Wesley, Hope ask province to step in on well testing

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Chatham-Kent Coun. Jeff Wesley put forward a notice of motion at a recent council meeting asking the Ontario environment minister to “immediately convene an open public meeting to fully discuss the ongoing and proposed testing of local water wells so that all local water well owners, wind farms, Water Wells First, council and the general public are fully aware of what testing is being done and/or should be done.

“Further, that the (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change) provide concrete directions to ensure local water well owners do not pay the cost of testing of their wells and if they have already done so these costs are to be reimbursed,” Wesley wrote in his notice of motion.

In response to Wesley’s notice, Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope penned a letter to MOECC Minister Glen Murray, expressing the concerns of area residents over the “health and status of water wells. Many of our residents, businesses and agricultural operations depend on water wells, not only for their homes, but also for the operation of their businesses.”

His letter echoes the concerns Wesley brought forward in his notice of motion about the impact the proposed wind turbines will have on the wells and the underlying aquifer in North Kent.

In his notice of motion, Wesley added there are “serious and ongoing concerns within the Chatham-Kent community over the health and status of the local aquifer” and “uncertainty amongst local well owners over what is an appropriate testing regime.”

Hope asks Murray and the MOECC to address specifically:

  • What testing (number and type of parameters tested for, cost, complexity, etc.) is currently being done or planned by North Kent Wind, Otter Creek and Water Wells First?
  • Should well owners be obtaining any additional testing and, if so, who will pay for this testing and any other testing already paid for?

“We believe your ministry has the expertise and ability to properly determine what testing is required to address the concerns brought forth to us. We are asking you to immediately convene a meeting in Chatham-Kent to fully discuss water well testing and provide recommendations (where indicated) to local water well owners,” Hope said in his April 20 letter to Murray.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton supported the letter from Hope in his own letter to Murray April 20, and said, “There is prima facie evidence that some drinking water drawn from wells in north Kent is no longer potable. I do not believe that under the circumstances in this case local water well owners should not be liable for the costs of their own well testing in wells which were pure.”

Water Wells First, the local grass roots advocacy group, has been vocal in its concerns with the quality of water wells in area where turbines were installed and run, and brought to light a turbidity problem with the well of the Pumfrey family on Bush Line after North Kent Wind 1 used a pile driving method for the foundation of a meteorological control tower in the former Chatham Twp.

Wesley’s notice of motion is on hold until a response from Mayor Hope’s letter is received.

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