Landowners who want to ensure they can mount a challenge if they believe an industrial wind turbine is damaging their water well will need to have the proper baseline testing done by a qualified tester.
The Water Wells First citizen group introduced the person they have enlisted to conduct this baseline testing before construction starts on the North Kent 1 wind farm project in the Chatham Township area during a public meeting in Oungah last week at Country View Golf Course.
Bill Clarke, a retired hydrogeologist, told those in attendance that well interference is a change in the quantity or quality of somebody’s water well caused by something that is being done nearby.
Water Wells First has been raising concerns that it believes vibrations from industrial turbines, constructed with piles being driven into the heavy metalladen Kettle Point black shale bedrock formation in the region, have damaged water wells in Dover Township.
The concern is the same will happen when turbines are erected in the same fashion for the North Kent Wind project.
While the baseline water testing Clarke is conducting costs about $2,000, he said it is being done through a legal chain of custody that is viewed as acceptable in a court of law.
He said this is “extremely important” because what has been found in Dover is that people observed a change in their water wells as far as an anecdotal story goes, according to the Ministry of Environment.”
But, there isn’t a “before criteria” in comparison to what’s happened in time based on the observation of the residents, Clarke said.
He added: “The Ministry of Environment has told us straight out that this is interesting and of concern, but there is a very doubtful way that this could be entered into the Ontario Water Resources Act, reg. 903, in order to say this is truly a well interference, because we don’t have the scientific support to follow that course of action.”
Clarke said the samples being collected in the North Kent Wind project area are “representative of pre-construction, pre-disturbed or better still, historical, like thousands of years that’s been the status of the aquifer.”
He added obtaining “pre-construction” samples from wells in the North Kent Wind area provides the chance to see if groundwater quality changes with the construction of wind turbines in the area.
Of particular concern is the heavy metals such as uranium, arsenic and mercury found in Kettle Point black shale bedrock.
Clarke said these materials are so fine that it is difficult to filter them out, so it causes water systems to not function properly.
Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for Water Wells First, told the crowd he and a few other residents have found turbidity tests done by AECOM, the firm hired to do baseline well testing for the wind developer, don’t seem to be accurate.
“It seems to be extremely inaccurate,” he added.
Jakubec said he did a “challenge test” by taking water samples to a lab in Windsor.
“We saw that when we compared the turbidity on the field test that AECOM took to the test that were taken from another lab ... they don’t jive, they’re really out.”
Lab results from Windsor on the turbidity of his water were 0.2 to 0.4 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) compared to a score of 31 the AECOM testing showed for turbidity on his well water that looked clear, he said.
Jakubec said a letter has been delivered to Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. CEO Gi Yong Seo, asking that his corporation stop construction of the North Kent Wind farm and that it invest in groundwater research before allowing pile driving construction into sensitive aquifers.
He noted a response has not been received yet.
We saw that when we compared the turbidity on the field test that AECOM took to the test that were taken from another lab ... they don’t jive, they’re really out.