Taras Natyshak MPP, Essex

Government of Ontario

On World Water Day, NDP again calls on Wynne Liberals to do health hazard investigation at contaminated wells in Chatham Kent

Published on March 22, 2018

ESSEX – NDP MPP Taras Natyshak says that World Water Day should be a reminder to Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government that they are failing families located near Samsung’s North Kent One construction site in Chatham-Kent who have black well water coming from wells on their farms.

Natyshak and the group Water Wells First were at Queen’s Park recently demanding that the Ministry of Health perform a health hazard investigation at the farms to investigate the black water.

“Families in Chatham Kent are being let down every day by the Wynne Liberals,” said Natyshak. “These folks have lived on their farms for generations and never had a problem before – but now their water is undrinkable.  Even when confronted with the black water during question period – the Liberals claimed it is safe. It’s disgusting that families in this area don’t have access to clean drinking water, it’s shameful and it has to change.”

Local residents have had the black water collected and analyzed by scientific experts who have found the water contains Black Shale sediment. Black Shale is a known environmental hazard because it contains heavy metals, yet residents have had trouble getting the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to take the issue seriously. Natyshak has had reports that farmers are so concerned about using this contaminated water that some are feeding their livestock bottled water instead.

“The next step for these families is a health hazard investigation,” said Natyshak. “On World Water Day, I hope that the Wynne Liberals will do the right thing and start the investigation immediately. No one in our incredibly prosperous province should go without access to clean drinking water – whether that is these families in Chatham Kent, or Indigenous communities, some of which have been on boil water advisories for decades.”

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.