1 year after house exploded, concerns remain at Regina Beach
Some soil movement still being observed, SaskEnergy says
A house explosion at Regina Beach, Sask., one year ago today rocked that community — destroying one home and wrecking several others.
Although no one was killed or seriously injured, the blast on Dec. 3, 2014, raised questions about the use of natural gas in an area where the soil shifts.
SaskEnergy has spent millions of dollars upgrading its delivery system since the explosion, installing flexible additions to the gas lines servicing the town, which is about 50 kilometres northwest of Regina.
"Most of the town is stable, but there are zones that we're seeing — still — gradual movement," Dave Burdeniuk, SaskEnergy's spokesperson, said. "The moisture is very deep."
Some people in the community have switched to alternate sources for their heating systems, such as propane tanks or electric heaters.
SaskEnergy also discontinued service permanently for 24 customers. They have switched to propane or electric energy sources.
Another seven customers of the provincial Crown corporation have been notified they will have to switch as well.
"There are four areas within Regina Beach where we've had to remove service," Burdeniuk explained. "We are providing financial assistance to these customers to allow them to transition to another fuel source."
Burdeniuk said the corporation has started using satellite technology to measure ground movement, in addition to its existing methods of monitoring shifts.
Using the latest technology helps, but the Crown corporation said it needs help from homeowners, too.
"More than 'Just be aware of the natural gas odour,'" Burdeniuk said. "Let us know what's going on around your property. If suddenly you see a big crack in your sidewalk or driveway or something in your foundation, give us a call. We'll send someone to come check it out, because you know your house and property best."
Meanwhile, SaskEnergy, the town and some property owners are being sued in connection with the explosion.
Lecia Zurowski sells homes in Regina Beach and said the community has rallied since the explosion.
"For the few people that were affected directly by the incident out here last December I think there was a pouring out of support and care from the community and I think that's been a really positive thing for everyone who lives out here," Zurowski said.
She added people not from Regina Beach may think the issue with the soil affects all homes in the community, something which she said is not not the case.