CK Moves Forward With Plan To Test Local Well Water

Water Wells First members block off a wind turbine construction site north of Chatham. August 17, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Jakubec)

Chatham-Kent residents who are experiencing well quality issues near the North Kent One wind farm project, will soon get to choose a third-party expert to test their water.

“We want to ensure there are no concerns about who does the testing,” says Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire, in a news release. “We’ve provided the list but the choice will be up to the residents.”

Shropshire says the municipality, with the help of public health officials, has identified 17 labs in Ontario that are both licensed and accredited by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation to test drinking water for microbiological agents, organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, and other particulate matter.

The testing will be done at no cost for residents.

“The [Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change] will cover the cost of inspections on five wells currently experiencing problems,” says Shropshire. “Inspectors will be selected jointly by the well owner and the municipality.”

The municipality will begin reaching out to local residents this week.

The move comes as part of a motion by CK Council last week, to request that the provincial government halt wind turbine construction until water well issues have been fully investigated. That request is still before the premier’s office.

Water Wells First, an activist group in Chatham-Kent, has demanded action from the municipality and the ministry, claiming that pile driving and wind turbine construction for the North Kent Wind project are contaminating well water for area residents in the area.

The group took action two weeks ago by putting up barricades at three wind turbine construction sites just north of Chatham.

Following a meeting between CK officials and representatives with the Ministry of the Environment, the ministry committed to contacting owners of wells who have experienced issues, and then reviewing those concerns with the project developers, Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy.