PHOTO: A pile-driver used to set the foundations of wind turbines into the bedrock
“A Chatham couple whose family has been without clean well water since wind turbine construction began more than six months ago is coming forward with test results that show just how contaminated their well is.
RTI Lab testing reveals a 14,000-times increase in Kettle Point Black Shale particles, with the majority of the micro particles under one micron in size. The baseline sample from RTI shows particles of the shale go from 47 particles per millilitre of water to 681,939 counts/mL.”
Paul and Jessica Brooks had water samples taken by a hydrogeologist before Samsung began pile-driving nearby for their 32 turbine North Kent One wind power project. They are one of fourteen families that have filed well interference complaints with the Ontario government from Samsung’s construction activities. The lab results from water samples taken after construction began prove there has been a stunning decrease in water quality compared to the baseline samples taken six months ago.
The Chatham Daily News report continues:
“When their well went down because the pump was clogged with black sediment, testing by AECOM, the company hired by NKW1 to investigate complaints said in its report water flowed freely and the water did not appear cloudy, which contradicted the Brooks results and subsequent Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) results. The ministry is still investigating the discrepancy and other AECOM test results from well complaints in the NKW1 project area.”
Over a year before construction even began, these pollution problems were predicted by experts who testified on behalf of the local community group, Water Wells First, in hearings of the Environmental Review Tribunal.
The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) based their approval of this project on a flawed computer model (paid for by the developer) which predicted there would be no impact on well water from vibrations. The reality of what is happening now must take precedence over the flawed predictions made before construction began.
The MOECC has so far refused to acknowledge that there is a connection between the start of pile driving and the sudden pollution of people’s well water. Perhaps the reason they are so willfully blind to this obvious connection is that the pollution problem doesn’t stop with the end of turbine construction. In certain wind conditions, the turbines themselves send vibrations into the bedrock that causes black silt to enter wells. People in neighbouring Dover Township have been finding black silt in their wells for years since the installation of nearby wind farms. The bedrock that underlies much of this part of South Western Ontario is made up of Kettle Point Black shale- a rock formation that seems to be particularly sensitive to vibrations. Several other multi-million dollar wind turbine projects are expected to be constructed in this area over the next few years.
Water Wells First has called for the Ontario government to also investigate the health effects of ingesting black shale particles. Kettle Point Black Shale is known to contain heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and lead.
This isn’t about whether wind power is good or bad. This is about a poorly designed project polluting people’s well water and a government that is so deeply beholden to the interests of billion-dollar corporations that it refuses to protect its own citizens.
The Council of Canadians supports wind power as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels which can help Canada meet 100% of its energy needs from renewables by 2050. But as with any other industrial infrastructure, wind farms must be carefully developed to avoid having serious impacts on vulnerable areas.