Saturday, March 22, 2014


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys a front page story titled "Well owners uneasy about Line 9". This article rightly points out the risks to local drinking water wells along the pipeline route. Local councillors, mayors and fire chiefs are all interviewed and seem generally to have a realistic understanding of the threat to both human health and the environment. What I take issue with are some of the rosy suggestions that residents on municipal wells are so much better protected. "Their water is monitored regularily for contamination, including from petroleum products, by regional staff and people are alerted whenever there's a problem."

"...monitored regularily..." Really? I've lost track of the number of municipal in service drinking wells in Waterloo Region last year whose test results in the 2013 Annual Drinking Water Report were not from 2013. Lots were from 2012 and some older.

"...including petroleum products..." Really? There is a former service station in Heidelburg that has been under remediation for years and years. Despite this the Region of Waterloo's Annual Drinking Water Reports for the two municipal Heidelburg wells do not test for three of the most common compounds found in gasoline or diesel namely Toluene, Ethylbenzene or Xylenes. Also there are no test results for the more common F1 and F2 petroleum hydrocarbons that would indicate a nearby longtime leaking service station. Maybe through an unlikely hydrogeological scenario the Heidelburg wells have somehow avoided contamination. Ignoring testing for these above compounds doesn't give me or other informed citizens much confidence however.

"...people are alerted whenever there's a problem.". Oh now that's just too precious. In what universe does this take place? Waterloo Region wells from Cambridge to Woolwich and everything in between have problems and people are routinely reassured that everything is just fine. When was the last time that you or your neighbours were directly advised about decades old Trichloroethylene in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo wells? When was the last time you were directly informed by regional staff that industrial contamination has shut down wells in Cambridge and Kitchener wellfields? Most municipal and regional water problems are "managed" by the Region. This management includes an aggressive public relations campaign extolling the virtues of tap water.

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