Ontario providing cash for safety equipment, training to deal with inactive oil and gas wells
Health & Safety Oil and gas ontario
Ontario is spending $7.5 million over three years to help municipalities deal with safety issues related to old and inactive oil and gas wells. There are about 27,000 such wells, primarily on private land in southwestern Ontario, according to provincial records.
Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, said the money will help municipalities build capacity through training and equipment to increase their understanding of the risks — and how to mitigate them.
Norfolk County, for example, is receiving $280,000 to purchase gas monitoring and health and safety equipment, provide health and safety training to staff and develop an education campaign for residents.
“Community safety remains our shared top priority,” said Amy Martin, mayor of Norfolk County. “The funding provided to Norfolk will help us better communicate the dangers associated with abandoned wells and monitor problematic wells.”
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry administers the Abandoned Works Program, which supports the plugging of old and inactive oil and gas wells that are at heightened risk to public safety or the environment by providing financial assistance to eligible landowners, it said. To date, the province has invested $29.5 million to plug 415 wells across Ontario.
Municipalities receiving funding
The following municipalities have been approved for funding in year one of the project:
- Municipality of Chatham-Kent
- Lambton County
- Oxford County
- Brant County
- Elgin County
- Essex County
- Haldimand County
- Regional Municipality of Niagara