The hydrogen sulphide emanating from a natural gas vent in Silver Hill occasionally peaks at levels well beyond what is dangerous to human health.No amount of hydrogen sulphide gas is considered safe. However, industrial safety experts consider 100 parts per million or higher as immediately dangerous to human health.Gas monitoring devices posted in a county wetland at 1925 Forestry Farm Road occasionally register levels in the range of 180 parts per million. Nearby residents are worried.“That’s really high,” Brian Craig of Langton told Norfolk council Tuesday. “We’re really concerned about this.”The Ministry of Natural Resources has told Norfolk County it may qualify for $500,000 in funding to research solutions and a long-term strategy for dealing with problem wells.A total of 2,600 gas wells have been registered in Norfolk over the decades. Some are abandoned and have no traceable ownership. Toxic gas emissions are considered a serious public health issue.Norfolk County issued emergency evacuation orders in Silver Hill in 2017 after dangerous levels of hydrogen sulphide gas were detected in the area of North Walsingham Road 10. With so many orphaned wells in the county, the Haldimand-Norfolk health unit is preparing for the likelihood that toxic gas emissions will be a chronic problem.Mayor Kristal Chopp welcomes the $500,000 in funding if Norfolk qualifies for it.However – with regard to the situation on Forestry Farm Road – Chopp said the time for collecting data is over. Chopp wants to see expert advice on an approach that might bring the situation to a conclusion.Motorists on Forestry Farm Road will notice a strong smell of rotten eggs in the area of McDowell Road. Norfolk has posted skull-and-cross bones signage in the area warning that the odour is a potential threat.The source of the gas is in the middle of swamp in a low-lying area next to the road. Capping the vent like the two wells on North Walsingham Road 10 were capped two years ago is complicated because no one knows the geography beneath the surface or how to calculate an engineered solution.Craig and his neighbours want the health unit to fit their properties with hydrogen sulphide detectors so they can determine, at a glance, the levels of gas encroaching on their properties. Marlene Miranda, Haldimand and Norfolk’s general manager of health and social services, said these meters cost about $8,000 each.Hydrogen sulphide gas is corrosive, toxic and flammable. It is a common byproduct of natural gas production.“Prolonged exposure for several hours or days with concentrations as low as 50 (to) 100 parts per million can cause a runny nose, cough, hoarseness and shortness of breath,” Miranda said in a report to council.“Prolonged exposure to higher concentrations can produce bronchitis, pneumonia and a potentially fatal build-up of fluid in the lungs (known as) pulmonary edema.”[email protected]

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