If the evidence shows the turbines that will make up North Kent 1 will pose a risk to the aquifer and the MOECC doesn't want to take action, Jakubec said the next step will be taking efforts to stop the project. He noted Water Wells First has been working closely with the Council of Canadians, a national water advocate group, which has stepped in and “gave us backing and support and trained us in non-violent civil disobedience . . . we're prepared to go that far.”
A grassroots group has finally received an opportunity it hopes will provide answers to concerns it has been raising for months about the potential impact of industrial wind turbines on water wells.
Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for Water Wells First, said senior technical staff with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has invited the group to meet at its Windsor office to discuss concerns and pose questions. He added the date and time is still being worked out to accommodate group members.
Water Wells First has been sounding the alarm about the what it believes has been the impact of vibrations from the construction and operation of industrial wind turbines in Dover Township, citing the fact black particles have been appearing in water wells near wind turbines. It also fears the same impact will be seen when the North Kent 1 Wind project is built in Chatham Township, which is owned by Samsung Energy and Pattern Energy.
Water Wells First wants answers about what the vibrations from the turbines are doing to the Kettle Point black shale that makes up the bedrock on which the aquifer is located, because this particular black shale is known to contain heavy metals such as arsenic, uranium and mercury that pose a risk to human health.
An important question Jakubec said the group wants to ask the MOECC is: “Will you test and confirm the presence of (Kettle Point) black shale particles in the water?”
He added Water Wells First wants this question answered for the entire North Kent area of the municipality.
Judging from the tests on water wells in Dover done by experts Water Wells First is working with, they say these black shale particles do exist.
Based on those findings, Jakubec said they want the MOE to state if it has determined what the safe acceptable size limit of Kettle Point black shale particles in well water is for human use.
“It’s the solids we’ve go to focus on,” he said.
Jakubec said he has sent these and other questions to the MOECC ahead of their meeting.
In the meantime, Water Wells First is calling on Mayor Randy Hope to withhold or delay issuing building permits for constructing the foundations of the turbines for the North Kent 1 wind farm until these and other questions about well water safety are answered by the MOECC. Jakubec said since Chatham-Kent is spending nearly $8 million for an equity share in the project, it should be able to have some influence.
When contacted by The Daily News, Chatham-Kent CEO Don Shrosphire said: “It simply is not within the power of the municipality to step in and halt North Kent 1.
“The responsibility and authority for this project lies directly with the province as mandated by the Green Energy Act,” he added.
Water Wells First is holding a public meeting Tuesday night at Country View Golf Course, beginning at 7 p.m., where they will discuss plans to work with an independent materials testing laboratory in order to be armed with more evidence when meeting with the MOECC.
While acknowledging this will be another cost, Jakubec said Water Wells First and its panel of experts are recommending testing be done to determine the size range of black shale particles in well water as well as an elemental analysis that determines the presence of dangerous heavy metals.
If the evidence shows the turbines that will make up North Kent 1 will pose a risk to the aquifer and the MOECC doesn’t want to take action, Jakubec said the next step will be taking efforts to stop the project.
He noted Water Wells First has been working closely with the Council of Canadians, a national water advocate group, which has stepped in and “gave us backing and support and trained us in non-violent civil disobedience . . . we’re prepared to go that far.”
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