Ontario’s environment ministry: head in the (black) sand

As reports of contaminated well water in Chatham-Kent rise, the Ministry of the Environment is strangely silent. They can’t dodge this any longer

November 3, 2017

It must be getting harder and harder to work in Communications at the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in Toronto: passing on all those media clips to management which then doesn’t respond, is not how they tell you things work in college or university.

Usually, when a company, or a government has a problem — especially with a public health issue — they meet it head on, and respond.

Not the MOECC.

A few months ago, we published a report that thousands of complaints of excessive noise and vibration from wind turbines were being ignored by the Ministry, with the staggering figure of actually NO RESPONSE for more than 50% of the citizen complaints, and a resolution rate of 1 %.

And over the summer and into the fall, the reports of problems with well water in Chatham-Kent continue to mount, as residents link the failed wells to wind turbine operation and construction.

“Black water” and heavy sediment is being found in 14 water wells near the North Kent wind power project, now under construction, which residents say is linked to vibration from pile-driving for the turbine foundations.

They’re not the only ones saying that: geoscientists and hydrologists are worried too, with one retired professional actually saying, he couldn’t believe they hadn’t stopped construction to get to the bottom of this issue.

The wind power developer claims no responsibility, relying on a consultants’ report which says well water interference is impossible.

Really, said another geoscientist. Speaking at a public meeting last week in Wallaceburg (where the province is thinking of approving another wind power project on the very same geology), Keith Benn said, If you have a model with predictions that are being countered by facts and evidence, it’s the model that might be wrong, not the facts.

This is serious business and, believe it or not, it is even worse than the situation described here.

Residents say there have been problems with well water since the first North Kent power project began but because most of the people having problems were leaseholders who had signed contracts with non-disclosure clauses about negative wind turbine effects, the well water problems were not public. So, a potential public health problem has gone unreported, essentially because the government gives a pass on most things to the “clients,” the wind power developers.

“People don’t back down when they’re protecting their water” [Photo: Council of Canadians]
The media is all over this story, with reports every week; residents are writing to the Ministry, complaining to the so-called “Spills” line, and even writing MInister Chris Ballard. Nothing but platitudes; promises to act, promises of testing, even, but no action.

Chatham-Kent’s Council is concerned, and worried about what a crisis in the water supply might mean for residents and taxpayers if the municipality is forced to supply municipal water to farms and homes formerly supplied by their own wells.

We think the Ontario government, and specifically this Ministry whose mandate it is to protect the environment and people’s health, should act.

Now.

But the Ministry has been notably Missing in Action.

WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

Wind power exec accused of defamation against expert witness

October 28, 2017

Citizens of Dutton Dunwich oppose the Invenergy wind power project: is the company engaging in slander in the U.S.?

A qualified professional real estate appraiser in Illinois alleges that an executive with U.S. wind power developer Invenergy is conducting a campaign of defamation and slander against him, in an effort to have him disqualified from testifying as an expert witness on wind turbines and property values.

Michael McCann wrote a letter on October 20th to the County Supervisors in Palo Alto, Iowa, to counter statements made about him by the Invenergy employee, Michael Blazer, who is both a company vice-president and chief legal officer.

Apparently, Blazer filed an online complaint with the Illinois licensing board that governs the practice of real estate appraisers in that state, then took a screenshot of his complaint and filed that as proof that Mr McCann was “under investigation” by the licensing board. There was no public documentation of any complaint.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation did process the online submission but found it to be without merit, and dismissed any complaint against Mr. McCann. His license is not in fact under review.

Nevertheless, McCann alleges in his letter, months later Invenergy and Blazer continue to repeat the story that McCann is under suspicion, in an attempt to prevent McCann’s testimony about “injurious” effects of the presence of wind turbines on property values.

“This was a blatant attempt by an Invenergy officer and attorney acting as complainant, judge, jury and firing squad to advance his corporate interests by sullying my reputation, and apparently to try to prevent me from testifying regarding my well documented findings regarding the significant impact of wind turbines on neighboring values.”

Read the letter by Michael McCann to the Palo Alto County government here. McCann letter to Palo Alto County Iowa October 20 2017  Mr. McCann is currently seeking legal advice on future actions.

“This attempt to discredit an expert witness by a wind power developer is very worrying,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “It is hard enough for ordinary citizens and community groups to achieve any kind of justice against these huge, wealthy power developers, without active campaigns to slander and discredit witnesses.”

Wind power part of hidden Hydro One costs

The Auditor General for Ontario noted in her recent report that the government has hidden costs of electricity, and not created a fair cost reduction plan. Cancelling wind power contracts would be a good start, says Wind Concerns Ontario

The new Belle River project by Samsung will cost about $700 million. New wind power contracts will add billions more to ratepayers’ bills

October 24

Cancelling wind power contracts would bring real savings

The special report by Ontario’s Auditor General on the government’s Fair Hydro Plan not only stated concerns about the level of debt being incurred by the vote-getting “plan” it also contained this recommendation: the government should “use a financing structure to fund the rate reduction that is least costly for Ontarians.”

If the Ontario government was genuinely interested in reducing electricity bills for Ontario citizens, it would reduce costs.

It’s not doing that.

A case in point concerns the wind power projects given 20-year contracts in 2016, totaling $3.3 billion. Those wind power projects (Dutton Dunwich, The Nation, North Stormont, Otter Creek) will provide unnecessary intermittent power, and force industrial power plants on communities that are actively fighting them over environmental, health and economic concerns.

Cancelling other contracts not yet built, such as Amherst Island, Prince Edward County and North Kent, would save more than one billion, over 20 years.

Ontario has a surplus of power but more important, does not need more wind power which tends to be produced out of phase with demand. On the recently warm October 15th Sunday, for example, Ontario power demand was low, but we were forced to “constrain” almost record-breaking wind power production — we paid millions for power we didn’t need.

In fact, says a Commentary prepared for the Council for Clean & Reliable Energy, 70 per cent of Ontario’s wind power is wasted, because it is produced at night and in mild seasons. Very little of it reaches the urban areas that need power, yet the effects of industrial-scale wind power plants on rural communities are significant.

The Auditor General says the government is hiding the true cost of its politically motivated Fair Hydro Plan which pretends to bring a 25 per cent rate reduction, while actually putting off the costs to the future.

Ontario can make real savings in costs now, by cancelling contracts for unnecessary wind power.

 

Jane Wilson

President

Wind Concerns Ontario

This article appeared in Ontario Farmer, October 23, 2017.

 

Wind wasted again — millions spent on unneeded power last weekend

October 16, 2017

Wind turbines near SS Marie: power not needed but cost us millions (National Post photo)

October 15, 2017 was quite a windy Sunday.   Being a mild fall day too, that meant Ontario’s demand for electricity was low according to the IESO’s Daily Market Summary.  Total Ontario demand was only 313,000 MWh for the whole day.

Unfortunately for ratepayers, it was a beyond the norm windy day — industrial wind turbines spread throughout the province were spinning well beyond their yearly average of 29/30% of capacity.

According to the IESO’s daily generator report, the wind turbines could have supplied almost 84,000 MWh* of power, or about 27% of all the power consumed by Ontario’s ratepayers (approximately 83% of their capacity).  As it turned out, IESO curtailed or did not accept 42,500 MWh for which wind developers were paid $120/MWh anyway, and the 41,200 MWh grid-accepted power generation got them the standard $135/MWh.

What the foregoing means is wind developers were paid approximately $10,660,000 for curtailed wind generation and grid-accepted power.  That works out to a cost per MWh of $260 or 26 cents a kilowatt hour — almost double the current generation cost, for which 25% is being refinanced under the Fair Hydro Act.

As it turned out, the grid-accepted wind generation really wasn’t needed: as the IESO “Summary” report indicates, Ontario’s net exports averaged 2,110MW per hour or 50,640 MW at a negative price of $0.99. That means Ontario’s ratepayers picked up another $50K to provide our neighbours (principally Michigan and New York) with cheap power.

No doubt Ontario was also spilling hydro and steaming off Bruce Nuclear which ratepayers were also paying for on that windy October Sunday.

More proof that wind power provides costly, intermittent and unneeded power. More proof that the Green Energy and Economy Act should be tossed out!

 

 

*All numbers are rounded.

Ontario government abdicated role as environmental protector: WCO

“The Green Energy Act was the biggest con ever in Ontario” — MPP Todd Smith

Hundreds marched in Picton on October 15th. The Green Energy Act “the biggest con, ever.” [Photo Wind Concerns Ontario]
October 16, 2017

Hundreds of community members in Prince Edward County marched down Picton Main Street yesterday to protest the “White PInes” wind power project, and the Ontario government’s wind power policy. The march was followed by a three-hour information session.

The project by Germany-based wpd was trimmed from 29 to 9 turbines in various appeals, but the developer is still proceeding despite questions as to whether it actually has a contract with the Ontario government, and whether the 9-turbine project makes any financial sense.

Among the speakers at the information session was Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, who reviewed the findings of the organization’s request for documents on reports of excessive wind turbine noise made to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

“We wondered, what happens to all the reports being made to the government? Here’s what we learned: The government does nothing,” Wilson said.

“This government has completely abdicated its role as a protector of the environment and people. Instead of functioning as a regulator, it is now a facilitator for huge multi-national corporations whose last concern is any benefit to the environment.”

Everybody knows there are health effects

Dr Robert McMurtry said adverse health effects related to wind turbine noise emissions, including inaudible noise and low-frequency noise, are disturbing, especially because both government and industry deny them. “Everyone’s pretending the emperor has clothes,” said Dr McMurtry, a member of the Order of Canada and a former Dean of Medicine. “There are adverse health effects and everybody knows it — that’s why we have setbacks in the first place.”

Other community members spoke on concerns for wildlife, heritage features (the nine turbines will surround the historic Loyalist settlement of Milford), and the effect on citizens’ water wells. While the power developer claimed there would be no problems as a result of sinking huge wind turbine foundations into the ground, which features fragile karst topography, Les Stanfield remarked that there are sinkholes all over the County, and there were concerns about the turbines’ effect on aquifers.

MPP Todd Smith said loudly, what no one had said was that the whole push for wind power and the Green Energy Act was “the biggest con job” ever in Ontario.” Obviously, he said, repealing the controversial act is mandatory.

Renowned vintner Norman Hardie said the power project “must not go ahead.” Eco-tourism, the County’s economy, and the entire character of the area would be irreparably damaged, he said.

Power not needed

The last speaker was Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff who said that the project must not proceed, and nothing less than 100-percent success in stopping it was acceptable. He questioned the contract with the IESO, and the feasibility of the project. “I can’t understand why [wpd] is doing this? Are they punishing our community for daring to oppose them?”

Wilson added to her presentation that at the time of the event, wind power was being constrained or held back at record levels in Ontario, according to IESO data for Sunday.

“That just adds insult to injury,” she said.

Residents last week filed notice of legal action against the Independent Electricity Systems Operator or IESO over the project, which they say has no legal contract. The first court date is November 17 in Picton. Donations accepted at the community group website.

More stories here.

Belleville Intelligencer

County Live

Quinte News

 

More proof: wind power produced out of sync with demand in Ontario

Wasted. [Photo Gary Moon/Moonlight Photography]
October 11, 2017

Friday October 6th, 2017 was a work day just before the Thanksgiving weekend. At 10 AM that morning, Ontario’s electricity ratepayers had much to be thankful for. Power generation from wind amounted to just 27 MWh, but that 27 MWh wasn’t really needed as nuclear, hydro and a little gas were providing all the power we needed.  And, both hydro and gas were capable of producing lots more if Ontario demand required it.

The hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP) during that hour was $13.50/MWh (megawatt hour) so the value of the 27 MWh that wind produced in that hour cost ratepayers about $365.

Two days later, Thanksgiving Sunday was a different story: at 3 AM wind power was working in the night, generating 1,145 MWh with another 2,797 MWh curtailed (wasted, held back, not added to the grid). Ontario’s ratepayers were paying $135/MWh for the grid-accepted wind and $120/MWh for the curtailed wind.

The HOEP was a negative $3/MWh so the grid-delivered wind was costing ratepayers $415.95/MWh or 41.6 cents/kWh! In total, that one hour cost ratepayers $476,274 for unneeded generation. On top of that, because Ontario demand for power was low (most of us were fast asleep so the LED lights were out), Bruce nuclear was steaming off excess generation (we pay for that), OPG was probably spilling water (we also pay for that), and we were exporting 2,802 MWh to Michigan, New York and Quebec and picking up the $3/MWh cost.

So, comparing the two hours suggests we didn’t need wind generation on October 6th during a business day and we didn’t need it on October 8th in the middle of the night!

This is more proof that wind power is produced out of sync with demand.

The time has come to stop all contracting for additional wind generation and to cancel any that are not under construction.

 

Parker Gallant

Samsung slaps citizens with $1-million costs

“People don’t back down when they’re protecting their water” [Photo: Council of Canadians]

More defendants to be named…

October 11, 2017

 

Samsung Energy is reported to have prepared a Statement of Claim for costs exceeding $1 million, naming two Chatham-Kent residents, related to recent protests over altered well water.

The Council of Canadians has slammed the legal action, saying it is a clear attempt at intimidation of citizens who were just protecting their water.

The Council of Canadians news release is here.

Council of Canadians slams heavy-handed Samsung Energy legal tactics

Media Release
October 11, 2017

Chatham, ON – The Council of Canadians is condemning Samsung Energy for filing a million dollar plus statement of claim against Chatham area residents who blocked construction at one of 34 wind turbines the company is erecting as part of its North Kent One* wind power project.

Many of the people who took part in the 11 day blockade have filed well interference complaints against the developer, citing the vibrations from the company’s pile driving activity as the cause of the sudden influx of black silt in their wells. At least thirteen well interference complaints have been made since the company started pile driving for the turbine foundations last June.

According to the developer’s Statement of Claim, the impact of the construction delay caused by the blockade “amounts to costs ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per day, covering only the current amount of labour and equipment idle.”

The Statement of Claim names Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec and Cindy Soney as defendants. It also includes “other individuals who have been involved in the unlawful conduct….who have not yet been identified and have been named as John Doe and Jane Doe.”

The well water on the Jakubec family’s farm became polluted with black silt shortly after pile driving began nearby.

“Our well water was crystal clear for decades before the pile driving started,” said Jakubec. “Now, Samsung is claiming that we damaged them to the tune of millions of dollars. I wonder how they sleep at night because I sure can’t.”

In 2016, Kevin Jakubec challenged the government’s approval of the North Kent One project at the Environmental Review Tribunal where expert witnesses warned specifically that vibrations from pile driving could cause the pollution problems seen in the last few months.

“Million dollar lawsuits are usually meant to intimidate,” said Mark Calzavara, Ontario Organizer for The Council of Canadians. “But people don’t back down when it comes to protecting their water. The evidence clearly shows that the construction is causing the pollution. Samsung must stop this project now.”

* North Kent One Wind is owned and developed by Samsung Energy and Pattern Energy.

-30-

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org. Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs

No response from Wynne government to holiday weekend wind turbine noise reports

October 9, 2017

Thanksgiving: pumpkin martinis for city dwellers, screeching thumping noise for unwilling wind farm neighbours in the country. And no help from the MOECC. [Photo: allrecipes.com]

 

For many families in Ontario, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time, a time to get together over a lunch or dinner, get outside for walks in the still pleasant weather, and just generally enjoy a day, or weekend.

Unless you are forced to live inside a wind power plant as hundreds of Ontario residents are.

This Thanksgiving weekend saw high winds in a number of locations and Ontario’s wind turbines were churning away, producing power that wasn’t needed on a warm holiday weekend, meanwhile producing noise and vibration in nearby homes.

A Chatham-Kent area family spent a sleepless night on the holiday weekend Saturday and started calling the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action line at 5:30 a.m. to complain about the noise.

One Niagara area resident wrote an email about her family’s experiences on the holiday weekend.

We continue to be exposed daily to the well-known harmful emissions from the ill placement of Industrial Scale Wind Turbines to our home.  We cannot enjoy our property and home, outside or inside, due to the constant crashing, swooshing and thumping inside and outside of our home.  

The Industrial Wind Generators are whomping along with what I refer to as microbursts.  A constant swoosh can be heard inside and outside of our home with thump thump thumps.  I am highly agitated without sleep and being exposed to these emissions. This causes frustrations, alters moods and has stolen what I used to enjoy about living in my sanctuary, aka, as my HOME!!!!!!!!

Last night my bed was vibrating.  VIBRATING!  The vibrations could be felt throughout the home by all of us and felt in our bodies.

I am disrupted during sleep several times during the night.  Especially when you are woken by your bed vibrating and tinnitus so loud it is difficult to hear people and suppressing the high pitch screaming in your ears is impossible.  The more sleep disturbances, the more tired and the more difficult it is to handle the various symptoms forced onto us by this illegal legislation.  My head is under pressure with a headache requiring an aid to suppress the pain.   My skin is crawling.  Waves of vertigo coupled with nausea diminish my comfort and well-being.  Vertigo also challenges my stability while up and down in my daily routine.  As long as vertigo is present, my stability is at risk.  My ears are under pressure and that pressure extends behind my ears, below my ears and spreads down my throat while I am also trying to cope with tinnitus, a stiff neck and pressure on my chest. 

Our lives have been turned inside out … [this] is a complete violation of our rights as Canadians. 

 

 A family in Huron County also complained to the MOECC about their experiences in what was supposed to be a pleasant family weekend at the farm:

Some of us had very restless nights… One of our guests has had some very unsettling experiences today, October 8th.

Experienced SEVERE sudden onset of knife like ear pain while sitting against a south wall inside our home.  This happened in the morning (we were away for a couple of hours) and then later again when we arrived home – the same experiences.   This person has never felt anything like it before and has been quite literally shocked by what is happening and is very disturbed by it – and now is trying to rest due to a severe headache.  

I hate what this Wind Power Plant has done to our personal lives, our physical and mental health, etc.

Another Huron County resident, forced to live inside the K2 wind power plant, wrote this to the Spills line last Friday:

Today, I cannot enjoy my property and home, outside or inside, due to cyclical TONALITY. The wind is from the SW, WSW.  The wind speed at ground level is relatively low.  The TONALITY is rising and lowering in intensity, modulating up and down and it is SICKENING, like fingernails on a chalk board!  This causes frustrations, alters moods and has stolen what I used to enjoy about living in my home.  It is disruptive to our daily life and dangerous to our health.  

None of these complaints received immediate response.

All the MOECC is offering to do at present is more noise testing, using its flawed and limited measurement protocol.

The MOECC’s mandate is to protect the environment and human health.

Except when the people who really count are huge, multi-national wind power corporations.

“Gasping in despair”: Ontario’s rural communities, victims of Wynne government wind power cabal

In aiding wind power corporations, the Ontario government has essentially released wild dogs onto Ontario’s landscape without oversight, or means of bringing them to heel

“To despoil the environment. To slaughter endangered species. To make folks sick.” From the independent Wellington Times, a powerful overview of what the McGuinty-Wynne governments have done to Ontario while aiding huge corporations to build wind power plants

 

Ontario gothic

Posted: October 6, 2017 at 9:03 am   /   by   /   comments (4)

It begs the question: what was Kathleen Wynne and her government smoking when they let loose their own man-made monsters across rural Ontario—in the form of industrial wind developers and speculators?

Even if you buy the sentiment that their motivations were well-intentioned, the undeniable outcome of the Green Energy Act is that Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty have spawned armies of amoral monstrous corporate creatures and have let them loose to roam unfettered across the province. To wreak havoc in rural communities. To despoil the environment. To slaughter endangered species. To make folks sick.

Worse, our government has paved the way, clearing hurdles and slashing regulations to enable these creatures to prey upon vulnerable communities, natural habitats and endangered species. Now they have lost control of their grotesque creations. Even Kathleen Wynne must know how this story ends.

Near Chatham, folks believe the wind developer working nearby has poisoned their wells—allowing toxins into their drinking supply. They have done the testing. They have spoken out. They have protested. Marched on Queen’s Park. Kathleen Wynne has ignored them.

Wynne, her government and her supporters comfort themselves believing the scourge they have unleashed—though ugly and abusive— is a necessary evil. That the greater good is being served. They ignore the folks holding up jars of black liquid, pleading with the province to test their water, drawn from wells that have become undrinkable since the wind developer began driving piles into the bedrock to secure its massive wind turbines. Even Chatham- Kent’s mayor has demanded Kathleen Wynne intervene to protect these residents. It has made no difference.

Left without the protection of the province—without the safeguards that would protect them from any other development— these folks took matters into their own hands. In August, they began blockading the construction site— neighbours joining together to form a line against the threat to their drinking water.

On Monday, in a cruel blow, the developers— a Korean conglomerate and its American partner—won a court injunction barring any further blockades of the project. The judge said he wasn’t trying to muzzle opponents, but to “prohibit unlawful acts”.

People have to prove their water has been poisoned

In Ontario’s perverse hunger for industrial wind turbines, it turns out Chatham-Kent residents must first prove they have been poisoned by the developer, before they may seek justice. By then, of course, the damage will have been done. Recourse will expensive and, for most, unattainable.

Four years ago, the giant American wind developer Next Era sued Esther Wrightman for defamation. On her website she had altered the company’s logo to NextError and Next Terror. They wanted the logos removed or they would litigate the mother of two young children into oblivion. All these years later, the legal action is still pending. Wrightman wakes up every morning with the weight of this action still weighing on her head.

In Prince Edward County, a wind developer has been barred from constructing a nine-turbine project near Milford between May 1 and October 15. This was done expressly to protect the nesting grounds and habitat of the Blanding’s turtle, an endangered species in the province.

Nevertheless, crews have been busy these past few weeks clearing vegetation, preparing the site and delivering heavy equipment onto these protected lands. There are no consequences for ignoring the rules.

Families have left homes–no one will help

So, a developer ruins drinking water without penalty, another bullies a young mother into silence, and yet another crushes rules meant to save an endangered species. This is our Ontario. There are dozens more distressing stories just like these. Too many sad accounts of families forced to leave their homes because the noise and vibration from the massive machines proved intolerable.

No one is coming to help the folks in Chatham-Kent. No one from our government—those we entrust to protect us—is intervening between Next Era (market capitalization of $68 billion) and Esther Wrightman. And no one is coming to protect endangered species in South Marysburgh.

Wynne has lost control of her destructive and unscrupulous brutes. When the Liberal government eliminated the safeguards that once protected us from these threats, and cut municipalities and communities out of decision-making, they may have believed they were just streamlining processes. Instead, they unleashed wild dogs onto the Ontario landscape without oversight or the means to bring them back to heel.

Untethered by moral, ethical or community concerns, these corporate beasts consume and ravage everything they can get away with. Folks who have fought for years to protect the things our government was supposed to safeguard, have been left gasping in despair. Lacking legal remedies or protection, some have begun considering other means to protect their families, their communities and their land. If the government won’t protect them, they will do it themselves.

This is the horror Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty have wrought.

 

rick@wellingtontimes.ca

 

North Kent Wind proponents unmoved by families’ reports of well water contamination

“Not possible,” wind power developer says, that 12 wells failed simultaneously from pile-driving for wind turbine construction. Nope, it wasn’t us.

Water in Chatham-Kent wells is cloudy, even brown: not our fault says Samsung-Pattern [Photo: Sydenham Current]
October 4, 2017

Ontario Farmer

By Jeffrey Carter

The art of deflection may have risen to new heights during a community meeting organized by the proponents of the North Kent Wind project, on September 21 in Chatham-Kent.

Dr.* Storer Boone, a geotechnical engineer with Golder  Associates, said it is “not possible” that pile-driving has led to well water complaints, given the distances between turbine sites and nearby wells.

Jason Murchison, a hydrogeologist with the firm AECON, also said there is no reason for concern.

“We haven’t seen any impact in the wells we’ve investigated,” he said. “Nothing we’ve seen is any different from the baseline.”

Beth O’Brien, a spokesperson with Pattern Energy, said the majority shareholders of the project, Pattern and Samsung, have been delivering fresh water to some area residents who say their wells have been contaminated. However, that’s not an admission of liability.

“Were doing it to be good neighbours. Right now, if we hear a complaint, we supply them with fresh water.”

The companies, however, will not be laying lines to deliver municipal water to residents, O’Brien said.

According to Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for the Water Wells First citizens’ group, 12 wells affecting 14 families, have been contaminated with Kettle Point Black Shale due to pile driving, so far. Well water in the area is drawn from about 50 to 70 feet below the soil surface.

The aquifer is located within a layer of glacial till about 50 to 70 feet below the soil surface and just above the bedrock.

While Boone dismissed the notion of vibration-related contamination, he said bedrock particles, many invisible to the human eye, are located in the till layer where residents draw their water.

It is those particles that are the source of the contamination, according to Jakubec and other members of Water Wells First. They said it showed up in the affected wells shortly after pile-driving began and is also associated with vibrations created as the huge [wind] turbine blades rotate.

Peter Hensel, a resident of the former Township of Dover, is among those who say they’ve been impacted.

During a taped conversation, Hensel said he had his well, from which he’s been drinking for seven decades, tested in 2012 before the wind farm in his area  was commissioned, and retested four years later.

“My uranium is up 500 times from what it was before. My arsenic is up 20 times from what it was before, as are many of the other heavy metals and elements I have in my water, some of which exceed the Ontario drinking water standards,” Hensel said.

“The only thing that’s happened within my general area, 1520 holes were punched through my aquifer. All of a sudden, my water is cloudy.”

Water Wells First has asked that the sediment in the water be tested but so far, neither the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change [or the developer] has complied. As a result, Water Wells First has paid for its own tests, which will soon be released.

Pattern and Samsung each have a 35 percent stake in the North Kent Wind project. Other partners include Walpole Island First Nation with a 15 percent stake and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent with a 15 percent stake through Entegrus Inc.

The Municipality, despite its investment, has called for the project’s halt.

Councillor Joe Faas, who attended the September 21 meeting, said “It’s apparent there’s groundwater concern,” and called for a thorough investigation to determine the cause.

Samples of contaminated well water are either cloudy or solid brown in colour and have a disagreeable odour and taste.

 

Editor’s note: the wind power developers filed for an injunction against Water Wells First and community members demonstrating against the project; they were successful, in a decision announced this week.

Wind Concerns Ontario is advising anyone near this power project experiencing problems or changes to their well water to contact the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action Line at 1-800-268-8080. Be sure to provide your address, distance from any turbine or turbine construction activity (though this may or may not be relevant), and what the changes are to your water. BE SURE TO GET AN INCIDENT REPORT NUMBER from the staff member you speak to.

*Mr. Boone has a PhD in engineering; he is not a medical doctor.