Some people using well water in Chatham-Kent are calling on the Provincial Conservative government to follow through on an election promise to investigate what’s causing sediment to enter their drinking water.
An advocacy group believes there are close to 80 families currently having to filter sediment from water wells on their property after it was dislodged into their drinking source during the construction of wind turbines.
“A lot of the community is quite disappointed, quite frustrated. We expected an election promise to look at polluted water would be a high priority,” said Kevin Jakubec, with the Water Wells First group.
Jakubec has called for a health hazard investigation, something that was promised by both Premier Doug Ford on the campaign trail and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton while he was in opposition.
Promise of more details met with silence
“We’ve been very clear since before the election that we would stand with those people who have been impacted in their water wells damage,” said McNaughton during a Sept. 18 interview with CBC News at the International Plowing Match in Chatham-Kent.
“We’ve begun the process, we reached out to the chief medical officer of health, we’re beginning to review that data and we’ll have more to say in the days ahead.”
The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks have not provided any additional details despite multiple attempts by CBC News.
Jakubec, who expected an announcement during the plowing match, said he’s angry about the way the provincial conservatives are going about this issue.
“McNaughton brought the baby bottle full of black shale well water into Queen’s Park, it was a sincere urgency,” said Jakubec, referencing a day last November when McNaughton called for a health hazard investigation into the water quality.
“It looks like rural Ontario is being left behind on this one,” he said.
What would a health hazard investigation look like?
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change did study well water complaints from 2017, stating that while there was a “change in raw water quality,” close observation of all available information on pile driving revealed the construction did not cause the change.
“Turbid water is certainly unappealing, but according to the Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health, in the absence of bacterial contamination there is no health hazard from undissolved particles in the water,” the report added.
Jakubec said that a health hazard investigation would look at the exposure rates of the water that people have been using since 2007 when the sediment first appeared in the water.
“We need to get on this sooner because the longer we delay it the less chance we’re going to be able to have some successful remediation to fix the problem,” said Jakubec.
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