Windsor·Audio

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.

An independent investigation into the water quality of private wells in Chatham-Kent was announced today by the provincial government. We spoke to Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton. 6:00

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.

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