Wind turbines to blame for well water problems: hydrogeologist

November 12, 2017

Well water problems continue in Chatham-Kent with neither the wind power developer consortium, the municipality (which is part of the developer consortium), or the Ontario Ministry of the Environment responding to citizens’ concerns about altered well water. People have complained about Black Water coming from their wells, or so much sediment that the wells stop working entirely.

Here is an excerpt from the current edition of Ontario Farmer, which contains interviews with two experts on water wells.

Of concern to Wind Concerns Ontario is not only the lack of acknowledgement, explanation or effective resolution but also the fact that yet another wind power project on the same hydrogeology is being considered for approval. Ontario needs answers as more projects on fragile hydrogeology are pushed forward.

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

Hydrologist blames turbines for well water issues

By Jeffrey Carter, ONTARIO FARMER

November 7

Ontario’s MInistry of the Environment and Climate Change should have already stopped the North Kent project in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, according to hydrogeologist Bill Clarke.

It’s clear many wells have been compromised due to the vibrations created by wind turbine construction and by their operation, he said. Less clear is the level of risk for the people drinking the water. There are just too many unknowns to make a definitive statement on the matter.

Clarke, who is near retirement after a 40-year career in Ontario, has been working with Water Wells First citizens’ group that stands in opposition to wind farm development in the area, given the fragile nature of the aquifer.

“There are 13 families who are seeing a change in their water supply,” he said.

“Quantity is the issue now but not necessarily water quality. What’s happening is that particulate matter is getting loosened up at the base of the wells. In my opinion, there is well interference — there is no doubt.”

Clarke said well interference is something covered under the Ontario Water Resources Act and the situation should have raised a red flag for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (#MOECC).

Proponents of the North Kent Wind project, consultants hired by the developers, have said that turbine construction has had no impact on the wells, despite the visual evidence that suggests otherwise. In the case of the complaints, which now number 14 according to Water Wells First, problems only arose after turbine pile-driving operations began.

Clarke said the consultants are correct in one respect: sediment shaken loose below the area where the turbines are being erected is not a concern. However, few people, experts included, have recognized the extreme delicate nature of this particular aquifer. The vibrations from pile-driving, and even from those created by the rotation of the huge turbine blades, are an issue at the well locations themselves. This accounts for particles from the underlying bedrock — Kettle [Point Black Shale] — being found in the contaminated wells.

The aquifer is very fragile

“The aquifer is very fragile and what we didn’t know before this all began is how fragile it is … They [the ministry] are being reluctant to get involved and, subsequently making a decision,” Clarke said.

Filtering systems have proven ineffective. Some have quickly clogged up within days or even hours of being put into operation. This may explain why the wind farm developers have offered to supply municipal and bottled water to affected well owners, though liability is still denied.

Also weighing in on the nature of the aquifer was Craig Stanton, executive director of the Ontario Groundwater Association. He said it’s long been known that when water is drawn too quickly from the area’s aquifer, cloudiness can become an issue.

“A lot of those wells are only good for a gallon or two per minute because if you were to pump harder, you would disturb that till with water pressure,” he said.

Kettle [Point Black Shale] is the bedrock underlying much of Southwestern Ontario. Across the northern part of Chatham-Kent, it’s located within 50 to 70 feet of the soil surface.

The “sweet water” lies in a layer of glacial till just above the bedrock. Particles of the bedrock are mixed into the aquifer layer.\

Clarke, while convinced that water wells have been compromised by the wind far development, said the level of risk from a human safety perspective, is unknown at this point.

In a well water evaluation conducted for Peter Hensel, just south of Wallaceburg*, uranium, barium and selenium were all flagged under the Ontario Water [Resources Act]. Unfortunately, due to test limitations, the level of uranium and selenium detected could not be determined. The level of barium did exceed the standard but only marginally.

Questions sent to the MOECC concerning the potential health threat from Hensel’s 2016 results were not answered. Hensel has not yet supplied the MOECC with his 2016 results although a copy was given to Ontario Farmer. The MOECC has also not answered why, in its own 2017 test of Hensel’s water, metals were not included in the evaluation.

The same questions sent to the MOECC were sent to Ontario’s environment minister Chris Ballard’s office. So far, there’s been no reply from the minister’s office.

They should have known …

According to Stainton and Clarke, an evaluation of metal content is a standard part of most water tests.

“Why would you test for just part of the Periodic Table, and who made the decision (at the MOECC) on what they would or wouldn’t test for?” Stainton asked. “It certainly seems to me suspect, and they should have known these things are in the black shale.”

Stainton and Clarke are both puzzled by the MOECC’s reluctance to investigate the situation further,. Especially since concerns were raised prior to the start of construction on the North Kent Wind project.

“I believe if they had been listening, they never would have allowed North Kent to move forward because they should have learned their lessons in Dover. There should have been so many red flags going up that they should have said no,” Stainton said.

… a spokesperson with the MOECC [told Ontario Farmer] that the Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health has determined there is no risk from the particulates in the water in the absence of bacterial contamination.

*The MOECC is now contemplating approval of yet another wind power project on the same hydrogeology, the Otter Creek wind power project. A citizens’ group has formed: the Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns.

 

Comments

Jjoe
Reply

The way to really nail this down would be to compare the number and extent of well contamination before and after turbines. These figures are probably unobtainable now. Do I think that wells have been compromised? Yes. But a comparison like the one I have suggested would be very useful. (If such a study already exists then sorry for this post.)

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

You are correct, and people living within the five new contracted projects (Dutton Dunwich, North Stormont, The Nation, Otter Creek) are doing water testing now — at their expense. Here’s the thing: we now have anecdotal reports that there were problems BEFORE North Kent Wind, but as they were chiefly among leaseholders who were bound by non-disclosure clauses in those leases, this was not widely known as a risk … which meant, people did not think to do such testing. What this could mean is, a potential public health problem was hidden by the government and the power developers.

Sommer
Reply

Yes, this is similar to the situation regarding harm from turbines that residents noticed once they were turned on. Residents were told that they would not harm people; that they were a safe distance away, and of course, considering that people, in general, love their homes and are not transient by nature, and they did not consent to being harmed, they believed they would be safe in their homes.
In some cases, visits to medical doctors prior to experiencing the turbine related changes to their health, were not even necessary because of healthy lifestyles.

Barbara
Reply

Bacteria can cling to particles that are in water?

Who says that a tenant has the right to damage or destroy the landlord’s property?

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

“significant drinking water threat” means a drinking water threat that, according to a risk assessment, poses or has the potential to pose a significant risk; (“menace importante pour l’eau potable”)

T3
Reply

Guess what folks? When the aquifer is disturbed and your basement fills with water, my home owner’s insurance would not cover it. I advise you to .read the underwriting in your policy.

Something else you may want to think about: I no longer have hydro in my real home; the one in Clear Creek that I had to move out of in 2010, on doctor’s advice because of the negative health issues I experienced from exposure to low frequency noise emitted from the industrial wind turbines. At that time I experience a transient ischemic attack. A brain aneurism was also detected and more then 20 lesions were also noted in the brain scan. I could go on and on about my health issues, the deterioration of my bones, the bleeding, etc., experienced since the turbines were built at my home.

The hydro was pulled from my home in 2015. I could no longer afford to manage paying the bills for my Clear Creek home and my rent associated with my respite home, where I now live 40 km away from the turbines.
Back at my Clear Creek home, because I have no hydro or heat source (gas or propane), my broker has recently informed me she cannot find an insurance company to insure my house!
I carried life insurance on my home mortgage. Recently I have been informed my insurance was terminated in 2008..the same year the turbines were built at my place! I’ve paid for insurance all these years and now am told it has been terminated years ago?!
I’m being railroaded here.
I desperately need a new roof on my Clear Creek house..the house I cannot live at.

Today, I have been told again to consider selling my house and take the loss, and let the new owners take on the problems associated with the wind turbines! Is it right to pass on my hardship to another person, a family with perhaps children who will be living in the house?
This is NOT ETHICAL. What is the matter with people?

Those who know me, know because of my medical condition, I am no longer allowed or able to go back to the classroom. “Because of my pre-existing condition, the classroom is deemed a too stressful of an environment for me to work in. This was not my choice.

When my school board stopped paying me after I had depleted my sick days, the Ontario Teacher’s Insurance Plan, who I’ve paid thousands of dollars (well over $100K over the years), denied me my pension. It was not until my union rep accompanied me to my dr., with the exact wording required for my application, was my pension approved. This was after 3 visits to a dr. and specialist, months after Grand Erie stopped paying me, that finally I was able to get the money that was rightfully mine. This is definitely not the kind of stress one with my medical condition should be experienced.

I am a single income person. Months without money coming in caused me much hardship. I am at my wits end. I have depleted my funds.
The turbine development at my house was the second development built in 2008. I moved out in 2010. I am sure I would not be here today should I have stayed. I have been going this alone for 9 years.

I was hoping to go to Queen’s Park this fall to live in my van; the purpose is to educate the public and bring awareness to the devastation that is happening to the people in rural Ontario. Recently I have had a set back in regards to my health. I will get there yet. As I told my son, it’s time, full steam ahead, even if it kills me.
I will give up my respite house if necessary. I’ve had enough. The government is not listening: WE’VE HAD ENOUGH.

It was back in 2009/1, after a winter of much illness; when I approached a small group of people from Shelburne ON where the first turbine development in Ontario was built. From this the site Ontario Wind Resistance Evolved and from that evolved Wind Concerns Ontario. I am not a newby to this scam and devastation brought to Ontario. I have been living this hell for nearly a decade. I was a department head-high school teacher for many years. I’ve lost my beloved profession, my home, and loved ones. This tragedy has destroyed my family.

In the early years I have been interviewed by the National Post, featured on Global National; have participated as witness in Toronto at the Ostrander Point Environmental Tribunal. I was required to bring 8 years of medical documentation. I underwent hours of intense cross examination by the panel of government lawyers. The fate of the Blanding’s Turtle prevailed! Unfortunately for myself, it was a real slap in the face when my health issues were disregarded.

I recently asked Mike Crawley-the original CEO of the wind development at my home (former president of the Federal Liberal Party, now multi millionaire – from subsidies collected from industrial wind turbine development) to purchase my house in Clear Creek for a reasonable amount of money. His response was “he was sorry for my hardship but no longer owns the wind development and referred me to the current company!

I am no longer too proud to ask. As I said, at this point I am prepared to do whatever I can; even if it causes my demise.
I am prepared to again speak publically as I have done in the past. I would be a very credible witness in a law suit. I have years of documentation supporting a case re: negative health impacts and harm brought to people who live too close to industrial wind turbines. International doctors are aware of my case. We all know the evidence is there; this is real.

The people of rural Ontario deserve to be healthy, and be able to live in their homes. What Dalton McGuinty has brought to Ontario in the way of the Green Energy Act is criminal. This must stop.
Hopefully in my lifetime we will see an end to the biggest government scam being pulled off in the history of Ontario.
I desperately need help. Any help you could offer would be very much appreciated. Jane-President of WCO knows who I am. Perhaps she could put you in touch with me if you so wish.
Thank you,
T3

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