led to some vent­ing that caused the odour.”

Of­fi­cials no­ti­fied the Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment and Water­loo Re­gion Pub­lic Health. Fire­fight­ers also ad­vised Bres­lau Pub­lic School to shut off any ven­ti­la­tion in­take, close all doors and win­dows and keep chil­dren inside for re­cess as a pre­cau­tion.

There was no chem­i­cal re­lease nor any pub­lic health con­cerns, said Martin.

Safety-Kleen stopped the main­te­nance work, which re­duced the prob­lem. The odour was al­ready dis­si­pat­ing when, a lit­tle while later, there was a rain­fall that washed away the last traces, he added.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the MOE, which had also re­ceived odour com­plaints, found the clean­ing process at fault.

“Staff at the Safety-Kleen fa­cil­ity were per­form­ing rou­tine clean­ing and main­te­nance that in­cluded trans­fer­ring spent oil. The trans­fer caused some oil to let off a gas com­pound that led to the odour. The clean­ing is now com­plete and the odours have dis­si­pated,” said Amy Shaw, district man­ager at the min­istry’s Guelph of­fice, in an email Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“Safety-Kleen has pro­vided the min­istry with a re­port set­ting out the cor­rec­tive steps they will take and pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures that they will put in place to pre­vent a sim­i­lar is­sue from oc­cur­ring again.”

She noted the MOE would be mon­i­tor­ing main­te­nance sched­uled for the rest of the week.

“For main­te­nance done last night, they used an en­zyme ap­pli­ca­tion to sup­press odours in the tank and will con­tinue to use this process for fu­ture main­te­nance of tanks.”

The com­pany has in­di­cated to the min­istry that it will no longer use the vac­uum truck in op­er­a­tion dur­ing Mon­day morn­ing’s trans­fer of oil. Like­wise, it will put in place a sys­tem to mon­i­tor odour in the com­mu­nity dur­ing fu­ture main­te­nance work.

“Prior to any fu­ture main­te­nance, the min­istry is re­quir­ing Safety-Kleen to no­tify Kitch­ener Util­i­ties, the lo­cal fire de­part­ment and the Spills Ac­tion Cen­tre of the MOECC,” said Shaw.

“The min­istry takes these types of in­ci­dents very se­ri­ously.”


A gas es­cape as clean­ing and main­te­nance work was be­ing car­ried out at the Safety-Kleen plant is be­ing blamed for a strong odour in Bres­lau Mon­day.

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