The Highland Companies plans to extract Amabel limestone an unprecedented 200 feet below the water
table. We have been provided with voluminous reports containing technical data that is difficult to understand. The reports focus on unproven technologies to dewater and to redirect primarily surface water. We do not believe that the materials have adequately dealt with the numerous underground streams and other water movements. There does not appear to be ample or any data shown that calculates the location, direction or magnitude of these underground water flows, nor how their disruption, redirection, holding, pumping and reinsertion into the water table will affect properties that are downstream or otherwise dependent upon water running above and below the ground in the proposed quarry area. Can Highland guarantee that it knows the exact location, rate of flow, direction and outflow of all underground water courses? Have they adequately demonstrated that there are no unknown water courses that, when ruptured, could flood the mine or could alter or deprive other landowners of a source of water that they have relied upon for generations? The application lacks evidence to ensure that the pumping gear, that will have to be operated in perpetuity, will be free from build up of bacterial contamination. In addition, The Highland Companies admits that it will be re‐circulating water that contains contaminants which are produced by its quarry operations, including blasting chemicals, salt, oil, particulate and other compounds that they have introduced into the environment.
Highland has stated that it will be using “proven” techniques to manage the 600 million litres of water that it will be displacing daily. Highland has not provided any example of this technique being successfully utilized in a similar situation. There is no comparative example of a 2,316 acre, 200 feet below the water table Amabel quarry at the headwaters of numerous watersheds. If we are to be assured that the technique is a proven one, then that proof must include an example of a reasonably similar situation and undertaking. Highland makes reference to the Holland Marsh, but this is not a good comparison, as the topography, depth of excavation, and existence of underground water features are dramatically different than in the area of Melancthon Township that Highland has chosen. Ontario’s citizenry is entitled to be afforded unquestioned protection against the highly probable impacts that could result from the use of an unproven technique in a situation where the sheer magnitude of the enterprise is mind boggling. The negative implications of a mistake would be a travesty. The watersheds affected by the proposed quarry site provide water to over 1 million Ontario residents. Highland may argue with this number, but they could not argue that the affected numbers would run into the hundreds of thousands. No one should be allowed to play with 600 million litres of water per day without all affected residents being given the highest level of assurance, guaranteed by their government.
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- Published on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 17:57
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Garry Hunter files a report questioning the comparison of the proposed Melancthon Quarry water pumping requirements with the Holland Marsh
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- Published on Sunday, 07 August 2011 17:45
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