Monday, March 23, 2009

Irving Oil apologizes for odour to neighbours of Saint John refinery

Irving Oil Ltd. is dispatching thousands of letters to people living near its Saint John refinery explaining why they might smell an unusual odour and what the company is doing to correct it.

Jennifer Parker, a company spokeswoman, said there was a problem with one of the oil storage tanks and oil got onto the rooftop.

"We did have a situation on Wednesday where some of that product ended up on top of the floating roofs, and as a result, there has been an odour present around the refinery," Parker said.

"And due to wind direction, some of that odour was present in the Champlain Heights area over the last few days."

Parker said the tank will be drained by Monday so that repairs can be done, if necessary. Until then, the company is applying foam on top of the oil to minimize the smell.

The company official said it was necessary to inform area residents as quickly as possible about the odour to allay any potential fears.

"Whenever we have an issue like this that we know may cause them any concern or inconvenience," she said, "we do send a letter to several thousand neighbours in the Champlain Heights area or neighbourhoods around the refinery.

"We did take that step [Thursday] morning and let neighbours know what was happening and what we were doing about it in the short term and obviously apologizing for any concern or any inconvenience that it might have been causing them."

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