Nobody was injured during the ammonia gas leak at Canature Processing on Oct. 24. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Head of company behind Langley ammonia leak says incident has ‘silver lining’

Canature CEO John Milne discusses how the ammonia leak on Oct. 24 affected his business.

Langley’s Gloucester industrial park is in the clear once more, following an ammonia leak on Wednesday, Oct. 24 that resulted in a two-day evacuation of local businesses and multiple road closures.

The leak was caused by a problem with a refrigeration unit at Canature Processing, a freeze-dried pet food company in the 5200 block of 272nd Street.

READ MORE: Update: All roads reopened in Gloucester area

Fortunately, the ammonia leak didn’t cause any injuries, but Township Fire Chief Russ Jenkins said the potential threat was real.

“Ammonia is a very hazardous product and it can be hazardous to your health. Anytime when it’s contained in an area where it can’t vent naturally, there’s going to be high concentrations, which will be hazardous to anyone entering.

Fernie B.C. had a fatal ammonia leak at its arena last year, which WorkSafeBC determined was caused by equipment failure and a mishandling of incident response measures.

In Langley, the fire department, along with other specialists, worked to off-gas the ammonia that was being held inside a vacuum chamber.

“Once ammonia hits the open air, it does break up, it does dissipate and the solution or vapour reaches a manageable level, as far as parts-per-million concentration. Ammonia can be released (safely) into the atmosphere in certain amounts and that’s exactly what we were doing,” said Jenkins.

At around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jenkins said they were able to transfer the last of the ammonia gas, with the help of Nucor Environmental Solutions and Black & McDonald Facility Management Services, to render the scene safe once more.

John Milne, CEO of Canature Processing, said none of their products were damaged or contaminated and no staff were harmed.

“We have very, very tight controls on standard operating procedures. The gas alarm detects parts per million, an alarm went off, the building evacuated and emergency personnel were called in to take control of the business.

“There was no danger to staff.”

Approximately 40 staff were on-site at Canature when the alarm sounded.

On Oct. 25, Canature staff had a meeting to discuss the incident, and to move forward with product safety training.

“We’ve been working with our contractor that built the system to get us to where we are today, so we have an all-clear system. We’re back to going through the step-by-step procedure for us internally to re-certify the system so all alarms and gas-detection systems are calibrated.”

Milne said something good has come out of the situation.

“From my perspective, there’s a silver lining in all of this. For ourselves, as a continuous improvement (and) learning experience, it’s a test of our protocols and standard operating procedures.”

All businesses that were affected by the leak were able to re-open Friday morning.

Just Posted

Chef Lesnes is leaving the Garibaldi kitchen

He is retiring after 30 years.

Untrending: Welcome to the age of domotics

‘Smart home systems might even ensure a cleaned cat litter box.’

Work to start on Albion Community Centre next week

Politicians hold sod turning event on Saturday

Maple Ridge celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Ceremonies, music and dancing in Memorial Peace Park on Saturday

Burrards pull off blockbuster trade

Add elite NLL talent on offence and in goal

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Most Read