Just when Leduc County council seemed on the verge of making a decision on whether or not to approve an oilfield chemical blending facility to be built in the Nisku Business Park, council deferred it’s decision.
Coming out of in camera discussions, which followed presentations from County staff and Doug McCutcheon of McCutcheon and Associates Consulting, Mayor John Whaley said councillors put off making a decision to give themselves time to digest the information that had been presented to them.
Now that council has all of the reports, information and risk assessments, a vote is scheduled for the June 3 County council meeting.
The company is asking to build a chemical blending facility on a parcel of land on the east side of 9th Street, one kilometer north of Hwy 625 in the Nisku Business Park, bordering two Environmental Reserve lots and the Blackmud Creek flood plain on the east side.
If approved, the facility would house an office, warehouse and blending room along with 20 125,000 L tanks and a 10-car rail spur on 14 acres of the 25-acre property. The County has been advised that the proposed facility is designed to blend chemicals and is not a chemical processing plant. The site will be used to receive chemical raw materials and store them in the warehouse and bulk tank farm. From there, concentrates will be mixed and diluted into finished oilfield production chemicals for Canadian customers. Materials will be shipped and received via truck, bulk trailers and rail cars.
In summarizing his report to council, McCutcheon said, “Even the worst case scenario will not result in a fatality in a residential area” and that if there was a spill, the company has designed primary, secondary and tertiary containment of that spill so it would not extend off the property.
Although two of the 103 compounds that would be housed in the facility are sulphur-based, McCutcheon said the sue of scrubbers and a nitrogen blanket would minimize smells to all about those who are extremely sensitive to strong odours and only under special circumstances.
While a number or area residents have raised concerns about the impact such a facility would have on them, McCutcheon said society has to balance the risk of using hazards chemicals with the demands of creature comforts. “We have a society that have requirements to enjoy the standard of living we want to have and have into the future. To have power, heat, clothes, paint and carpet is the result of hazardous industries,” he said.
Professionally, McCutcheon said there is not a general risk to building Muti-chem’s facility on the proposed location, however, his personal feeling is that this type of facility would be more appropriate in a heavy industrial area, rather than a Direct Control district.