New Government, Same Bureaucrats?

So I took a bit of a break with this blog because of the provincial election here in Ontario.  For those of you that don’t know, the Liberal government had been in power for 15 years.  It was time for a change for many reasons but mostly because power held too long is not good for those in power nor for those under that power.

On Thursday, thanks to old election policies, the Progressive Conservatives gained that power here in the province.  I’m not sure what this is going to look like for our water situation but we did have assurances from Doug Ford More Political Rumblings; an Update (leader of the PC party and now premier elect) that should he come to power he will call for a proper health hazard investigation of the sediments in our well.

I am not holding my breath.

There might be a new premier and minister of the environment but all the people that can directly help us are bureaucrats that still sit in the MOECC site offices in Windsor and Sarnia and in the public health offices of Chatham-Kent.

So I guess this post is not so much a news update but a recharge as we wait and see what the new government will (or won’t) deliver for us here in Chatham township.

Similar thoughts captured by Kaitie Frasier of CBC Windsor… PC promise for wind turbines, 401 safety has advocates asking ‘when’?

queens park
Queens Park, Ontario Legislative Building

 

 

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Bits and Pieces

There have been a few things that are happening right as our story continues to make it out there.

A week or so ago, Heather Gingerich, a medical geologist, came by our township to check out what was happening with our well water.   She reported our polluted water to the UN.  You can read more about it here. UN notified of dirty water.

Then the North Kent Wind project personnel had it mandatory bi-annual liaison meeting.  I missed it because I didn’t find out about it until the next day.  Apparently they advertised in the flyer wrap we get once a week (which few read as it is recycled or lost in the ditch).  The last meeting they had we got a postcard in the mail.  Apparently, I didn’t miss much.  The wind company continues to try to hypothesis reasons why the wells have gone black in Chatham township.  Now they are blaming subsurface gasses.   NKW blames other factors for bad wells.

Finally, today, TVO came out with an update on our story.  In it they highlight the call for a health hazard investigations by all the other parties in Ontario except the Liberals. The future of wind turbines up for debate…

There are lots of little things going on right now.  Stay tuned to see what’s next.

turbine in the distance

More Political Rumblings

Earlier this week the MOECC banned the use of pile driving in a project on the western

after the blockage 1
Pile driver at T5 site, where we held our blockade.

edge of our county.  When the MOECC issued the Renewable Energy Act (REA) permit to the Romney Energy project in Wheatley, they stated that the use of piles was not to be used in this project.

When asked in Queen’s Park why the change, the same answer that we have been getting for months from the Liberal government …”We take ground water concerns seriously.”

However, they continue to insist that the pile driving did not affect our water here in the NKW1 project.

There are more details in Ellwood Shreve’s article here.  And at CBC Windsor here.

Again, it does not pass the smell test…or what some of us in this say “I think they broke my BS meter.”

With both provincial and municipal elections coming up in the next few months we are having a lot of people and parties weigh in on this.  The Green Party has backed our call for a heath hazard investigation.  Green Party want a well answer too.

We appreciate the support.

However, we continue to haul water several times a week.

 

 

 

Fetching Water

This post is a bit overdue but the other reality is that there is life that still needs to happen in the midst of all this water stuff.

There have been some more visits with political leaders as we approach June`s provincial election.  Members of our group met with the Progressive Conservative leader, Doug Ford.  His response was lukewarm and I`m not sure if we are going to get any support from the PCs.  You can read more about Ford`s visit here.

On the other hand, we now have the support of the Green Party which has been hesitant to back us because, as a party, they support wind energy.  As we have said time and again, we are not anti-wind, we are pro-water.  The Green Party agrees that clean air should not come at the cost of dirty water.   There is more on that here.

* * *

As we gain support for our fight, the day to day grind of having water in our home can be wearing.  There is an added level of discomfort every time I do a load of laundry, take a shower or flush a toilet.  I know this will mean work for Paul to make sure we have a continuous supply of water.

So, I though I would show you what we do to get water to the house.  Each trips nets us 250 gal and takes about 1/2 hour.  Paul made four trips on Friday as we were pretty low on water.  (Our daughter is home from uni and that extra body requires more water too).

Here is the set up Paul made to haul the water.  We are restricted to the smaller tote as this is all our van can haul…we don’t have a pick up truck or tractor to haul a heavier trailer.

hauling water

Then its four kilometers to the water tower over CKs beautiful gravel roads.

to the water tower

I was hoping to load a video but I have the free-ware version so I will have to give you a series of pictures.  When we get to the tower there are several steps that are taken.

First, Paul puts attachments on the spigot and the tote.  Then he hooks a hose onto the spigot and the tote.  Then he keys in our account and fills the tank.  It is ironic that there is a caution sign that warns about contaminating the drinking water.  (insert eye roll)

caution

Then we head for home.

We have to go slow because of the gravel road and heavy load, over 2000 lbs.   Paul backs the trailer into the garage and drops a submersible pump into the tote.  He plugs it in and then it takes about 10 minutes to empty the tote into the storage tank.

And the process starts all over again.  Paul does 6-8 loads per week depending on how much laundry and dishes we do.

Never take your water for granted.

water-wells-first-injunction-970x400.jpg

War of Words

One of the most frustrating parts of this whole water issue is that the people that are in place to protect people and the environment spin their words, don’t use their words or just plain use the wrong words.

We are told that water is safe to drink but we are shown no studies, lab results or scientific literature that says that the ingestion of black shale is safe or that black shale in inert in the body.

The frustration is growing in this community and for those watching from a distance.

You can read Mary Beth Corcoran’s excellent editorial here.  She is expressing the frustration we all feel when those in authority treat us like we are stupid and don’t know what we are talking about.

Our concerns aren’t just about drinking but with cooking, washing, laundry and watering our animals.  With those in authority presenting no studies to back up their claims and opinions we remain stuck in a war of words between our chief medical officer, the MOECC and the Premiere’s office.

You can see our chief medical officer’s claims in this report.  No Health Hazard?!

Just to see what would happen, my neighbour a few concessions over decided to poach an egg in his “safe” water.  This is what he got…and no that’s not pepper…that’s black shale.

poached egg

In the mean time we continue to haul water.  A 250 gal trip takes Paul almost an hour to retrieve from start to finish.  I hope to be able to tag along and video tape a trip so you see what we have to do to get clean water in our house.

Until then, pray for wisdom and justice in this ongoing situation.

If you want more background on our story you can check out an article I wrote about our story here..

Water shouldn’t be political…

Part of our struggle with clean water and justice in South Western Ontario is that we are struggling against the very agencies that should be protecting us.

To start off,  the municipality of Chatham-Kent is 15% owner in the project that is causing our issues.  Read about it here. So this puts our mayor and council in a conflict of interest any time they act in favour of the project over the concerns of the people.

Secondly, the government agency that oversees wind projects, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), is using vibration data from the wind farm to come to its conclusions.  In this case the government is allowing the polluter to monitor its own pollution rate.  In what other industry does this happen?

Earlier this week, I wrote about Taras Natyshak (MPP NDP Essex) revealing a Hydro One report about pile driving affecting wells.   However, the next day, the bullet about water wells was removed from the Hydro One website.   Chatham Voice article on the Disappearing Blog  This just doesn’t pass the ‘smell test’.

Yesterday, Andrea Horwath (leader of the Ontario NDP) and Jordan McGrail (NDP nominee for Chatham-Kent-Leamington) stopped in Chatham and had the opportunity to meet with families with affected wells and to see first hand, the damage done to local wells.

daves house

We continue to call for a health hazard investigation.  We seem to be ignored by those who have the power and position to do something about our water situation.

andrea horwath

Water Update…Paul spent an hour hauling 500 Gal to our storage tank tonight.