News

Rosebud has boiled water order following

Strathmore Standard

Investigators say an accumulation of gases appears to have caused the Jan. 11 explosion that destroyed the Rosebud water reservoir building and sent a Wheatland County employee to hospital with injuries.

As a result of the damage to the reservoir, Calgary Health Region has issued a boiling water order for the Hamlet.

Tracy Gooler, Wheatland County constable and manager of protective services, said that the county?s water operator, John Garvin, was endeavoring to thaw out an inlet supply line, to the portable water reservoir in Rosebud, with a propane tiger torch at about 2:30 p.m.

?He had done his checks,? Gooler said, adding that when the match was struck to light the torch, an explosion occurred.

?The explosion caused the lid of the potable water reservoir to become loose, and in fact, moved it 16 inches, opening the water to the elements.?

Gooler said the operator was unable to detect the gases by smell and did not use a detection device. Garvin sustained non-life threatening, but fairly substantial injuries, including two broken wrists and some burns to the face and hands.

He was assisted by the Rockyford Fire Department and WADEMSA (Wheatland and Adjacent Districts Emergency Medical Services Association) took him to the Foothills hospital, Gooler said.

The reservoir sustained significant damage, including moving the concrete roof 16 inches, and some vertical cracks to the walls.

The county has hired a structural engineer to determine what needs to be done to repair it. Gooler said that report has not come back to the county so ?what is going to happen with the reservoir, we?re not sure.?

In the meantime, because the potable water was exposed to the elements, the boil water advisory was issued and put in place and ?remains in effect until the county can put in a back up system.?

The county is bringing in four 1,500-gallon tanks that will be placed ina secure area.

Gooler said only the Hamlet of Rosebud is effected and the population is around 80 residents.

However, it is home to the Rosebud Theatre of the Arts and their performances attract visitors from across Alberta and elsewhere.

Gooler noted that this is sort of the ?inactive? time for the theatre.

?When you have performances happening fairly often, the water moves quite a bit. When the theatre is not on, obviously 80 people don?t use that much water, so the water doesn?t move, and that?s when our inlet supply line has a tendency to freeze,? Gooler said.

While the health region issued the boiling water advisory, Alberta Environment and Occupational Health and Safety are working with the county to ensure standards are met and continue investigation into the mishap.