An investigation into a strange odour which caused many residents of Unity to become ill in early January has ruled out hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as the culprit.
Residents complained of a foul odour Jan. 2, which caused many to experience nausea, burning eyes and even migraines. According to the Ministry of Economy (ECON), the air samples collected Jan. 2 and 3 showed the odour stemmed from a mixture of gaseous petroleum hydrocarbons and sulfur-based compounds, and was not H2S as feared by some residents. According to ECON, the large amounts of gas released in a short timeframe could have caused the side-effects that overcame the residents of Unity, but no serious or long term health risks are expected.
According to a release from the Town of Unity, officials determined the odour was coming from the Tervita waste disposal facility, which is located near the town. Tervita personnel traced the odour to a malfunctioning pump, which was repaired.
The Ministry of the Economy also contracted Intrinsik Corp., a consulting firm with expertise in toxicology and environmental protection to advise on the investigation process and assess the results of the air testing. That the investigation will continue over the next several weeks with a full report to be prepared, which will include actions required to address any identified issues.
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