Province announces independent investigation into Chatham-Kent water wells

“Our government made a promise to strike this panel,” said Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton. “Today we are fulfilling that promise.”

'Our government made a promise to strike this panel,' said MPP Monte McNaughton

Protesters with Water Wells First chained themselves to tractor wheel weights outside the North Kent Wind project on Aug. 29, 2017. (Derek Spalding/CBC News)

Premier Doug Ford's Ontario PC government announced Friday that it's launching a new health hazard investigation in Chatham-Kent.

The goal is to determine if water from private wells in the region is safe for consumption.

According to advocacy group Water Wells First, nearly 80 families have to filter sediment from water wells on their property. The group believes sediment was dislodged into their drinking source during the construction of wind turbines. 

"Our government made a promise to strike this panel," said Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton in a media release. "Today we are fulfilling that promise."

Five experts have been named to the panel:

  • Geologist Dr. Keith Benn
  • Toxicologist Dr. Ron Brecher
  • Toxicologist Mark Chappel
  • Environmental health scientist Dr. Glenn Ferguson
  • Epidemiologist Dr. Shelley A. Harris

McNaughton says the panelists are independent from government. Their findings, which will involve sampling "up to 189 private wells," will be released to the public.

He wouldn't commit to a firm timeline for the panel to publish their report.

When asked if his government is ready to pay for any remediation if required, McNaughton said it was too early to comment.

"Let's let this run its course," he said. "The people will hear and see what this independent panel will come back with — and we'll go from there."

Tap to hear McNaughton's full conversation with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre.


Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?