By Jeremy Appel
The Ministry of Environment and Parks has agreed to reimburse County of Forty Mile Coun. Chantel Timmons for the cost of repairing a methane-leaking well discovered on her property last year.
The ministry agreed to pay up to $100,000 towards the repair. Anything more than that will have to go through the Ministry of Treasury.
“They’re willing to assist us in the financial portion of it, as long as we sign an agreement and we are the lead contractor on the whole situation,” explained Timmons.
She said she consulted with six different companies and went with a quote from 360 Energy Liability Management Company, declining to disclose how much it was for.
“Just yesterday, we signed off on the agreement for Phase 1 to evaluate the well and find out more about it and exactly what will be required when we abandon it, hopefully, in the next month or so,” Timmons said.
She had to navigate through the provincial bureaucracy before reaching an agreement with Environment and Parks.
“I started my quest with the Alberta Energy Regulator,” Timmons said.
“Between the three — the AER, Environment and Parks, as well as the Ministry of Energy — they must have determined that this has the greatest potential to be a water well, so then it becomes Environment and Parks.”
Timmons attributes the government’s response to both her persistence and the clear danger posed by a methane-leaking well on her driveway, less than two metres from the house.
“I have been very vocal with the request that I had and the situation that we’re in,” she said.
“They weighed the entire situation and do realize there’s an imminent danger to my home and family.”
Although there are thousands of orphan wells across Alberta, Timmons’ situation was unique, as Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd acknowledged in her response to her initial inquiry.
“To me, this is an extraordinary circumstance when it’s this close to the home,” said Timmons.