Chatham-Kent council is backing repeated calls by affected residents for the province to do a full all-hazard investigation into their dirty well water like they promised they would a few years ago.
The province promised to conduct a full all-hazard investigation during the election campaigning in 2018, but residents from North Kent were not happy with what transpired. They said the province didn't analyze sediment from their wells and they want the province to complete the testing as promised.
Jessica Brooks still blames pile driving by nearby winds farms and told councillors at their meeting Monday night it's been six years since her family has been able to use water from their well and wants the investigation re-opened.
"Before the construction in the summer of 2017 we had a usable well that was within the Ontario parametres for turbidity and other measurements. After construction we continue to have turbidity levels well above acceptable rates. We went from a 3-4 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Unit) pre-construction to over 75 NTUs. That's the difference between a clear glass of water and a mud puddle," said Brooks.
Executive Member of a group called the Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns Denise Shepherd said the complete testing is urgent because families have suffered for years and are concerned for their health and well-being.
"The focus now is the importance to determine what health risks families are facing by digesting particles contained in heavy metals with subsequent bio-accessibility testing and I suggest that these tests be conducted with some urgency," Shepherd said.
The residents said even heavy duty filters don't work to prevent particles from entering taps because they are too fine to capture.
Families also told council that the re-sale value of their homes has dropped because of the dirty well water.
Councillor Rhonda Jubenville brought the turbid well water issue back into the spotlight by making a motion asking the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to formally request and "strongly encourage" the Ontario Ministry of Health to proceed with completion of specific health hazard testing that remains incomplete following the All-Hazard investigation.
Jubenville said results from a recent analytical testing of sediment from nine private wells in North Kent showed concentrations similar to concentrations known to exist in Kettle Point Black Shale, which has heavy metals that are potentially toxic and dangerous.
The winds farms the residents claim are responsible for the turbid water wells are North Kent 1 Wind Farm, the East Lake St. Clair Wind Farm, and the Boralex Wind Farm.
MPP Monte McNaughton told CK News Today his government promised an expert panel to study water wells and it kept that promise.
"While some want more wind turbines in Chatham-Kent, Premier Ford and I continue to stand up for residents, as we did when we cancelled the Otter Creek wind turbines and the Green Energy Act," said McNaughton.
The Ministry of Health told CK News Today it was just made aware of the motion and will be taking it into consideration for future decisions on well water testing in Chatham-Kent.The Ministry of Health previously responded to local concerns about the incomplete testing, saying it 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.
The Ministry previously reported the All-Hazard investigation in May of 2019 found “no widespread health risks” in the area’s well water used for drinking and washing, but did find the water quality in North Kent is poorer when compared to well water from outside of the area and the general water quality in the North Kent 1 area has deteriorated significantly between 2017 and 2021.