- Fri. Jun. 7, 2013
FORCE recipient of Environmentalist of the Year award
- Wed., Apr. 24, 2013
Mahoney: Quarry foes set to celebrate holding their ground
- Mon., Apr. 8, 2013
Quarry battle over opponents say
- Wed.,Mar. 27, 2013
FORCE ready to celebrate quarry victory
- Thurs., Mar. 14, 2013
My View: The community that could
2007 Annual Report
Water - Cool, Clean and Clear...For Now
|We moved here from the city four years ago. My husband could not believe that cold and delicious water ran freely from our kitchen faucet. He's a city boy, so it was a novelty. I was raised in the country and was shocked by my first experience with town water. It didn't smell right and it tasted odd. After that, I bought water - until I moved here. That makes me wonder, "Won't the water that is bottled locally be at risk from a quarry? Just like our wells, and the Carlisle tower?"|
|I've read the application from ST MARYS and it seems to me that they want to punch holes in a strip of land until it looks like a piece of Swiss cheese. And that's only for testing! Won't those holes be open to the aquifer?|
Clean water is a scarce and precious resource. Campers purchase ceramic filters to create potable water in the back country. Here in Flamborough, nature has done it for us. Our water has been safe to drink, untreated, from wells because dolostone rock has acted as a filter -13 storeys deep! That's why our opposition to the proposed quarry has had the threat to our water supply at its centre.
The proponent's application for a permit to take water for the purposes of testing has focused attention where it should be - on water quality and quantity. This is not a single pump test. It is three independent pump tests performed over a 12 month period with the intention of testing theunproven ground recirculation system (GRS). In essence, the 2006 application proposes to cut a 1 metre deep trench into bedrock for a length of 150 metres (longer than a football field); to drill boreholes (first at 10 metre spacing, then at 5 metre spacing) and then to blast the rock to create fractures. The objective of the trench and boreholes is to return the pumped water to the aquifer. The trench appears to be for passive filtering through bedrock; the boreholes appear to be for injection of surface water directly into the aquifer. The creation of fractures appears to be an additional method of taking surface water into the aquifer. This bedrock has successfully filtered the water for generations of families and thousands of people, but holes and fractures become pathways for bacteria and contaminant entry. This vulnerability is a key reason why our community objects to this application.
We are also concerned about the volumes proposed in the 2006 application. The upper limit of the volume of water to be pumped daily is 12,700,000 litres. Put into a scale that is understandable, 12,700,000 litres is the equivalent of filling 50,800 bathtubs every day. If done for 20 days, that's 1,016,000 bathtubs! That's not palatable for communities with watering bans. Nor is it acceptable for families who remember the summer of 2005 when one evening, no water at all ran from the taps in Carlisle.
The good news is that many positive "little things" are beginning to add up on the water protection front. We urge readers to visit www.stopthequarry.ca to truly appreciate the wave that is building.
- Citizens protested the PTTW application with over 600 letters and e-mails to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) during December 2006. In January 2007 the MOE reported that more study of the application issue was needed.
- The City of Hamilton's Senior Project Manager, Source Water Protection, in November 2006, identified significant concerns with the application for a permit to take water for testing. Stringent monitoring was requested along with an early warning system such that the City could demand that "pumping rates be reduced or cease altogether if groundwater levels and/or yields around Carlisle drop to a point at which the municipal water supply can no longer be sustained". There was an additional recommendation that no pumping test be conducted during seasonally low levels of groundwater flow (i.e. June, July, August).3
- The City of Hamilton's Public Health Department formally notified the Ministry of the Environment in a four page letter that pumping up to 12.7 million litres a day might reduce, or contaminate ground water supplies needed by nearby housing and the Carlisle Rural Settlement Area should ST MARYS permit application to take water for purposes of testing be granted. The proposal presents enough risk to identify a possible public health hazard.4
- Hamilton/Halton Source Protection Committee was announced on November 27, 2007. Councillor Margaret McCarthy is a member, as is former councillor Dave Braden. This committee and others like it around Ontario are charged with fulfilling responsibilities under the Ontario Clean Water Act. The role of the Source Protection Committee is to guide the development of the source protection plan and to ensure that all relevant information is being taken into account when protecting our sources of drinking water. The Source Protection Committee will be responsible for developing three pieces of documentation that will complete the source protection planning process: 1) a Terms of Reference, 2) an Assessment Report and 3) a Source Protection Plan.5
- In partnership with Environmental Defence, FORCE conducted a Postcard Campaign putting Premier McGuinty on notice that citizens expected the government to act on its commitment to clean water. It began with a full page advertisement in The Spectator (January 8th) and regional weeklies (the Flamborough Review, Halton Compass and Milton Champion). Over 1000 postcards and over 600 e-cards were sent to the premier by citizens between January and March 2008.
- Hamilton City Council voted unanimously on February 27th, 2008 to support Councillor McCarthy's motion that Council a) bring to the attention of the Provincial Government its concerns regarding potential adverse impacts on the Carlisle groundwater-based municipal drinking water system b) request the Provincial Government, through the Premier and the Ontario Minister of the Environment, to fully consider the potential ramifications of the proposed development and c) before any provincial permits or approvals are issued for the proposed St. Marys Quarry, the province should require a formal review by the Halton/Hamilton Source Protection Authority, as part of the local source protection process.6
- The PTTW permit still has not been granted, as of the date of writing.
"Keeping source water free of contamination is smarter, safe, and more effective than cleaning up problems after the fact."
L. Broten, former Environment Minister