Thursday, May 30, 2019


We are advised in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record in an article titled "Cambridge wells to be turned back on after fuel spill" that two wells near the Shade's Mills reservoir are going to be put back on active duty shortly. According to the Region's website under "Water and Wastewater" there are four wells in the Shade's Mills system namely G7, G8, G38 and G39. Of course in this article the Region are not telling us which or how many wells were shut down in the first place or which ones are being reactivated. We certainly don't want paying consumers of the Region's water to be overly informed on matters of health, life or death now do we.

The Region are waiting on test results from those wells prior to restarting them. My suspicion is that the simple act of closing the wells over the last four months has greatly assisted in reducing the likelihood of those four wells drawing jet fuel contaminants both into the deeper aquifers and towards these wells. Remember that the initial spill was on the surface and into Mill Creek. Certainly the bulk of the uncaptured and uncontained spill has been flushed well downstream into the Grand River long ago. Hopefully Mill Creek does not have locations where it is in close contact with deeper aquifers although that certainly does occur in Elmira where the Canagagigue Creek is in extremely close contact with our municipal aquifer.

Also of interest near the end of this article is the reality that jet fuels which we were told months ago do not dissolve in water, in fact do dissolve to a limited extent. The key is the word "dissolve". The proper terminology should have been that jet fuel does not FULLY dissolve in water. That is much more accurate. In other words similar to gasoline and oil the bulk of it floats on the surface of the water however there is a small quantity that does dissolve into the water. Quoting this newspaper article "Sample results show concentrations of parameters related to the jet-fuel spill are stable and below protective surface water guidelines". The amount that dissolves is referred to as the solubility in water and the maximum possible solubility of the various components of jet fuel most certainly exceed the Ontario Drinking Water Standards. Therefore it's all about when and where you sample the surface water. Sample it the day after the spill one hundred metres downstream and the results will be bad. Sample it four months after the spill a couple of kilomtres downstream and you will likely get much safer concentrations.

No comments:

Post a Comment