At first, Wayne Phillips had no idea why his water well went bad.
Phillips had moved down to Wallaceburg to get away from the Greater Toronto Area. He moved to the area in the spring of 2017, bought a house just south of town and settled in. Things were going good. Phillips likes Wallaceburg, noting he has great neighbours and he likes the town
He noticed a difference in his water during the Civic holiday long weekend in August.
“All of a sudden I had this black water coming in my toilet, …it was completely different,” Phillips said. He had no idea what was happening. As a newcomer to the area, Phillips said he wasn’t aware that water well owners in the former Dover Township area south of Wallaceburg area have complained about problems with the water wells. Most water well owners who have had issues in Dover point to the wind turbines as the source of their problems, saying the pile driving and vibrations from the turbines have caused sediment to end up in their water wells.
Located just south of Base Line Road, Phillips can see the wind turbines, which have been erected for the past four years, out his window.
Phillips thought that his water well was just acting up.
“I was just going through the process of elimination, just seeing what is coming up through the well,” Phillips said.
“It went from clear to a problem. It was black water I couldn’t use it.”
He flushed his water out for a couple weeks, yet that didn’t solve the problem. Eventually the dirty water caused his washing machine to break down.
Not knowing where to turn, Phillips contacted the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. “I didn’t know what to do,” Phillips said.
He asked the MOECC for an inspector to come out and look into it. Phillips said he was told he was 2.3 kilometres from the wind turbines, so the wind turbines were not the cause of his water woes.
The MOECC told Phillips to contact Chatham-Kent’s Public Health Unit. Phillips said the Public Health Unit told him that the possible black shale in his water was not a health concern.
“To me it just didn’t add up to even my grade-school logic here,” Phillips said.
The public health unit told Phillips to send in a water sample, however they told him that they would only test for E coli.
Dealing with this issue for the past few months has been emotionally draining and stressful, Phillips said.
“My concern is with the denial that happened right from the beginning,” Phillips said.
“I’m shocked that there is no over-site and nobody is taking the lead on that as representative as the government.”
Phillips said he’s concerned about the Otter Creek wind turbine project that’s proposed for north of Wallaceburg and the issues that the project will create for local homeowners.
Citizen group Water Wells First has concerns about the Otter Creek project, because they say it’s being built on the same aquifer over the Kettle Point black shale formation, and they’re predicting similar damage will happen to water wells in the Wallaceburg area once the wind turbines are erected.
“At the end of everything there is the obvious, and it’s not being addressed by public officials,” Phillips said, noting that something is obviously wrong and it will be too late to fix it at a later date.
“Our kids are going to ask, why did you let this happen,” Phillips said.
“The evidence is out there. You do your research and they just shouldn’t have been put here. The land does not lend itself to these turbines.”
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