Taras Natyshak MPP, Essex

Government of Ontario

Natyshak: Hydro One wouldn’t pile drive in Chatham-Kent, why did Kathleen Wynne let Samsung do it?

Published on March 28, 2018

QUEEN’S PARK – Essex NDP MPP Taras Natyshak once again called on the Wynne Liberals to complete a health hazard investigation at contaminated wells on local farms surrounding Samsung’s North Kent One wind turbine site in Chatham Kent.

Well water became black and undrinkable at about 20 farms in the area shortly after Samsung began pile driving into layers of bedrock shale in the ground. Natyshak provided the Liberal government with documentation showing that Hydro One, which was responsible for running hydro lines to the wind turbine project, ruled out pile driving because of the risk to local wells.

“For over 100 years, rural families and farms in this area had access to clean, clear and safe well water from aquifers underground,” said Natyshak. “Now they have black water, contaminated with black shale which adheres with heavy metals that can be released into the stomach if the water is ingested. Hydro One ruled out pile driving because they were concerned about the impact on local wells.  Hydro One wouldn’t take the risk – so why did the Premier let Samsung do it?”

In a public report from EBS Geostructural, the contractor for Hydro One which installed hydro towers to connect the Samsung wind site to the power grid, the company notes that traditional deep foundations such as driven pile were not feasible. The reason given was “the potential for driven pile installation to cause issues with nearby active water wells”.

“Clearly there was a potential issue with pile driving in this region of Ontario. Hydro One wouldn’t do it and when Samsung did, local wells turned black,” said Natyshak. “Chatham-Kent residents, hydrologists, academics, engineers, construction companies and even Hydro One seemed to have been aware of the risks of pile driving to the local well water. So why did Kathleen Wynne ignore these warnings? Why is she still ignoring these risks, even when the evidence of black well water contamination is placed right before her eyes?”

The Ontario NDP has committed to developing an Ontario Water Strategy if elected in June. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said the strategy will be based on the principle that the public should have access to clean water for drinking, sanitation and food.