A citizens’ group concerned about the potential impact of wind turbine vibrations on their well water says using bottled water is not a solution.
Water Wells First held a demonstration at a Chatham Township farm on Friday to show how difficult it would be logistically for farmers and their livestock to use bottled water.
The proposed North Kent 1 Wind Project, which calls for 40 to 50 wind turbines to be constructed in the area, has some residents worried that the vibrations from the turbines could result in dirty water in their wells.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s renewable energy approval states that the company “immediately provide an adequate amount of bottled water to the impacted party until such time that the issue has been resolved.”
About a dozen residents were in attendance for Friday’s event, with people acting out various scenarios using bottled water.
Some of these included trucks lining up for cases, pouring bottled water into a trough for horses and creating a makeshift shower with bottles hanging from a tree.
Scott Brooksbank, who owns the Countryview Line farm, said an average horse can consume two to five cases of water per day.
“How are we supposed to water livestock?” he asked.
Last month, Water Wells First held an initial media conference to help raise awareness about the issue.
Kevin Jakubec, group spokesperson, said the group isn’t opposed to wind energy, but believes it isn’t being listened to on the issue.
“We raised these concerns through the ministry’s protocol,” he said, noting that farmers haven’t been given a reason to trust the government.
Craig Stainton, executive director for the Ontario Ground Water Association, said between 50 and 75 gallons of water are required daily for all uses.
He said the province appears to be more focused on municipal water systems than on wells.
“When water comes out of the tap the colour of chocolate milk, but with grit in it, it’s pretty hard to take a shower, pretty hard to do your laundry,” Stainton said.
In an e-mail to The Daily News, the ministry stated it received feedback during the comment period for the North Kent 1 Wind Project.
“To address these concerns we included a series of conditions on the proponent in the Renewable Energy Approval (REA). Under the conditions, the proponent is required to implement a groundwater monitoring program and is not to commence any pile-driving or blasting activities until a vibration ground-borne monitoring program is developed and approved by the ministry,” it stated.
“Furthermore, the proponent is required to implement the vibration monitoring program during any pile-driving and blasting activities and during the operation of the facility.
The statement added that the proponent is also required to notify the ministry of complaints received regarding well water and follow any directions provided by the ministry to investigate and resolve complaints.
“In the unlikely event that wells and well water are impacted by the project, the local health unit may recommend that an alternative drinking water supply be used,” the ministry stated. “There are no province-wide requirements to provide bottled water for these situations.”
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