Chemical removal nearly completed; Site of collapsed tank roof still under air monitoring

Efforts to remove toxic chemicals from a damaged storage tank at Imperial Oil are nearing completion, plant officials say.

Imperial Oil plant staff and external contractors continue to work around the clock to remove chemical product containing benzene from the tank. More than two-thirds of the 2.5 million litres of chemical product has been removed to date. After the floating roof on the tank collapsed on Friday, plant officials issued emergency measures in response to a benzene vapour release.

Residents in the area were asked to take shelter in their homes and close all windows and air intakes. Crews continue to douse the tank with firefighting foam to suppress any evaporation and odours. Air monitoring continues at the site and in the community and results are being shared with the Ministry of Environment and city officials.

Benzene is a component of gasoline and is known to cause cancer. “The product (in the tank) is a chemical feedstock component that contains benzene,” said Imperial Oil spokesperson Julie Ferguson.
There have been no injuries reported or product spilled as a result of this incident, she said. The roof has since been braced by support legs. Crews will continue the cleanup efforts throughout the weekend. There is no timetable for completion. The company is still investigating the cause of the roof collapse.

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