A Wallaceburg citizens’ group wants water well problems associated with a nearby wind farm to be resolved before a wind project is approved for their area that will have turbines taller than the Great Pyramid in Giza.
Earl Towell, a member of the newly-formed Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns, said watching what has happened with 14 water wells that have clogged with sediments in the North Kent Wind project area, “it feels like slow-moving freight train bearing down on you.”
His wife, group spokesperson Violet Towell, said they’ve sent two letters to Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, demanding the situation be resolved in the North Kent Wind project area before the Otter Creek project is allowed to be built.
She said they are concerned about being on the “precipice” of the same water well problems being seen near the North Kent Wind project.
The citizens’ group, Water Wells First, points to the Kettle Point black shale bedrock, and the impact of vibrations caused by driving piles into it to erect turbines for the North Kent Wind project, as being the source of the sediments that have clogged water wells. The group also cites concerns that heavy metals are found in this type of shale.
“We know that we share the same geology with them and all of those things are very much a concern to us,” Violet Towell said.
Earl Towell noted: “Not only is it the sediments in the water, but the potential for heavy metals within that sediments is obviously a concern.
“We do know that there a heavy metals in Kettle Point shale and what part of those metals are coming into drinking glasses, we don’t know yet,” he added.
Violet Towell said the group doesn’t put much stock into a consultant’s model for the Otter Creek project that indicates a similar situation isn’t possible for this project.
“One of our advisors is a geoscientist,” she said. “He says when you have facts and experience that contradict the predictions in your model, it’s likely the model is wrong, not the facts.”
Earl Towell said another major concern is the unknown noise impact from the size of the Enercon E-141 model wind turbines planned, which are 30 per cent higher than other turbines erected across Chatham-Kent.
“These things are monsters, 650 feet high, they’re huge,” he said, adding a worry is how much noise they will create.
According to a project description report for Otter Creek, dated May 2017, the hub height of the 12 turbines planned for the project will be 129 metres – 423 feet – and the blade length will add another 66.7 metres in height – nearly 219 feet – from the top of the hub.
By comparison, the Great Pyramid in Giza was originally 480.6 feet high when built, but has been reduced to 455 feet because of erosion.
Towell noted information from the developer was supposed to be provided on how much noise will be generated and they didn’t have that data, so they sent in a “best guess.
“Once they’re in, they’re in, so people will have to live with the noise,” he added.
Violet Towell said they have not been able to find any information about turbines of this size being part of any operating wind farm, only as prototypes.
Acknowledging the letters from WAWC have only recently been sent to the MOECC minister, she noted, “the ministry has been very slow to respond to anything, so I’m not anticipating a quick response.”