September 28, 2017
Ontario, Opinions

Twisting in the wind

Mary Beth Corcoran | Chatham Voice | Sep 27 |

For the people concerned about sediment and turbidity contamination of their wells in the area of wind farm projects, time seems to be running out.

Pattern Energy and Samsung officials sat down with the media last week before a public meeting scheduled that night to explain the science behind their conviction that turbine construction and operation have little to no impact on water wells several hundred feet away.

Their expert, Dr. Storer Boone, was on hand to explain his findings in the Golder Report, which he authored for the environmental tribunal hearing convened to hear the concerns of the Water Wells First group several months ago.

Boone explained his science, the vibration testing done before the project began, and the extra measures the wind farm company took, such as baseline water well testing that WWF was able to have added to the approval permit. Pattern officials Beth O’Brien and Jody Law said unequivocally that their project is not causing well contamination or turbid well conditions experienced by 12 well owners in the North Kent Wind project area.

They also will not consider suspending the project until the Ministry of Environment finishes its assessment of the data North Kent Wind has provided, which they say proves they are not responsible.

WWF has their own experts and 12 well owners who beg to differ that pile-driving IS causing the well problems. For them, however, all their efforts to date, while making more people aware, may be a case of too little, too late.

NKW will continue with construction, hoping to start putting the turbines themselves together by November to meet government deadlines for the project. By the time the MOE finishes its assessment, which they have given no timeline for, the turbines will be up.

The only thing well owners with issues can hope for is that if the company can be shown responsible, they will have to take remediation measures to fix the wells, up to and including hooking people up to municipal water as per the permit agreement.

Meeting with Pattern officials, there seems to be no doubt in their mind they are not responsible, but can how can all the issues from East St. Clair to Dover to North Kent be one giant coincidence? If you were a betting person, those odds would be ridiculous.

Someone needs to figure out what is happening in North Kent and be responsible for spearheading an investigation, or we in Chatham-Kent are going to have a huge chunk of land with tainted water, and the wind farm companies will be long gone.

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