Chatham-Kent’s Colby defends wind turbines: water contamination ‘not possible’

Medical Officer of Health tells international audience that “the notion that extensive fracturing of bedrock could result from piles is ludicrous.”

Water in Chatham-Kent wells is laden with sediment. [Photo: Sydenham Current]
June 25, 2019
Speaking at the 2019 conference on wind turbine noise in Lisbon, Portugal earlier this month, Dr. David Colby took on “allegations” of disturbance of well water by wind turbine construction and pronounced the situation as impossible.
Dr. Colby was listed simply in the conference programme as being associated with Western University (he is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology) but did not list his position as Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent.
In decidedly un-academic language he began by stating that “allegations of water well interference, sediment infiltration and aquifer contamination due to ground borne vibrations from wind turbine construction and operation have been levied against a wind farm in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada.”
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 He states that the appeal was withdrawn, implying that there was no basis for it.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.
Joel Gagnon, professor in Environmental and Earth Sciences at the University of Waterloo was also interviewed about testing he and a team of students carried out on the Chatham-Kent affected wells. Where Dr Colby states outright that not only is there no problem with the well water, it’s actually impossible that there could be, Professor Gagnon says “there is a lot of uncertainty.”
He wants more investigation into the issue.
The Groundwater article says that there are not more than 80 water wells affected in Chatham-Kent. Hydrogeologist Clarke is concerned about the future, and worries the situation could become a “tragedy.”
“Why not stop,” he says, “reflect on what we don’t know.”
Read an excerpt from the David Colby presentation here: WTN2019-groundwaterExcerpt
Read the Groundwater Association article here.
Hello! EDP! We have a well here! Citizens in North Stormont mounted a campaign to demand proponent EDPR test well water, as required in the approval–many were missed. Dr Colby says affected wells had lousy water in the first place. (Photo: Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, John Irven)

What's your reaction?


  • Richard Mann
    Posted June 25, 2019 7:44 pm 0Likes

    While people are being harmed, politicians are arguing about rules and regulations. Please read following article. See the comment on January 26, 2016 at 2:21 pm “Here is a list of 26 statements of adverse health impacts from Huron County.”
    Why has nothing been done? When is the Huron County Health Unit supposed to respond? Many people provided reports to HCHU hoping this problem would be solved. They are still waiting …

    • Barbara
      Posted July 8, 2019 1:41 pm 0Likes

      Infrasound studies just might put the risk back into investing in IWTs? Or increase the risk in IWT investments?

  • Stan Thayer
    Posted June 27, 2019 12:11 pm 0Likes

    I am not being paid and I do not have credentials to lie!
    I have been in the construction industry for over 50 years and I can absolutely dispute the connected article on anyones terms!
    Many wells get contaminated from far away septic systems or leachate from some other source usually due to griund waves from construction vibration or earthquakes. Dye is sometimes used to trace the underground liquid flow and it is is always interesting to find the exit area.
    On another similar topic to liquifaction is the ground waves caused when blasting. Any blastmaster, military or civil, can tell you in a few minutes what is needed to produce a standing ground wave in any type of rock.
    To state pile-driving or rock drilling or blasting does not affect the surrounding terrain is definitely false.
    If the related articles are accurate then the so called experts are being absolutely fraudulent!
    If they are experienced, they are knowingly misconstrewing the truth!
    Apart from being legally liable they are an outright shame on humanity.
    I am a proud tradesman and not afraid to tell the truth!
    Stan Thayer
    CET 309A Journeyman Electrician VE3STH

  • Mary Kovacs
    Posted June 27, 2019 7:35 pm 0Likes

    I was once a public health Nurse. To think that we have a MOH who does not look at scientific data is beyond understanding.This is like Arlene King who did not show up to an ERT so she could be questioned about her statement that IWTs do no harm. Arlene King did not talk to people who left their homes nor did this Colby talk to farmers whose cows would not drink from the wells.

  • Barbara
    Posted July 3, 2019 10:13 pm 0Likes

    Nature Geoscience
    Published: 11 July 2008
    “Predicting groundwater arsenic contamination in Southeast Asia from surface parameters”
    Includes list of reference articles.

  • Stan Thayer
    Posted July 9, 2019 12:20 pm 0Likes

    Kind of off topic but just for the record.
    Total Ontario Industrial Wind Turbine output at 11am this beautiful hot sunny morning, July 9th 2019 was 14 mw into a grid demand of 19,000 mw and growing as more air conditioners come on line.
    Solar was over 20 times higher, increasing at 351 mw and predictable.
    What a waste of time and natural resources windmills have proven to be.
    It is time for the propaganda to stop and the reality of this massive mistake of humanity to begin a correction.
    If that’s possible!
    Stan the power man

  • Stan Thayer
    Posted July 15, 2019 3:07 am 0Likes

    Here we go again!
    Some wells in North Stormont have been shaken up by the construction of the huge wind turbines and the water has turned brown with, who knows what, in the turbidity. The same as what was predicted and happened in the Chatham-Kent area.
    Decimating the last remaining fresh water aquifers on the planet is a crime against humanity for all eternity thanks to the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals.
    For what?
    Votes and money and power, but, not electrical power.
    Yesterday, Sunday, July 14 2019, for most of the sunny hours, the seven small solar farms delivered more power to the Ontario electrical grid then the 2800+ wind turbines. At times, even combined solar and wind delivered less than 10% of what was in demand. The so called, projected output, or sometimes called, installed capacity from these two types of generstion has never been achieved anywhere I have checked in Ontario.
    The Bureau of Land Management in the U.S. has suspended all permits for wind turbines although to late, the damage is done!
    The Trudeau Liberals can stop the windmill insanity. They know the projections are false and the propaganda is real.
    Wind comes and goes just like politicians!
    No proof required!

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