More work to do to end well water saga in CK

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton delivers dirty well water to Environment Minister Chris Ballard. November 21, 2017 (Submitted photo.)

Ontario’s Ministry of Health is clearing up some local questions about a recent investigation into turbid private well water in North Kent.

Ministry Spokesperson Bill Campbell tells CK News Today the province plans to conduct further analysis of the collected data, including review by medical experts and additional monitoring through sampling and testing as needed, including bacteriological testing.

Former Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby had questioned why there was no medical expert or doctor on the panel that recently found “no widespread health risks” in the area’s well water used for drinking and washing. Colby said the panel had no medical representation and it was not qualified to assess health risks and that’s why it was called an All-Hazard Investigation and not a Health Investigation. He also noted that more scientific data is needed to prove that towers on the wind farm actually caused the poor water quality.

The panel found the water quality in North Kent is poorer when compared to well water from outside of the area and a comparison of the recent data to the baseline assessment before the towers were constructed indicates that the general water quality in the North Kent 1 area has deteriorated significantly between 2017 and 2021.

The ministry admitted in April that it needs more information to get a clearer picture because only 70 of more than 300 residents contacted consented to have their water tested.

“The project’s goal was to determine if the water is safe for consumption and, based on the sampling and analysis conducted to date, the findings are consistent with what is known about the water in the area and the expert panel has determined that there are no widespread health concerns,” said Campbell.

Area residents also questioned why an All-Hazard Investigation was done and not a Health Hazard Investigation like they were promised by Premier Doug Ford.

Campbell said the All-Hazard Investigation began in May of 2019 after previous Health Hazard Investigations done by the local medical officer of health at the time and review of the previous studies by the former Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams found no health risks with the private well water.

“The Expert Panel independently conducted an investigation that included a methodology which is the most comprehensive to date, that includes new testing and analysis,” Campbell said. “The “all hazards” investigation of well water and sediment measured for over 90 parameters that include chemical, biological, and metals that may affect the safety of the water, as well as non-health based parameters such as colour and turbidity, etc., that may affect the look, smell, and taste of the water.”

Spokesperson for Water Wells First Kevin Jakubec wants the Minister of Environment to publicly and officially declare that the North Kent Wind farm is causing water well interference and he wants Dover Township included in future testing because the recent sampling was too small.

Water Wells First has for years been complaining that wind farm installation and operation can lead to destruction of the aquifers that residents rely on, resulting in toxic black water. The group said the construction and operation of wind farms are the main cause of these water problems, as Chatham-Kent’s aquifers are sensitive to land vibration.

Dr. Colby said the standard of proof would be quite high given the “scientific implausibility” that the tiny ground vibrations from wind turbines could have an effect on well water, particularly when compared to the vibrations from the well pumps.