> Home > News Room > Media Releases

Media Releases

Statement from RMWB about Fort McMurray Water Treatment Plant; Residents and Businesses Asked to Monitor Water Consumption

(Fort McMurray, AB – May 8, 2017) – This morning, during a routine chemical delivery at the Fort McMurray Water Treatment Plant, sodium hypochlorite was accidently transferred into the polyaluminum chloride bulk tank. The chemical reaction created chlorine gas that was released into the air. Operations staff immediately shut down the water treatment plant following the incident.

Alberta Health Services has been contacted regarding the incident; they have no concerns regarding the safety or quality of the water.

Following the incident, Emergency Services was called and an employee was treated as a precaution for inhalation concerns. This employee has since been released from care, and did not experience any injuries. Emergency Services are currently at the site to review the site conditions and advise when the site will be safe for regular operations.

The health and safety of our employees is our biggest priority. As a precaution, staff working in the operations tower at the Water Treatment Plan was evacuated. Non-essential staff was relieved of duty, and core operations staff is working at a safe location nearby. Municipal Safety representatives are on-site, and will support any further investigations required.

Operations Staff are working hard to return Water Treatment Plant operations to normal. Residents and businesses are to monitor their water consumption while alternative solutions for water supply are worked out. Timelines for restoration of regular service are unavailable at this time.

Further updates will be provided as the situation evolves. Residents are asked to call PULSE for more information at 780.743.7000 or email pulse@rmwb.ca.

-30-

Media inquiries:

media@rmwb.ca

FAQs

What was the nature of the chemical reaction?

During a routine chemical delivery, sodium hypochlorite was accidentally transferred into a polyaluminium chloride bulk tank. This reaction created chlorine gas and water treatment operations were immediately suspended. There are no impacts to drinking water quality at this time.

Was anyone else hurt or treated by Emergency Services?

No. One employee was seen by Emergency Services as a precaution for inhalation concerns. The employee has since been released from care and didn’t have injuries.

What is the RMWB doing to remedy the situation?

Short-term priorities include the safe disposal of the chemicals through a dangerous goods response process led by RMWB Emergency Services and supported by Syncrude Emergency Services.

What’s the best way to monitor developments?

Follow our social media channels or call/email Pulse at 780-743-7000 or pulse@rmwb.ca.