The federal government says a sour gas well near the Hay River ski trails has the potential to leak.

Hay River sour gas alarm

The federal government says this flashing red light will go off at the Hay River Ski Club is a leak of sour gas is detected from gas well number 7 at the abandoned Frobisher Gas Wells. (AANDC)

Sour gas is any gas that contains hydrogen sulphide, which is both explosive and toxic, even at very low concentrations.

Aboriginal affairs and Northern Development says the well is showing signs of corrosion, but is not currently a threat to people or the environment.

Alison Heslep, who speaks for Aboriginal Affairs, says they are monitoring the well and a flashing red light would go off at the ski club if any leak was detected.

"We've put fencing and safety signage around the well itself. It's not easily accessible as it is, it's in a heavily wooded area but we've instructed people to stay away and to people using the ski trail to check the sensor before the head out. We are checking it ourselves but as a safety precaution, it's wise to do so.”

The well is from the Frobisher Gas Wells. It's comprised of seven orphaned exploration wells that were drilled between 1922 and 1947.

In 2005, three of the seven wells were found to be leaking low levels of sour gas.

Those were capped and cemented in 2011.

Aboriginal Affairs says it is currently working on plans to cap this well and hope it will be done by next winter.


  • The original version of this story incorrectly spelled Alison Heslep's name. It also incorrectly referred to a pipe, rather than a well.
    Mar 28, 2014 7:42 AM CT