An Edson family has learned their well water was contaminated with sulfolane, following a leak from the nearby South Rosevear Gas Plant operated by Bonavista Energy. 

Mersadese Royale says her family started drinking the water when they moved into a trailer on a dairy farm last December.

She, her husband and her two children became sick with diarrhea and headaches. She says the water also had a very bad smell.

“It smelled like hard boiled eggs, like a really pungent, offensive odour,” she said.

On March 12, Alberta Health Services informed the family that their water had a high level of sulfolane, a chemical used to purify natural gas. Since then, Bonavista Energy has installed water tanks on the side of Royale’s home.

The company is also providing bottled water to all residents in the area. 

Family evicted 

Royale spoke out about her situation on social media. One day after her story appeared in the local newspaper, Royale says she received an eviction notice from her landlady giving her family one month to get out.

“She has no reason to evict us,” Royale said. “Our rent was paid three weeks early.”

Royale is six months’ pregnant and she is concerned she isn’t getting enough information from the company. She says the family wasn’t invited to a recent information night set up by the company.

In a statement provided to CBC, Bonavista Energy said it reached out to Royale and her family as soon as they learned they couldn’t attend.

The company says it will respond directly and quickly to any resident that requires information.

Alberta Health Services has issued an advisory for the area on March 14 and continues to monitor water quality.

Residents who live within five kilometres of the plant are asked to use alternate sources of drinking water.

Bonavista believes the gas release occurred before it acquired the property in 2010.