Advertisement

Ministry satisfied with changes to address issues that contributed to odour in Unity, Sask.

Unity, Sask., residents sickened by mysterious leak
WATCH ABOVE: Many people in Unity, Sask., became ill on Jan. 2, 2018, after they were overcome by a mysterious odour. As Meaghan Craig reports in this joint Global News/Toronto Star investigation, what happened that night remains unanswered.

The Saskatchewan government said Monday it’s satisfied with changes at Tervita’s waste processing facility near Unity, Sask., as a follow-up to the release of a strong odour from a disposal line on Jan. 2, 2018.

It was a mysterious odour townspeople in Unity claimed made them sick.

READ MORE: Mysterious odour in Unity contained waste not approved to be disposed at facility

“It gave me a migraine and nausea and burning eyes and throat,” one local wrote on the community’s Facebook page.

Air samples collected on Jan. 2 and 3, 2018, revealed a mixture of gaseous petroleum hydrocarbons and sulfur-based compounds.

According to the ministry, these concentrations could have resulted in the short-term effects reported; however, no serious or long-term health effects are expected.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources completed an investigation and said on July 19, 2018, the source was likely a gaseous component in the liquid waste stream that was received by the facility.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH BELOW: Unity resident recalls ‘horrendous’ smell that made his wife instantly sick

Unity resident recalls ‘horrendous’ smell that made his wife instantly sick
Unity resident recalls ‘horrendous’ smell that made his wife instantly sick

The ministry’s investigation determined the shipment delivered on Jan. 2, 2018, contained caustic waste that was not approved for disposal at the facility. Information indicated it was classified a “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Class 8 corrosive liquid.”

As a result of the investigation, Tervita had to contract a third-party engineering assessment of its waste processing and disposal system and make sure sampling procedures met operating standards. The final report was submitted on Dec. 19, 2018.

The assessment, conducted by Atlas BA Consulting Inc., concluded that disposal caverns and well infrastructure was not compromised by the receipt of the unauthorized materials.

New equipment has been installed at the site to better monitor operating pressures for pumps handling wastes.

The recent assessment confirmed the design of Unity facility together with its operating practices are not compatible with the receipt and disposal of “Class 8 TDG” wastes. The steps taken by Tervita to prevent these wastes from being disposed of at the facility are acceptable to the ministry.

READ MORE: H2S ruled out of mysterious leak at Unity, Sask.

Government officials said Tervita’s current emergency procedures, including changes implemented since Jan. 2, 2018, meet regulatory requirements and industry standards.

Story continues below advertisement

The ministry said it’s satisfied that no additional measures are required at this time in relation to Tervita’s approach to both reporting and responding to incidents at the facility.

Unity is roughly approximately 175 kilometres west of Saskatoon.

-With files from Global’s Meaghan Craig