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Environmental charges laid against Suncor for 2018 refinery incident

The Suncor Refinery in Edmonton is seen on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.
The Suncor Refinery in Edmonton is seen on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

The Alberta Government has laid seven charges against Suncor Energy Inc. for an incident that took place at the company’s Edmonton-area refinery in 2018.

In a Sunday news release, the government said Suncor faces five charges for contravening a term or condition of an approval, as well as releasing a substance into the environment that may cause an adverse effect and failing to report the release in a timely manner.

In July 2018, the company reported a hydrogen sulfide leak at its Edmonton refinery. At the time, it said that a “number of employees” were in the vicinity of the unit that released the chemical and that some of those employees and contractors were sent to hospital for assessment.

Read more: AHS monitoring workers after hydrogen sulfide leak at Edmonton refinery: Suncor

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The charges announced Sunday are contraventions under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. 

Suncor Energy Inc. has a court date set for July 29 in Sherwood Park.

According to Suncor’s website, the refinery processes about 142,000 barrels per day of crude oil.

A Work Safe Alberta document describes hydrogen sulphide as a “colourless and poisonous flammable gas with a strong smell of rotten eggs.”

According to Work Safe Alberta, the gas is extremely toxic and can prevent the brain from using oxygen if it is breathed in.

–With files from Phil Heidenreich, Global News