Oversight appreciated

Jul 12 • Feature Story, ViewpointNo Comments on Oversight appreciated

wind turbines

Some people might question the ferocity with which Water Wells First is going after wind turbine companies building in North Chatham-Kent, but you can’t question their sincerity or their results.

Thanks to monitoring of the first turbine site under construction by North Kent Wind off Darrell Line, WWF noticed that the steel pipes weren’t capped and sealed, which could allow groundwater to flow down the pipes into the underground aquifer. This practice, if unchecked, could lead to contamination of the water sources for area well owners.

The Ministry of the Environment responded to the complaint from WWF by investigating and ordering the company to cap and seal the pipes, which it agreed to do. But what if WWF hadn’t been paying attention?

Whose responsibility is to make sure not just the wind turbine companies, but any construction firm, do what they are supposed to? Builders have to acquire permits and are subject to inspection at each stage of building before they can proceed.

Does the MOE regularly monitor the turbine construction sites to ensure compliance? Does the municipality who approves the building permits have any responsibility to inspect the sites for compliance? Or is the process just complaint-based, and unless someone is watching, construction crews can basically do what they want?

These are questions that seem to remain unanswered and are leading to frustration from both WWF and the municipality.

And of major concern is, if this is how construction is proceeding now on turbines, how were all the turbines that came before these ones constructed?

For people not on a well, it may not seem to be of any concern, but if the underground aquifer is contaminated and those properties don’t have access to clean water, property values are going to go down, those folks who want to sell won’t be able to, and only those who can afford to hook up to municipal water lines will be able to have potable water.

That is something that should be of concern to all of us. And if having the members of WWF videotaping and monitoring construction is what it takes to make sure our water source stays clean, people shouldn’t have a problem with that.

They may just want to take a shift themselves.

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