NEWS
11/22/2016 17:41 EST | Updated 11/23/2017 00:12 EST

Refinery report shows most risks to public 'acceptable' within guidelines

A previously unavailable hazardous risk assessment of Regina's Co-op Refinery Complex indicates most risks to the public fall within acceptable industry criteria.

The study concluded that although the effects from fire, explosion and toxic gas release can leave the refinery site, "the probability to do so is low enough for these large events that the risk is acceptable according to accepted guidelines."

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"This validates that the public is at low risk from the Co-op Refinery," said Brad DeLorey, the refinery's director of communications.

"As a business, the key concern for us must be public safety."

Still, the study did identify some safety issues. It says pipelines carrying crude oil that run through a residential area fall outside of allowable land-use guidelines. This area includes some higher density housing and a high school.

DeLorey says the pipelines are regularly inspected, on the ground and from the air.

Much of report unavailable

The Major Hazards Risk Assessment Report was done in 2012. It was required for municipal and provincial approval of a planned expansion of the refinery.

CBC filed an access to information request to see the report, which the City of Regina and provincial government denied.

But after a review by the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, they agreed to release much of the document.

Then, the refinery went to court to prevent that from happening.

Now after a Queen's Bench judge's ruling, a fraction of the report has been publicly released.

Although most of report remains under wraps, DeLorey said the public can be reassured the plant's risks are low.

Resident unconcerned

John Deschamps, who can see the refinery from his northwest Regina home, said he's not concerned for his wife and three children.

"I honestly trust pipelines as the best way to transport gas and oil," said Deschamps, who works at Evraz, a steel and pipe plant. "The risk with using trains seems to be much greater than they would with pipes."

After three years living near the refinery, Deschamps said he and his family have few complaints.

"Honestly, you really don't notice it too, too much," he said. "You hear the trains every once in awhile and when it rains you get a little of the smell. Other than that, you really don't notice it."