Leaking gas well forces families out in Calmar neighbourhood

Leaking gas well forces families out in Calmar neighbourhood by Darcy Henton, June 2, 2010, Edmonton Journal
CALMAR, ALBERTA — Five new Calmar homes have to be removed to make room for a drilling rig to seal an abandoned natural gas well discovered in one family’s backyard. In what the Energy Resources Conservation Board called “a unique situation,” two families have already moved and Imperial Oil has confirmed it may have to purchase three other adjacent modular homes in the community, 50 kilometres southwest of Edmonton. Stacy Smith, whose backyard deck is a few metres from the wellhead, said many neighbours were unaware of what was going on until they were called last week to a meeting by Imperial Oil. She and her husband, Trevor, who moved into the Evergreen subdivision in October 2006, heard rumours two years ago after another leaking gas well was discovered on the grounds of a nearby elementary school. “Initially, I had a hard time finding out what was going on,” Smith said. “Our neighbour came to us in the fall of 2008 and told us either our house or the house next to us had a leaking well. We didn’t really believe it.” Smith said she had noticed bubbles in a puddle in the back lane, but didn’t link it to a leaking gas well. Neither did her neighbour, who has since sold her home to Imperial and moved. “She was going to put her fire pit right there where the well was. It’s rather shocking,” Smith said. “They’re offering us just slightly more than we paid when we moved in here. We’ve put at least double that into our property, but they aren’t interested in paying us for the improvements. It’s been incredibly stressful. I’m at the end of my rope. I am just so sick of it.”…

The developer, Aztec Homes, went out of business, but the owner now operates another construction company in town that sells modular homes. He declined a request for an interview. Residents said the home closest to the well is the only home without a basement. … “There’s no way I would have bought a house in this area if I knew there was a wellhead here — and on top of everything else, it’s a leaking well,” said Cyndi Olson, 50, a physician who is recovering from two open-heart surgeries. “I am fairly angry.” … Her husband Ralph, 51, said one of his biggest beefs is there has been no one to turn to for advice or help. He said local and provincial politicians all passed the buck. “It was probably the most frustrating part to me,” he said. “Nobody seems to care.” [Emphasis added]

This entry was posted in Case News, Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.