Residents near the North Kent Wind project found themselves without their temporary water source over the holidays because of bitter cold temperatures,
Several water wells in the project area –under construction by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy – were clogged with sediments shortly after pile-driving took place for constructing the turbines. But Jessica Brooks, who lives on Brook Line with husband Paul, is now dealing with a frozen exterior tank, installed last summer as an interim solution.
“New Year’s Eve, we had friends who were watching the house call us and say the water stopped running,” she said while her metal tank was being serviced on Tuesday.
Brooks said she was under the impression the tank wasn’t going to be needed for so long. She said there were problems with freezing at the outtake in the beginning of December.
“When I contacted both the Ministry of the Environment and Pattern Energy, nobody got back to me. We got it moving ourselves,” she said.
Brooks had a bucket of well water with sediment in it that the family uses to flush the toilet.
“It’s just been frustrating,” she said. “We’ve been saying this (freezing) was going to happen.”
Kevin Jakubec, spokesman for the grassroots organization Water Wells First, said he’s aware of five households that have been dealing with frozen tanks.
The problem could have been far worse if there was more snow, he said.
“Imagine if we had a foot of snow. If we have a blizzard, you are not going to get these trucks down these roads.”
In an e-mail, Pattern Energy stated it “received one report of a frozen tank this morning and the issue has been resolved.”
The company has maintained that the evidence doesn’t support the idea that pile-driving vibration has an impact on well water.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change stated that North Kent 1 proactively supplied an alternative water supply to any complainant that had requested one, including bottled water for consumption and a water tank for all other domestic use.
“The company is responsible for addressing any concerns with the water supplies that have been provided, including addressing any issues related to freezing or access during snow events,” the ministry said.
“The ministry is continuing its review of well water assessment reports submitted by the company related to complaints over impacts during wind turbine construction. The ministry anticipates communicating the results of the ministry’s review directly with the well owners over the next few weeks.”
Jakubec said residents are seeking concrete actions rather than temporary solutions to their water issues, and believes 2018 will be a telling year, especially given the upcoming provincial election.
“We’ll look to see what the other political parties can do,” he said. “I think water is going to be one of the top issues.
“Which party is actually going to step up to the plate and actually deliver some real protection? Not just making press statements that they’re doing something. But actually something deliverable.”
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