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Council of Canadians supports Water Wells First campaign to protect local drinking water

Dover resident Mark St Pierre with a sample of what a filter removed from his well water in just two days. Photo by Mark Calzavara.

The Council of Canadians is supporting Water Wells First, a local group concerned about the impact of industrial wind turbines on the local aquifer and water wells in Dover and Chatham townships in southern Ontario.

South Korea-based Samsung Group and U.S.-based Pattern Energy Group want to build 34 wind turbines through their North Kent 1 project (in Dover and Chatham townships), despite concerns that have already been raised about the impact of their North Kent 2 project wind turbines on local water (in Dover Township).

Earlier this month, Toronto-based Council of Canadians regional organizer Mark Calzavara visited the communities.

Calzavara wrote in this blog, “Nobody I met was against wind power – in fact most welcomed the projects and never suspected that their sudden well water problems were caused by turbines a few kilometers away. …[But] despite clear indications that anchoring wind turbines into the Kettle Point Black Shale threatens to render undrinkable the well water of hundreds of people, Samsung refuses to change their construction methods and refuses to offer guarantees to area residents that they will install municipal water lines to any homes whose well water is ruined.”

Chatham Daily News now reports, “Water Wells First has been sounding the alarm about the what it believes has been the impact of vibrations from the construction and operation of industrial wind turbines in Dover Township, citing the fact black particles have been appearing in water wells near wind turbines. It also fears the same impact will be seen when the North Kent 1 Wind project is built in Chatham Township.”

That article adds, “Water Wells First wants answers about what the vibrations from the turbines are doing to the Kettle Point black shale that makes up the bedrock on which the aquifer is located, because this particular black shale is known to contain heavy metals such as arsenic, uranium and mercury that pose a risk to human health.”

Water Wells First has now secured a meeting (date to be confirmed) with senior technical staff with the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. The group will ask the ministry to test for black shale particles in the water and if they have determined if there is an acceptable level of contamination. The group is holding a public meeting tonight to prepare for that meeting with officials.

Calzavara has commented that local residents have been following the official process, but despite those efforts their drinking water is still under threat. He notes, “Once again, people in Ontario have come to the realization that their governments will not protect the water – it is up to us.” Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec says The Council of Canadians “gave us backing and support and trained us in non-violent civil disobedience … we’re prepared to go that far [to protect our drinking water].”

This is an urgent issue in that the transnational corporations could begin work on the North Kent 1 site any day now.

To learn more, please check out Water Wells First on Facebook by clicking here.