The mayor of Delta, B.C., is calling the lack of communication from FortisBC “an egregious oversight” after the utility didn’t notify the public for more than four hours after a leak at a renewable gas plant.
George Harvie says on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that it was unacceptable for Delta residents and businesses to be “left in the dark” after a leak at a plant in Ladner spread strong gas smells across the city.
Harvie says he has asked the city manager to review of the cause of the leak, as well as the reason it took FortisBC four hours to notify others.
GAS LADNER ODOUR UPDATE: Gas is under control. The leak contained a high concentration of odorant which has a strong smell even in very low concentrations. It’s not hazardous to inhale with the quantity released in the atmosphere. See our service alert: https://t.co/vIsGZk6weD
— FortisBC (@FortisBC) January 17, 2024
The mayor says the heavy odour led to stress and panic among the public, and the flood of calls received by local police and firefighters seriously hampered Delta’s emergency response services.
FortisBC said in a news release Tuesday evening that the Ladner plant was the source of a minor leak that is now under control, and that repairs are underway.
The company said the smell of the gas is pungent due to an additive used to detect leaks, and that the amount released is not hazardous to inhale and is expected to dissipate.
The heavy odour at one point led to the nearby BC Ferries terminal advising foot passengers to stay inside during their Tuesday commute, while vehicle passengers were asked to roll up their windows to avoid the smell.
#BCFHeadsUp #Tsawwassen Fortis BC has confirmed a leak from their facility in Delta. All foot passengers are being advised to stay indoors as much as possible and vehicle passengers should roll up their windows to avoid the smell.
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) January 17, 2024
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2024.