(WINDSOR, ON) – It could be wind energy’s promise of economical renewable green power has a bit of a dark side. In fact, the water flowing from the wells of residents living near Dresden, in Chatham-Kent, is just that, dark.
Samples of the water which is reportedly fit for human consumption was brought to Windsor last Thursday evening by members of Water Wells First. It was their opportunity to connect with the province’s premier, Kathleen Wynne, at an open Town Hall.
Wynne seemed at least somewhat concerned when WWF spokesperson Kevin Jakubec updated her on the current situation, one that is rather grim. He told her that only a few weeks earlier the Ministry of the Environment had released the results of well water testing and gave the all clear signal.
But, it is a signal his group is not saluting.
Jakubec told Wynne the work of the ministry was not detailed and suggested the ministry did not test for black shale, a known carrier of toxic materials including mercury and arsenic. The ministry only tested liquids from the wells and not the toxic-infused sediment, he argued.
According to Jakubec, the well water is contaminated by the shale sediment. It is there, he reasoned, because of pile driving being done to provide solid foundations for the massive wind mills being put up as part of Pattern Energy’s North Kent Wind 1.
WWF has taken the time to do its own testing.
Wynne encouraged Jakubec to bring the test results to the attention of the ministry. After Wynne’s suggestion, Jakubec told reporters he is not pleased with Wynne’s response and anticipates another round with little result.
The human cost of living with the discoloured water is considerable. Up to now, Paul and Jessica Brooks have been benefitting from tanks of water supplied by Pattern. But, with the latest ministry decision, the company wants to end the supply, leaving the Brooks with no access to potable water.
There is another factor.
The Brooks talk of their one acre property’s value plummeting. In fact, their mortgage is now an issue. A sale of the property is almost impossible. Properties with tarnished water are generally not saleable. Even if they could be sold, few if any mortgage companies would sign off on a mortgage.
Walking away from the property, would mean losing their equity, something they are not about to consider.
Wynne did see the water sample and did agree to assign the issue to a staff member. Jakubec and the Brooks will have to wait longer for action, but are prepared to continue their fight.
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