But the wind power operators won’t and the Ontario government won’t force them
November 25, 2018
In a recent article by Jeffrey Carter in Ontario Farmer, Maurice B. Dusseault, professor of Engineering Geology at the University of Waterloo, says that the contamination of water wells in Chatham-Kent following construction and operation of a new wind power project there is likely caused by the power project. “I believe there is a reasonable cause to believe pile-driving (and turbine operation) is leading to the disturbance,” professor Dusseault told Carter.
Gagnon has been working with citizens’ group Water Wells First; the group has invested many hours and thousands of dollars “putting together multi-stage filtration systems” at several properties “to remove sediments and shale gas.”
The water runs clear after being treated although a disagreeable smell and taste remains, Ontario Farmer reports.
The engineering professor plans to compare changes to the sedimentation in the well water over time, he says, relating the data to changes in the direction and velocity of the wind, which drives the turbines. Finding a relationship in that information would be solid evidence that the turbines are the problem.
There is another course of action: shut down the turbines to see if the sedimentation problem goes away. However, that’s not something either the Ontario government or the wind power operator is willing to take.
Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Essex has said the Ontario Chief Medical Officer has been directed to review data from past sample collection and follow up on the water situation for Chatham-Kent families.
Acknowledge the problem
Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr David Colby is steadfast in his belief that the sediment-laden water may be “unappealing” but “there is no health hazard from undissolved particles in water.”
The sedimentation means well water systems cannot function, Ontario Farmer reports. There are three wind power projects with a total of 94 wind turbines, and Water Wells First members say as many as 50 wells have been affected in the former Township of Dover alone.
University of Windsor researcher Joel Gagnon, who is also working on the well water problem, says more people could come forward but they are prevented by confidentiality or non-disclosure clauses in their lease agreements with the wind power operators.
There may be solutions to the problem, he told Ontario Farmer, but right now, the first step is official admission that there is a problem.