States of emergency declared as heavy rains fuel flooding in western prairie province of Alberta.
Photo Credit: CBC Video

Sour gas pipeline rupture forces evacuation, as flooding continues in Alberta

A sour gas pipeline rupture has caused a release of H2S in the Town of Turner Valley in the western prairie province of Alberta provoking an emergency alert by authorities, and the evacuation of people because of the gas leak.

The alert warns “There is a hazardous materials release threatening life and the environment.”

Sour gas contains hydrogen sulfide (H2S) – a colourless, flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs. The gas is poisonous if inhaled.

On Twitter, CBC reporter Alana Baker @alanacbaker reported 50 homes have been evacuated because of the gas leaks, and because of floods in the area. She also wrote crews told her the gas leak is from a well head near an old gas plant, and not the plant itself. The plant has been shut down for years.

Reporting from the valley, Baker noted she was “Hearing very conflicting reports about Turner Valley gas leak. A firefighter in Black Diamond said he heard it was contained.”

Turner Valley is south west of the city of Calgary which is bracing for more flooding, and has declared a state of emergency. A number of other communities have also declared a state of emergency because of flooding.

More information:
CBC News – Sour gas pipeline rupture forces evacuation of Alberta homes – here
CBC News – Calgary braces for flooding, declares state of emergency – here
Alberta Emergency Alert – here

Update: Friday, June 21, 2013
Officials now say the sour gas rupture has been contained. CTV News is reporting “the well feeding the line has been shut off, but crews can’t get in to seal off the rupture.”

Meanwhile flooding continues throughout the province. In the city of Calgary residents have been told to evacuate in a number of areas, and police are asking people to stay away from the downtown area. More information here.

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