UPDATE: potential Sulfolane contamination; alternate water source continues to be advised by Alberta Health Services, March 19, 2014
As investigation into the Sulfolane release at the South Rosevear Gas Plant (10-11-054-15-W5M, Yellowhead County) continues, all residents within five kilometers of the Plant are advised to continue to use an alternate water source for drinking and human consumption, while further assessment of well water impact and human health risk is conducted. …
As of March 18, 2014, initial testing of 122 private water wells has been completed, and results for all of those wells have been reported to Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Health (AH). Results confirm the presence of Sulfolane in five of these wells.
AHS has followed-up with residents for whom results have been reported at this time, and will continue to communicate with all impacted residents directly, as new information – including additional test results and health risk analysis – is available. Residents can also call Health Link Alberta at 1.866.408.5465 (LINK) with any related health concerns or questions.
Agricultural producers may want to use an alternate water source for their animals, if Sulfolane has been detected in water wells on their property. Water from wells with no detectable levels of Sulfolane should be safe for animal consumption. Agricultural producers with Sulfolane detected in well water are asked to please contact the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian (780.427.3448) before shipping animals or animal products from farms.
The Alberta Energy Regulator and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development continue to work with the Plant operators to ensure that proper mitigation and remediation plans are in place and implemented.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
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Potential Sulfolane contamination; alternate water use advised as precaution by Alberta Health Services, March 14, 2014
EDSON – Due to potential Sulfolane contamination in some private drinking water wells surrounding the South Rosevear Gas Plant (10-11-054-15-W5M, in Yellowhead County), residents located within five kilometers of the Plant are advised to use an alternate source of water for drinking and other human consumption, as a precautionary measure.
Foods can be cooked in well water only if water will be fully drained before serving (e.g. boiling eggs). An alternate source of water is not recommended for showering or bathing, as Sulfolane is not absorbed through skin, and cannot be inhaled through water vapours.
Initial testing of potentially impacted private water wells has started. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development will continue to work with the plant operators to ensure that proper mitigation and remediation plans are in place and implemented.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Health will continue to update impacted residents directly, as new information becomes available. Updates will also be posted on the AHS Health Advisory webpage
Residents in the above noted area are advised to call Health Link Alberta at 1.866.408.5465 (LINK) with any related health concerns or questions.
Agricultural producers may want to use an alternative water source for their animals if one is available. Please contact the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian at 780-427-3448 before shipping animals or animal products from farms in the affected area. [Emphasis added]
Residents near Alberta gas plant told not to use water from their wells by The Canadian Press, March 14, 2014, Edmonton Journal
EDSON, Alta. – Alberta Health Services is urging residents near a gas plant to not use water from their wells due to possible contamination. AHS says the potential contaminant is Sulfolane, an industrial solvent used to purify natural gas. The government says residents located within five kilometres of the South Rosevear Gas Plant in Yellowhead County near Edson should get drinking water from other sources than their private wells.
AHS says foods can be cooked in well water only if water will be fully drained before serving, such as boiled eggs, and well water can be used for showering or bathing, because Sulfolane is not absorbed through skin, and cannot be inhaled through water vapours. Agricultural producers may want to use an alternative water source for their animals if one is available.
AHS says testing of private water wells has started and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development will work with the plant operators to ensure that proper mitigation and remediation plans are in place and implemented. [Emphasis added]
National Toxicology Program, Board of Scientific Counselors, Summary Minutes December 15, 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC
Dr. Birnbaum asked whether, as high production volume (HPV) solvent, sulfolane is one of the compounds being used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Dr. Blystone said it may be used downstream of the fracking itself, but in terms of on-site fracking, he did not believe it was being used. … Dr. Blystone that the highest level seen in drinking water wells was up to 269 parts per billion (ppb). …
Dr. Laurie Haws, Principle Health Scientist, ToxStrategies, Inc., said she had been involved with toxicity research on sulfolane since 2009…[s]he added that the literature suggests that sulfolane is poorly dermally absorbed, and therefore of little risk from dermal exposure. The pathways of reasonable concern for human exposure, she said, are oral exposures in drinking water and ingestion of sulfolane in produce that has been irrigated with sulfolane-contaminated groundwater. [Emphasis added]
Sulfolane (C4H8SO2; CAS 126-33-0) is a solvent used for gas treating in a variety of industrial processes. It is known under a variety of synonyms and trade names including bondelane A, 2,3,4,5-tetrahydrothiophene-1,1-dioxide, and tetramethylene sulfone. … Sulfolane is highly mobile in the subsurface. [Emphasis added]
SULFOLANE: Canadian Soil Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Environmental and Human Health by CCME, August 2006
Reports on the presence of anthropogenic sulfolane in the environment are limited to data collected in the vicinity of sour gas processing facilities in Western Canada (CAPP 1997; Wrubleski and Drury 1997). The maximum measured sulfolane concentrations in groundwater were 800 mg·L-1 in shallow till and 88 mg·L-1 in bedrock. … Three studies have examined the chronic or sub-chronic toxicity of sulfolane to laboratory animals. Andersen et al. (1977) conducted subchronic (90 day) inhalation toxicity studies with rats, guinea pigs, beagle dogs, and squirrel monkeys. Toxic effects including leukopenia, increased plasma transaminase activity, convulsions, vomiting, and death were seen at higher concentrations. [Emphasis added]
Slide from presentation by Chad Blystone, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., December 15, 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Ambient Water Quality Guidelines for Sulfolane by N.K. Nagpal, Ph.D., September 15, 2003, BC Water Protection Section, Water, Air and Climate Change Branch, Environmental Protection Division, ISBN 0-7726-5096-9
Why this sudden interest in exhibiting a duty of care to Albertans harmed by the oil and gas industry, while doing nothing to protect the numerous families in frac fields that have water test results by the regulator proving dangerous, explosive levels of methane contamination?
Alberta Health Services has known for nearly a decade that Encana frac’d Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers.
Why is the Alberta Government not providing alternate water for the residents in the area of concern and invoicing the gas plant owner?
Refer also to:
Slide from Ernst Presentations