Chatham-Kent officials say ministry promises 'immediate action' on water well issues

Officials in Chatham-Kent said "immediate action" will be taken after they sat down for a meeting with ministry representatives Thursday.

'They took our concerns very seriously and committed to working to deal with the issues'

Members of Water Wells First, a water advocacy group in Chatham-Kent, blockaded several wind turbine construction sites on August 18 to protest government inaction on pile driving they believe is pushing sediment into their drinking water. (Yvonne Profota)

Staff from Ontario's Ministry of Environment and Climate Change will be meeting with well owners in Chatham-Kent after the municipal government demanded construction of wind turbines be stopped until water quality concerns could be answered.

Officials in Chatham-Kent sat down with ministry representatives after reports five water wells near the North Kent Wind project had become clogged with sediment residents claim are caused by pile driving. The government maintains it requires pile driving companies to complete vibration testing and water quality monitoring while work is going on.

Members of Chatham-Kent's council said the ministry will take "immediate action" after the Thursday meeting.

In a statement issued after the meeting, spokesperson Jim Blake described the response from the ministry as "positive" and added the municipality's request that work be stopped until a more thorough investigation can be completed is still before the premier's office.

"Ministry officials were open to the fact that there needs to be better communication," said Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley, who put forward the motion that construction be stopped.

"They took our concerns very seriously and committed to working to deal with the issues," he added.