Geophysical survey underway to determine source of Wheatley explosion


Work continues to determine the source of the gas explosion in Wheatley that injured 20 people.

The province has taken over the investigation and a geophysical survey of the area is now underway.

Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire says the survey will use ground penetrating radar to identify the location of any abandoned steel cased wells.

He says crews are doing everything they can to track down the source of the gas.

"Until we find out the source, we can't really do anything to prevent a reoccurrence and until we do that, it's not safe to let people back into their properties. So we're doing everything we can to do that quickly and trying to get people safely back into their homes and their businesses."

Shropshire says the goal is to have the work wrapped up within two weeks, but that could change depending on what's found.

"Could be longer could be shorter, but it's a variety of different things you're doing. You're looking at ground penetrating radar, there will be some drilling involved as well. They're going to be doing a number of steps to try and locate that source of the gas, but that's in the hands of the technical people and it's going to take as long as it takes."

He says they're doing their best to keep the community informed.

"We've had meetings in person with the business owners and also the residents, Until everybody is getting the information they need to make their plans for whether it's their business or their residence and how they're going to be dealing with the situation, then we still have some room to for improvement. If I was out of my home or out of my business, I'd be expecting the same thing."

Investigators have confirmed hydrogen sulphide gas is to blame for the blast on August 26 — the toxic and flammable gas has not been detected at the site since the explosion.

The evacuation zone remains in place and there's still no timeline for residents to return to their homes.