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May 26, 2006
Accidental discharge of particulate material in Saskatoon
SaskEnergy is reporting an accidental release of particulate material from a natural gas pipeline which was being removed from a site in downtown Saskatoon.
The release occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. as a SaskEnergy crew was working on an unused natural gas line from a location adjacent to a parking lot in the 200 Block of 3rd Ave N. While the pressure in the line had been reduced, when the crew was performing maintenance there was a particulate discharge into the surrounding area.
Two SaskEnergy employees came in contact with the thin mist, as did seven cars in the parking lot and two SaskEnergy trucks. No members of the public were affected by this discharge.
As is standard safety protocol in these situations, SaskEnergy contacted an environmental specialist - EnviroTech of Saskatoon - to assist in the clean-up. A sample of the materials was sent to a lab at the Saskatchewan Research Council in Saskatoon, with test results determining that a trace amount of PCBs was contained within the liquid.
Trace quantities of PCBs are not uncommon in natural gas pipelines, and were a component of the lubricant used in pipeline compressors and valves in the 1950s and 1960s. The findings confirmed that while the particulate release was below federally acceptable levels for PCBs, provincial environmental regulations indicate that a full cleaning of the area must occur. As required by safety regulations, SaskEnergy has reported this incident to Saskatchewan Environment and Environment Canada.
The two employees followed standard procedures of
properly discarding their safety clothing and cleaning any areas that came in
contact with the mist. Neither required any further medical attention.