Essex MPP Taras Natyshak is calling a report that states pile driving would negatively impact water wells in the north Chatham-Kent area a “smoking gun.”
Natyshak, who was ejected from Queen’s Park on March 8 for bringing a sample of sediment-filled black water into the Ontario legislature, raised the issue of water well problems on several properties in the North Kent Wind 1 wind farm project area again on Wednesday.
During Question Period, he cited a public report from EBS Geostructural, the contractor Hydro One hired to install hydro towers to connect the North Kent Wind project to the power grid.
“In a shocking discovery,” Natyshak said EBS Geostructural ruled out the use of traditional deep foundations, such as caissons and driven piles as not feasible because of “the potential for driven pile to cause issues with nearby active water wells.
“That’s a smoking gun,” the New Democrat MPP said, adding even Hydro One knew that pile driving would contaminate nearby wells.
Natyshak said he has also provided the Liberal government with the documentation.
The grassroots citizen group Water Wells First began sounding the alarm nearly two years ago, before construction on the wind farm began, that the vibration caused fro pile driving spiles into the Kettle Point black shale bedrock would have a negative impact on water wells in the area. The group’s primary concern is the heavy metals in the black shale bedrock, such as uranium, arsenic and lead – known to be harmful to human health – would impact water wells.
Natyshak pointed out the well water on about 20 farms within the project area turned black and undrinkable after Samsung, an developer of the project with Patter Energy, began pile driving.
“Clearly there was a potential issue with pile driving in this region of Ontario,” the MPP said. “Hydro One wouldn’t do it and when Samsung did, local wells turned black.”
He said local residents, hydrogeologists, academics, engineers, construction companies and even Hydro One seemed to have been aware of the risks of pile driving to the local well water.
“So why did Kathleen Wynne ignore these warnings?” Natyshak said. “Why is she still ignoring these risks, even when the evidence of black well water contamination is placed right before her eyes?”
Chris Ballard, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, responded during Question Period that after thorough testing “the ministry has found no evidence of any ongoing or permanent impact to water quality related to wind turbine construction in the area.”
He also reiterated that the ministry takes concerns about water quality very seriously and that “we’re holding the company accountable to address these complaints.”
Ballard noted a productive meeting was held a few weeks ago with Water Wells First representatives.
“At that meeting, we shared our results about our extensive testing,” the minister said.
“We’re waiting to hear still from Water Wells First for the data that they say they have,” he added. “I would be really appreciative if we could get our hands on it so we could look at their data.”
Natyshak once again called on the Ontario government to complete a health hazard investigation at contaminated wells on local farms surrounding wind farm site.
[rest of article available at source]
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