More research needed on wind turbine potential health hazards: scientist

Samples of water showing degrees of sediment. Not enough done says residents, scientist [supplied photo]

Member of Ontario expert review panel says well water study was a start, but we need more

August 29, 2022

A scientist and former geology professor who sat on an expert review panel studying the impact of wind turbine vibrations on aquifers says the Ontario government needs to do more to assess the risk of adverse health impacts from wind turbine operations.

Keith Benn, who is now a private consultant, wrote in The Chatham Voice last week that the Ontario government in particular needs to look at the health hazards associated with well water.

He was a member of the expert review panel that looked at the failed water wells and altered water quality from wells in North Kent, following construction of a wind power facility there.

There were too few people participating in the government sponsored study of the well water to make a definite determination as to the cause of problems, Benn said, but the review did conclude that there was “a general deterioration in the quality of well water.”

The study was not complete in his view as it did not require the sampling of the fine-grained sediment in the well water, so “its composition remains an open question,” says Benn, who holds a PhD in geology.

Government study not complete

When the Ontario government released its report on the well water review, local residents reacted with shock, saying the investigation was not what they had expected, and did not deal with health.

Even Medical Officer of Health Dr David Colby, who has steadfastly maintained there was no health risk from the dirty water, questioned why there was no medical expertise on the review panel. He said the panel was not qualified to assess health risk.

Benn agrees that more could have been done in the review, to give a fuller picture of what’s going on.

“The Kettle Point black shale is known to be enriched with potentially toxic components, notably lead and arsenic,” he said. “It follows that the sediment should be properly analyzed.”

He concluded his letter by saying he hoped the Ontario government would continue to investigate the potential for health hazards associated with wind turbine complexes in Chatham-Kent.

Residents not to blame but shoulder the cost

Wind Concerns Ontario has published anecdotal reports from residents, and photos of dirty, grit-laden water. According to one resident corresponding with us, the municipality has offered piped water to affected residents…at a cost of $50,000 per household.

Before and after water system filters from a home in North Kent [supplied photo]

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