May 232017
Abandoned Industrial Turbine

It’s happened again. It happens all too often these days. We’ve given the okay to go inside some abandoned place and document it but with one one big stipulation. That is, we speak of it vaguely, making doubly sure we don’t give anything away in the photos or text that even hints where it might be located. We call it the “BIGDoer effect”.

Welcome, make yourself at home, photograph, but since the attention your write up brings could mean trouble, so unwanted visitors dropping by and looking to explore, make sure the article says nothing that could be used to help find it. Sad we have to take these measures…but that’s the state of things I guess.

Chemical Plant: jumbled remains of a dead industry, or the set of a scary post-apocalypse film. Researched, Written and Photographed by Chris Doering and Connie Biggart.(BIGDoer/Synd)

Anyway…back to the subject, the “Chemical Plant” in Central Alberta. Long closed down, come along for a brief little tour – we’re given mere minutes to take in what we can. Better than nothing. Get in, snap, snap, snap, and get out! And keep your mouths shut!

Scroll down for photos and to comment.

The plant dates from the 1950s. Various natural occurring elements were sucked up from a deep underground formation beneath the plant to be processed into two common chemicals used by industry. The resultant products were shipped out by rail.

The operation remained in production until the early 1980s. At that time, it was not scrapped, but rather mothballed, in case market conditions allowed it to reopen. That never happened. Fast forward a decade or so, the plant is essentially abandoned, the site deteriorating more and more with each passing year. Not long ago most of the buildings were finally demolished.

Of the pieces left behind most are simply concrete pads showing where buildings once stood – nothing much really – but oddly, some remains from the power plant are still in place. Once housed in a large structure, the workings are now open to the elements, a large industrial turbine sitting atop a framework, all manner of pipes and valves underneath. These would be for oiling and/or cooling the unit, or at least we suspect.

This device was essentially a “jet engine” that drove a generator. See the one photo with our pal and photographer Rob Pohl for scale – it’s big. It’s appears to be a “Ruston” turbine, we understand original to the plant, and so would be one of the first examples built by that UK based firm, who only started making them a couple years prior. What a din it would have made. Deep in the bowels underneath the machine was a highly dangerous place – even by our standards – so we quickly retreated.

In more recent memory, a test plant operated on the property. Its purpose was to investigate the possibility of using that same underground formation of which the chemical elements were pulled from earlier, as huge storage reservoirs for among other things, waste oils or natural gas. Outside some trial runs nothing much came of the idea. Not sure if tests proved it unworkable or if costs were seen as too high. Maybe environmental issues. Who knows?

Still, they pumped a fair bit of money into the scheme and all the machinery related to that was simply left behind when they pulled out.

There’s a number of trailers full of all manner of complex plant equipment that even if explained to us its purpose, we’d still be left scratching out heads. There’s a series of numbered tanks with a maze of pipes tying them all together. Looks expensive! Various offices and control stations appears as though they just up and left one day, with intentions to return. But they never did. Calendars and various ledger and record books found told us, almost to the day, when the place was last active. It wasn’t all that long ago.

This section in particular has a real post-apocalyptic vibe, each of us in a joking manner looking over our shoulders for the “walking dead” to appear. Picture it, former workers, coveralls, the attire of choice for those who are rotting and decayed, hard hats on for safety, test gear in hand. In your best low zombie growl…ahhhhh…check…man…i…fold…ahhhhh…press…ure.

Alas, none were spotted. That noise was only some loose siding flapping in the breeze. Still, every now and then the place seemed a bit spooky. Like someone was watching.

And with that, we have to leave. It’s a brief visit, a whirlwind tour of a huge plant. Lots was left to be photographed – too bad – but doubt we’ll ever be able to return to capture the rest. Getting in was no easy task. A second time seems unlikely.

Be sure to comment on this post (below pictures).

Word is the place might be reused soon, perhaps those storage reservoir tests being restarted. Or the whole thing might get completely bulldozed. No one’s sure the future – so many variables…an unstable economy among them, making it hard to predict. Glad we got a chance to photograph it, even if it was only a taste.

Since the theme’s industrial…
The Mill.
Industrial Park Living.
Turner Valley gave us gas.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: November, 2016.
Location: Central Alberta.
Article references: Gotta keep them confidential.
The site is on private property. visited with permission.

Industrial Turbine

Inside an abandoned Chemical Plant.

Abandoned Chemical Plant

The site dates back over sixty years.

Abandoned Industrial Turbine

A massive industrial turbine – photographer Rob Pohl for scale.

Abandoned Chemical Plant

Heading into the bowels, a highly dangerous place.

Alberta Abandoned Chemical Plant

A mess of pipes and valves.

Industrial Turbine Abandoned

This was a “jet engine” that provided power to the facility.

Old Chemical Plant

A test plant that operated on the site in more recent times.

Chemical Plant Gauges

Stuff simply left behind…

Chemical Plant Office

They just up an left one day.

Abandoned Chemical Plant Office

The obligatory “abandoned chair” shot.

Chemical Plant Alberta

With each turn, we see more like this.

Alberta Abandoned Chemical Plant

The R&R room inside the main office.

Closed Chemical Plant Alberta

A scene from the Walking Dead…

Chemical Plant Alberta Closed

…or maybe some other post-apocalypse production?


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10 Comments on "Chemical Plant"

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Steve Boyko

Ruston is a name that stirs up memories for me. They were involved with supplying a gas turbine for Grand Manan in New Brunswick as I recall.

I’m scared to think of what kind of chemical contamination is in that facility. I’m glad you didn’t linger!

Simon Steffen
Simon Steffen

Did you get a chance to check what the calendar on the wall flipped to? I love exploring abandoned spaces, and finding that last month and year a calendar is stuck on… the last time anyone was in there and cared about what date it actually was.

Michael B Coville
Michael B Coville

That’s cool!

Candy Belliveau
Candy Belliveau

Love your posts, I always learn a little more with each article.

Albert Hummel
Albert Hummel

(via Facebook)
This looks like the turbine Eurocan bought for their Co-gen.