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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
Water Update…Paul spent an hour hauling 500 Gal to our storage tank tonight.
So my husband has been working long and hard to get a working and safe water system in the house to bypass our ruined well. Today he got haulage problem worked out. So here’s what we have to do to get water now.
First we take this food grade tote on our utility trailer over to the municipal water tower in the next community. Then we fill the tote and haul it back to the house.
For now, until we have a better pump system, we use gravity to empty the tote into a container. From there its pumped into our storage tank with a submersible pump. We need to figure our this last piece yet but it works for now.
So, keep in mind that our storage tank is 1550 gallons and our tote is 250 gallons…that’s all our vehicle can haul. So that’s four trips to the tower to fill our tank. This is still a more workable plan than paying someone for haulage.
We are thankful that we have a working water system in the house be we are acutely aware of every drop of water we use as this will translate into time and energy refilling the storage tank.
As I’ve said before, the parts of this story can move very quickly and this week was one of them. Taras Natyshak (NDP MPP Essex) stood up in the House of Commons again this week to speak out for our wells.
He presented the government with a pretty damning report from Hydro One. In the utility’s report about connecting the NKW1 project to the grid, Hydro One stated that they could not use piles to anchor the electrical towers because of the potential to “cause issues with nearby active water wells.”
So yesterday was World Water Day. There was so much coverage about how society is working to keep water clean, protests about placements of oil pipelines, water programs for third world countries and the risk of plastic in our water.
At the beginning of last year, we decided as a family that we would avoid single use water bottles as much as was possible. Ironically, later in the year we lost our well to wind turbine construction vibration damage. This week we continue to work out the glitches of our new water system so on World Water Day I had to buy bottled water and haul water jugs.
I had to buy water in plastic bottles (and refill plastic jugs in town) so that my family has clean water to drink.
Last year, we had clean water at our finger tips from our well. The water from the well came from an ancient aquifer that was destroyed in the pursuit of money. We struggle with feelings of anger and helplessness as we continue to watch our Ministry of the Environment approve projects that they know will hurt the ground water supply. I continue to read articles about gravel quarries, water bottling companies, land fills and turbine projects that destroy groundwater in the province of Ontario.
World Water Day seems to focus on surface water. What I didn’t hear a lot about was groundwater. I have found that there is very little (if any) protection for aquifers even though over half a million Ontarians get their drinking water from these ancient sources.
I have been following the stories coming out of Cape Town, South Africa (read about it here) and the Peak Water Crisis that is hitting many regions of the world. In Ontario, we have such an abundance of water we usually take it for granted. We should be taking a serious look at how we use and conserve our sources of water.
I have been told that we should “just hook up to municipal water”. That’s all fine but where does the municipality get its water? Where does that water come from?
We really need to take a serious look at our attitude toward water and the impacts that we will be having on our children and grandchildren.
We hope that by tomorrow we will have an operational water system. We still haven’t figured out how we’re hauling water yet but we still have water for a few more days.
Today, March 21, 2018, the water tank that we have been using since August was removed by order of the wind company. They did this because the MOECC said that the damage done to the wells in the area are not a result of wind turbine construction (though they had no other explanation).
So we are left to find our own supply of water. The recommendation of the MOECC is that we go back on our well. Our water still looks like this…
However, we are grateful to our community who is helping us put together our own water system. We have put a tank in our garage and hooked it up through the house so we won’t have to worry about freeze ups next winter. (No, we don’t think this will be resolved anytime soon.) We have yet to figure out how to haul the water but have some options.
The ongoing financial and emotional burden of this water issue feels very heavy. However, we continue to see God’s provision through the people around us. Whether that’s helping out with obtaining the necessary tools and equipment, help putting the equipment together, going above and beyond as neighbours or financial help. We are grateful for the circle of support.
Paul has been working late for the last number of nights to get our new system up and working. We still have a few glitches to sort out but hopefully we will have running water in the house by tomorrow.
It’s been longer than I would have liked, to post another update. That’s the funny thing…as the information changes quickly, its hard to stay ahead of it.
I want to give a bit of a back story. We have been at this water protection thing for almost two years. But our lack of water started in July, 2017. In our case, pile driving for wind turbines near our house started on July 27, 2017. By the end of the next day the water quit coming into the house in the middle of someone’s shower.
We found that the sediment traps we had installed to monitor our water quality ahead of the construction were clogged with sediment. We had never seen this before.
We lived for a week without running water. We flushed toilets with rain water, bathed at friends and neighbours houses, used the laundromat and hauled jugs of water. What made it more difficult was that the kids were detassling corn which is hot, dirty work. Not being able to shower when they got home was a real irritant. We also had a full dishwasher of dirty dishes that had to be washed.
By the next weekend we were able to get a water tank hooked up to the house so water usage was somewhat normal. The water tank was paid for by the wind company as there was a condition in the building permit that required them to provide water tanks in the case of any well interference.
Fast forward eight months…our government (MOECC) is telling us that even though they don’t know why so many wells in the area went black during pile driving, they are sure that pile driving did not cause the issue. With this information in hand, the wind company feels free to leave us without water even though the ground is frozen. We will be losing our tank this week. There will be more on this in the next few days.
Yesterday was a big day. Members of Water Wells First group were invited to Queen’s Park for a media presser. We were invited by Taras Natyshak (NDP MPP for Essex). This is when you get to speak in front of a room of media people and live feed cameras while sitting in front of a bank of flags.
We were invited because Taras had visited our community a couple of weeks ago and seen the issues with the water wells. He is not impressed with our local MPPs who are not doing a whole lot to help us.
After we did the presser we sat in on Question Period. Taras got himself thrown out of the House for a prop display with our black water. This got us a lot of attention.