(CHATHAM-KENT, ON) – In the wake of the North Chatham-based North Kent Wind, a 100 megawatt wind power facility, the province has now banned pile driving for new turbine projects. Members of the community activist group Water Wells First can claim victory despite their personal struggles with water quality.
Residents claimed that pile driving for the Samsung and Pattern Energy wind farm caused shale sediment from the Kettle Point Black Shale formation to enter their water wells. Some systems became so silted that water would not flow through the pipes.
The North Chatham residents worked to protect their well water after learning of pollution problems faced by dozens of families in neighbouring Dover Township, where wells began showing high levels of black silt as soon as pile driving started for various wind turbine projects built there over the last eight years.
A third project further south in Romney Township also sits atop the formation. Authorities with the Romney Energy Centre have now been told that they cannot use the pile driving technique during the installation of the 18 turbines near Wheatley.
The decision by the province seems to backpedal from their official stance in North Chatham when officials denied that the pile driving contributed to the well contamination. Reports, generated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, and distributed to families in North Kent, deny the connection and rely on the Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health’s contention that the well water was safe to drink.