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Facts About Odours Near Gold Bar

February 03, 2016
Published In: Wastewater


What's going on?

Recent odour readings near the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant and nearby air quality monitoring stations have been higher than normal. In some instances, these readings exceeded the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives.

What causes the odours?

Most of these odours are related to hydrogen sulphide (H2S). This gas is naturally produced by biological activity in wastewater and is characterized by a rotten-egg smell that can be detected even at very low levels.

Should I be concerned?

The most recent studies done by Alberta Environment and Parks show that H2S levels around the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant occasionally exceeded the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives, which are based on odour perception thresholds. These levels are much lower than the health limits set by the Government of Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.

If the H2S levels ever exceed the Occupational Health and Safety limits, EPCOR will alert the public to the concern and any precautions they should take. One of the places we will use to notify you is our water outages and alert page.

What Is EPCOR doing about it?

The safety of the public and our employees is always our number one priority. As a result, we have started our own air monitoring in the area and are working with both Alberta Environment and Alberta Health on these issues.

We have a number of controls and processes already in place to address odour at the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant. For example, in areas with higher chance of H2S, Gold Bar employees wear portable devices that continuously measure levels in their surroundings. This helps to constantly monitor air quality levels at the plant, while ensuring that our employees are not exposed to unsafe levels.

We are also making continuous improvements by repairing some of our odour-control equipment and confirming that all of our odour-control systems are working as designed. For example, we are using equipment that allows us to take more precise low level H2S measurements and taking readings more frequently.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations
Phone: (780) 721-9001


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