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December 13, 2004 - Controlled Shutdown at TransGas Asquith Cavern Project

December 13, 2004

Controlled Shutdown at TransGas Asquith Cavern Project

Responding to a request from the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, TransGas has initiated a controlled shutdown of a project to construct natural gas storage caverns near the town of Asquith.

TransGas was using ground water from the Tyner Valley Aquifer to dissolve underground salt deposits, creating natural gas storage capacity west of Saskatoon. Some residents of the area have expressed concern that the project was affecting private wells some distance away from the project site and in different aquifers.

"We have listened to the concerns of local residents," Saskatchewan Watershed Authority Minister David Forbes said. "Now, it needs to be determined if any water supply problems are due to the TransGas project or by some other cause. We will make a final determination based on the science."

The temporary shutdown will allow the Authority to gather and examine additional data to ensure that the project is sustainable in terms of water supply, and to examine any potential impacts on water quality. At the Authority's direction, TransGas has established several additional piezometers or observation wells.

Water levels will be monitored to determine the magnitude and rate of water level recovery in the Tyner Valley Aquifer, as well as any time lags in recovery in wells further from the project site. Potential effects on the Tessier Aquifer and on shallow aquifers will also be monitored.

The Authority will receive the data throughout the shutdown, and will reassess the water-use license issued to TransGas based on the results. Local citizens have been consulted in determining the basis for the additional research and will be included as the assessment is performed.

For More Information, Contact:

Nolan Shaheen, P.Eng., P.Geo.
Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
Moose Jaw
Phone: (306) 694-3963
Cell: (306) 230-1632