Water Wars: Wind Turbine Construction Destroying Underground Water Supplies in Ontario

Pundits have predicted that the next major war will be sparked over water. In Ontario just such a battle is (pardon the pun) well underway.

A couple of weeks back STT reported on the destruction of underground water supplies in Chatham-Kent: Ontario: Water, Water Everywhere – But Thanks to Wind Turbines – Not A Drop to Drink

While that story has clocked up almost 4,000 hits, it seems we only just scratched the surface.

Locals are furious, not just at the fact that once pristine water supplies have been turned to toxic sludge, they are wild at the way wind power outfits and their pet consultants are lying about the cause.

The first story goes right to the heart of that piece of wind industry spin.

Debate Continues on Water Wells and Contamination
Ontario Farmer
Jeffrey Carter
20 February 2018

Geological engineer Maurice Dusseault wasn’t surprised to hear that Chatham-Kent water wells were contaminated in the wake of pile driving for wind turbines.

“Pile driving emits a lot of low-frequency energy, and it is not at all surprising to me that there could be related groundwater effects. The concept of large-amplitude, low frequency excitation as an aid to liquid flow is reasonably well-known,” the University of Waterloo professor said.

“Low frequency deformation waves are absolutely known to lead to fluctuation in ground water levels as well as changes in the particulate count in shallow groundwater wells.”

In addition, Dusseault said affected residents were well-advised in having their wells baseline tested prior to construction last summer. It’s the type of evaluation he recommends.

Before and after tests sent by the Water Wells First citizens’ group to RTI Laboratories in Michigan show an exponential increase [in] turbidity among the 14 affected wells, including [a] large proportion that can be attributed to Kettle [Point] black shale particles that are known to contain heavy metals, including uranium, arsenic and lead.

That’s not the conclusion reached by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, as outlined in letters recently sent to affected well owners living near the North Kent One project in the northern part of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

While there’s been an admission that wells have indeed been contaminated, that contamination can only be attributed to “unidentified factors.”

Pile-driving activities associated with wind turbine development are not to blame, the MOECC maintains.

The MOECC, in coming to its conclusion, relied upon the vibration evaluations prepared for the developers Samsung and Pattern Energy, by Golder Associates Limited. Golder measured changes to particle velocity as a measure of vibration intensity created by pile driving.

“The ministry has reviewed Golder’s assessment and agreed with the conclusion that any pile driving -induced vibrations at your well would have been much lower than those created during common daily activities around the homes,” a letter to one of the affected families states.

The parameters used by Golder, however, may be flawed….

“This is a complicated issue because there is reason to believe that it is the very low frequencies that may perturb the aquifer, whereas higher frequencies have no effect. Thus, if their vibration sensors are not picking up the low frequencies (lower than one Hertz), it would be difficult to make general comment about the vibration,” Dusseault said.

Heavy equipment was used to drive steel beams to the black shale bedrock, located 50 to 70 feet below the soil surface, to anchor each of the North Kent Wind turbines. The aquifer from which most well owners in the area draw their water is located just above the shale.

According to Dusseault, pile driving emits the same type of low frequency vibrations created by distant earthquakes — a phenomenon known to affect groundwater wells.

The same type of vibration could be created by the operation of the turbines, “if there are continued low frequency but reasonably large-amplitude excitations set up by the wind turbine through the connection to the foundations seated in the rock … and of course this is based on direct evidence (earthquake-induced effects), not indirect inference (peak particle velocity) for which there is not a proven causality,” he said.

“Earthquakes, even [distant] ones, are known to affect groundwater wells, altering the levels of the water, perhaps generating turbidity … It is clear there are substantial effects from distant earthquakes, even though the peak particle velocity locally is essentially zero, as measured the way they [Golder] do.”

Dusseault is well versed in his field, having spent three years as a roughneck and drilling mud technician while completing his BA and PhD in the 1970s. He occupied a Research Professor Chair at the University of Alberta funded by the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority and, in 1982, became Chairman of the Geological Engineering Program at Waterloo. He has co-authored two textbooks, over 470 conference and journal articles, and works with industry as an advisor and instructor.

Others, all experts in their fields, were already lined up with concerns related to groundwater impacts from the North Kent One project when Dusseault added his voice.

These include: John Cherry, director of the University Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Contamination Research at the University of Guelph; the executive director of the Ontario Groundwater Association, Craig Stainton; hydrogeologist Bill Clarke; lifelong well-driller Ken Wade, who has an intimate, first-hand knowledge of Kettle [Point] black shale; and the owner of Water Elite in Chatham, Bob Kennedy, who’s been working with well owners in Southwestern Ontario for 40 years.

Then there are the impacted well owners themselves, many of whom say that issues with their wells [began] only after pile-driving operations in the area commenced. They cite stunning visual evidence of contamination, water from wells literally black with suspended particles and, in two instances, plumbing systems clogged with particulates to the point that they need to be replaced.

The group has begun to gather allies including: members of the Walpole Island First Nation; area MPPs Bob Bailey and Monte McNaughton; area NDP candidates in the coming provincial election; and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent which called for a halt to North Kent Wind project last year despite having invested in the project.

The experience of the affected well owners appears to line up with Dusseault’s view of the situation.

Dave Lusk, for instance, recorded water bubbling up at the wellhead on his farm in the wake of pile-driving near his home.

A few miles to the west, Marc St. Pierre, said the level of turbidity in his recently constructed well appears to vary depending on the direction and intensity of the wind powering turbines near his home.

Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for Water Wells First, said his own well has been contaminated. He and other well owners fear that the tanked water supply currently being provided by the North Kent Wind developers could soon be removed, now that the MOECC has concluded pile driving and turbine operation is not linked to the contamination of their wells.

Water Wells First members, frustrated with the response from the MOECC, are now looking to the Ontario Ministry of Health to look at the risks posed by the contamination.

The group has issued an alert to all water well owners in the region. Even if their well water is running clear, there may be reason for concern. An evaluation of black shale particulates in contaminated wells shows that the majority of the particles are smaller than what can be detected by the human eye.

There are longstanding concerns related to black shale deposits, including the Kettle [Point] black shale formation in southwestern Ontario. A 1990 report by the Geological Survey of Canada says the deposits are a potential threat to human health and the environment, including when they are in close proximity to sources of potable water.

The concerns have been dismissed by Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health who concluded that there is no health risk from undissolved particles in water when no bacteria are present. Jakubec, however, said there are at least two potential pathways through which the heavy metals in black shale particles can enter the human body.
Ontario Farmer/Wind Concerns Ontario

Good to see that the powers that be in Ontario keep acting as lackeys for big wind, rather than sticking up for their constituents, which is what they’re paid to do. But that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with a cult.

Those in the employ of the wind industry are, of course, paid to lie, fudge and obfuscate, as appears in detail below.

What the wind industry’s victims are left with though, is the thoroughly unnecessary destruction of landholder’s rights to access a safe and healthy water supply.

When we say ‘unnecessary’, we mean it: Ontario has abundant hydro, nuclear and gas power available 24 x 365; and, as this site continues to point out, heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind power is pure, childish fantasy. No country ever powered itself on the wind; and no country ever will.

Meanwhile, the disaster just continues to spread.

Four landowners complain of water woes in North Kent Wind farm area
Chatham Daily News
Ellwood Shreve
27 February 2018

Jim and Angie Leveille didn’t experience water well problems when pile driving took place for the North Kent Wind farm near their Caledonia Road home, but they knew it was just a matter of time.

That time, they say, came Sunday morning, just four days after some turbines with the North Kent Wind project began operating on Wednesday.

Jim Leveille said when they lost water pressure shortly after his wife took a shower and put in a load of laundry, he decided to check the pump for the well.

He found his well system was plugged.

The citizen group Water Wells First began sounding the alarm in June 2016 that vibration from pile driving during construction and operation of the North Kent Wind farm would stir up the Kettle Point black shale that lies at the bottom of the aquifer area residents draw water from.

“We were just holding our breath,” Leveille said, after not encountering well problems that several others, including his neighbour, experienced since last summer when pile driving began for the wind project.

“We knew whoever was close was going to get the shale particles right away and once they started vibrating the whole aquifer we knew we were going to get it.”

Welling up with tears, Angie Leveille said, “it’s a five-year-old well. I’m still paying the loan on this well and it’s ruined.”

Jim Leveille added they had $4,000 worth of baseline tests taken before any work began on the wind farm showing their water was perfect.

Angie Leveille said the testing “proved what we already knew.”

Rick Goetheyn is also among four property owners not affected from pile driving, but have seen their wells go bad since turbines began operating.

“I was hoping that it would not happen to me . . . then all of a sudden Saturday it starts,” he said.

Goetheyn said on Saturday morning the water from the well for his Pioneer Line home was cloudy and by supper time it was black.

He didn’t do the baseline testing recommended by Water Wells First, noting that he drilled his well in 1991 and “I’ve never had an issue until now.”

Goetheyn said he is fortunate that he hooked into municipal water several years ago, which he only ran to the outside hydrants on his house.

Noting he doesn’t like the taste of municipal water, he only uses it for such things as watering the lawn and washing vehicles.

Both the Leveilles and Goetheyn are troubled by what they see as a lack of response by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Control on this issue over the past several months.

The ministry recently sent letters to some other property owners whose wells have gone bad, stating it agreed with reports by the wind developer’s consultants that the vibrations from pile driving for the project were not enough to cause the water quality issues they have experienced.

“We thought they were here to protect us and they haven’t done nothing to help,” said Jim Leveille of the MOECC.

“I don’t understand how they let it go so long,” said Goetheyn. “It’s terrible.”

The Chatham Daily News contacted Pattern Energy, a major partner in the project along with Korean industrial giant Samsung Renewable Energy.

A company spokesperson provided a media statement and a well findings brochure along with a link to a nearly 11-minute, professionally produced video on the North Kent Wind project, available at northkentwind.com.

It was also pointed out the area has experienced flood conditions recently.

The media release stated extensive investigations determined the conditions associated with the complaints were not related to the construction of the North Kent Wind turbine foundations, adding the MOECC’s own review agreed with the complaints investigations.

“The highest vibration levels recorded at the residential water supply well locations were attributed to water pumps and nearby traffic,” the company’s media release states. “Vibration levels at the water well locations from construction activities were inconsequential and much less than everyday sources.”

The release also notes water quality or quantity concerns appeared related to well construction, the condition of existing well pumping and treatment equipment, ongoing maintenance or lack of maintenance in combination with the natural conditions in the region.

“In the majority of investigations, filtration systems installed between the time of baseline sampling and the complaint were found to be improperly connected between the pump and pressure tanks, resulting in added stress on the pumping systems,” the wind developer’s media release states. “When these filtration systems were bypassed, the water flow rates were normal.”

However, it is the shale particles that are of primary concern, said Water Well First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec.

He noted the group’s expert who testified at an Environmental Review Tribunal in the fall of 2016, included modeling that showed during the operation phase of the wind farm it would send vibrations into the aquifer.

“It’s all identical, it’s sediment release,” Jakubec said of the impact from the vibrations whether caused by pile driving or operating the turbines.

However, he is optimistic about a meeting last Thursday between Water Wells First experts and members of the MOECC technical branch.

Jakubec said the MOECC were presented findings of black shale – known to contain heavy metals including mercury, arsenic and lead that are harmful to human health – that were found in contaminated wells.

“Now we’re making progress,” Jakubec said, adding the ministry now has the evidence of black shale in these wells.

He believes this obligates the province to initiate a health hazard investigation. Jakubec said the citizen group has requested the Premier of Ontario shut the North Kent Wind farm down while this investigation is conducted.
Chatham Daily News

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

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