North Kent residents await water health hazard investigation report

Huge tanks in the garage are only source of potable water for one North Kent family [Supplied photo]

North Kent residents have complained of black, grit-filled water since construction began on wind turbines several years ago.

Residents of North Kent are waiting for the results of an All-Hazard investigation into water quality, following many complaints about black, particulate-filled well water that occurred after construction on wind turbines began several years ago. According to the Ministry of Health, the report from the Expert Panel is due on December 31, or before.

According to the Chatham Voice in January of this year,

“On Thursday, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton announced the government established a panel of five individual experts, appointed by the Minister of Health, to lead a water well investigation following long-time concerns from residents that their water is contaminated with Kettle Point black shale.

“I feel so great for those families who’ve had questions for many years. I remember hearing in 2012 the concerns families had regarding their well water. I feel quite proud that we listened to the community and kept the promise we made in 2018,” McNaughton told The Chatham Voice.”

The investigation was actually first announced in July of 2019 but work on it apparently halted due to difficulties posed by the COVID pandemic.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent holds a 15 per cent equity interest in North Kent Wind through its affiliate, Entegrus Renewable Energy Inc.

Local media featured many photos of dirty looking water, and interviews with residents who said they cannot drink the water and feel it is unusable. The theory is that the vibration from construction and operation of the turbines on the fragile Kettle Point Shale has affected water well function.

The local Medical Officer of Health Dr David Colby, however,  has not only said he doesn’t believe the water is polluted, he says it is “impossible.”

A Wind Concerns Ontario report from June, 2019 noted that Dr Colby had travelled to a conference in Portugal, and delivered a paper on the water issue.

Dr Colby’s paper is simply a recitation of evidence provided by the wind power proponent/operator and by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment at the appeal of the project. He states that the appeal was withdrawn, implying that there was no basis for it. In fact, the proponent sprang a technical report on the Appellant during the proceedings and the Tribunal refused to allow the Appellant (appearing without legal counsel) time to review the report — the Appellant was left no choice but to withdraw.

Relying on a technical report prepared for the wind power operator by Aecom Canada and the original environment ministry assessment, Colby concluded that “water quality in the study area of Chatham-Kent was poor from the outset.

“There is no evidence that water wells are being systematically affected by construction or operation of wind turbines,” Dr Colby concluded.

Not content with negating the complaints of dozens of property owners in his public health jurisdiction, Dr Colby also took a swipe at citizens in North Stormont, where one of the main concerns is that the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project is being built on an area deemed by the province to be a “highly vulnerable aquifer.” He cited the fact the appeal was dismissed by the Environmental Review Tribunal as more proof that there is no association between wind turbines and well disturbance.

But that’s not what groundwater experts say.

In the current issue of the journal of the Ontario Groundwater Association, “Turbidity and Turbines” is the feature article, which includes an interview with hydrogeologist Bill Clarke.

“There is no doubt in my mind this is well interference,” Clarke said.

With another winter just beginning, and residents rely on tanks of water in garages and basements to provide water for their families, the clock is ticking for the Ford government.


Stan Thayer

Warning,,,,,,bullshit alert!
For those that were not involved, the ERT was a contrived appeasement that worked as expected. Mr McNaughton learned that 10 years ago.
This soap opera is simply another make work project to muddy the waters of conflicting data and display the allotment of tax dollars.
As proof I attest to being present at one of the many court hearings over the past decades where the plaintiff, in this case a Chatham-Kent resident had water samples from before and after the turbine installations to provide absolute proof that the ground disruption was the cause of the black shale water. Many water experts were noted on file then also.
So who says who is an expert ?
It’s obvious to me, the one that pays the fiddler calls the tune.
It is a David and goliath scenario when discussing wind turbines.
The pro-bono lawyer for the affected resident in Chatham-Kent was out-talked, out-informed, out-dressed and out mediaed by the five government lawyers that basically took over the proceedings.
Their chosen data was proclaimed in fact, all other pertinent information was deemed outside the scope of that hearing.
And the saga continues, only the names have changed!


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