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Water well activists continue push for health hazard investigation  

Credit:  Trevor Terfloth | The Chatham Daily News | September 26, 2018 | www.chathamdailynews.ca ~~

With the North Kent Wind project already operational, water well activists are continuing their push for a health hazard investigation.

About 20 residents were in attendance for an open house on Tuesday at Country View Golf Course.

Like similar events held in the past, project officials maintained the construction and operation of the 34-turbine wind farm has had no impact on wells, with those in the crowd disputing that.

The wind project developers include Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy. Earlier this year, the wind farm became operational.

Water Wells First began raising concerns two years ago about the potential impact the construction of the North Kent Wind farm would have on water wells due to Kettle Point black shale geology and the shallow aquifer in the area.

Since then, more than 20 water wells have reported sediments that have clogged up the flow of water during construction and after operation of the wind farm began.

“There’s a pending health hazard investigation. One of the things that we’re going to look at is getting your root cause,” said Kevin Jakubec, Water Wells First spokesperson.

The group said black shale is known to contain metals such as uranium, arsenic and lead that are harmful to human health.

Project officials stated there have been no new water well complaints, although some in the crowd Tuesday suggested that other residents might not feel comfortable reporting any issues.

Jakubec pressed Mohinder Pannu, project manager for Samsung, on whether or not the company would support an investigation.

Pannu urged people to put their concerns in writing so that project officials could formally respond, with Jakubec saying he would write the company.

During the provincial election campaign, the Progressive Conservatives promised a health hazard investigation concerning the water wells.

A letter dated May 5, signed by Doug Ford, who ultimately became premier, also offered the party’s commitment.

In a recent interview, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP and Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton said the government will “absolutely” honour the election pledge.

In Tuesday’s presentation, project officials stated they will continue to accept and respond to complaints during the operations phase.

Vibration monitoring equipment has also been installed at four turbine sites, with data to be examined over the next three years to evaluate the vibrations in comparison to turbine operations, weather conditions and water well complaints.

“We monitor (turbines) continuously and fix as required,” Pannu said. “Our operations staff looks around and lets us know what’s the problem, or we get information from concerned landowners or other public members.”

Source:  Trevor Terfloth | The Chatham Daily News | September 26, 2018 | www.chathamdailynews.ca

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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