February 14, 2005

Sask Watershed Authority commissions groundwater review prior to gas storage project

SASKATOON, SASK-The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA) has contracted Harm Maathuis, an expert in groundwater with the Saskatchewan Research Council, to review data on groundwater levels and water quality near Vanscoy before a final decision is made on the continuation of a major project to develop underground storage caverns for natural gas near Saskatoon. Following his independent review, Maathuis will prepare a report on the viability of a TransGas project which uses groundwater to dissolve underground salt deposits to develop caverns. These caverns would then be used to store natural gas to meet the anticipated energy needs of the Saskatoon region. Some residents of the Grandora and Vanscoy area had expressed concern that the high rate of water use by TransGas was having an adverse effect on water levels and water quality in local wells. At the request of the SWA, TransGas advanced the date of a planned three month shutdown to assist in the impact assessment. No further groundwater has been pumped since December 13, 2004. TransGas and the SWA have been gathering data from a series of observation wells in the area. More Information is available from Nolan Shaheen at the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, 306/694-3963, E-mail nolan.shaheen@swa.ca.

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