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Well water investigation report falls short, say property owners  

Credit:  Ellwood Shreve | The Sarnia Observer | Apr 05, 2022 | www.theobserver.ca ~~

A long-awaited investigation into the impact of the construction and operation of the North Kent Wind farm on area water wells has fell short of what two members of the Water Wells First group were expecting.

Jessica Brooks, whose family has been hauling water to their home for the last five years, said she appreciates the 22-page All-Hazards Investigation of Well Water in Chatham report, released Monday, notes the situation with the wells has worsened since the turbines were built and construction could be a factor in this issue.

However, she added, “I was hoping for a little bit more clarity in terms of, ‘Can I drink the water or not?’”

Although the report notes there’s no widespread health risks, Brooks said the report doesn’t provide a definitive answer.

Concerns were first raised in the summer of 2016 about the potential for water wells to be impacted prior to 34 industrial wind turbines being constructed in the North Kent Wind area, located in a large section of Chatham Township. Residents pointed to the problems with water wells becoming clogged with sediments that occurred when wind turbines were built in the area.

Soon after construction began on the North Kent project, several people began reporting water wells becoming clogged with sediments, with the cause blamed on piles being driving into Kettle Point black shale aquifer to erect the turbines.

Kevin Jakubec, who was among the founders of the citizen group Water Wells First, questions why water wells in Dover Township were not part of the investigation.

Jakubec cites a promise to Water Wells First received from Doug Ford leading into the June 2018 election that a health-hazard investigation will be conducted regarding black shale particles that have clogged water wells in the Chatham and Dover township areas where wind turbines operate.
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An expert panel was established by the Ministry of Health to undertake the study.

Although the report cites nine wells were tested outside the North Kent Wind boundary, he said it doesn’t include the vast area in the East St. Clair Wind Farm where people experienced well problems long before than people in Chatham Township.

Brooks said even people in Dover Township thought they would be part of the study.

“I don’t know where the miscommunication was,” she said.

The report cited the lack of participation by well owners as having an impact on the investigation.

Jakubec was among the numerous property owners who didn’t participate.

Calling the scope of the investigation a “bait and switch,” he said, letters sent out by Englobe, the consultant hired to do the survey and testing, to well owners does not indicate “what parameters will be tested, why they were selected, what lab methodology they will use or give any indication whatever of the investigation’s design at all.”

He said many well owners didn’t participate because they felt left in the dark on the issue.

Brooks, who did participate in the investigation, points to how long the process has taken as to why many people didn’t want to be part of the investigation.

“I think at this point, a lot of people are skeptical and frustrated,” she said. “I think a lot of people are just tired and done with it.”

She added they have found a work-around to their water issues, such as installing cisterns, and are moving on.
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Brooks also noted the water testing was slated to start last winter just as the province was heading into another lockdown. She said people were concerned about having someone come into their home during the pandemic.

The report recommends the need for further study, which includes collecting more solids in the water.

“That’s been our concern the whole time,” Brooks said, citing a particulate study her family paid for in 2018. “That’s what we were looking for and that’s not what we got.”

As for next steps, Brooks said she doesn’t know where it goes from here and she also doesn’t know who to go to ask those questions.

When asked about the report citing the potential of well interference being caused by the construction and/or operation of the North Kent Wind turbines, Jakubec said there’s enough in the report to have the Ministry of the Environment state publicly it recognizes water well interference has occurred.

“Something happened here,” he said. “And what happened here was well interference from the construction and operation of the North Kent Wind farm.”

Source:  Ellwood Shreve | The Sarnia Observer | Apr 05, 2022 | www.theobserver.ca

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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