A PDF copy of a Summary of all comments received along with a PDF copy of the issued Permit to Take Water are attached to this EBR decision notice.
Comment: Concerns about increasing the vulnerability of the aquifer, as the source pond will act as a direct access point.
Response: The pond is located outside the well head protection areas of the Gilbert Well Field. The unadjusted intrinsic vulnerability of the aquifer is already high. With the removal of aggregate from above the groundwater table, the intrinsic vulnerability does not change. A clause has been included in the Site Operational Plan under the Aggregate Resources Act which states that a hydrogeological assessment needs to be submitted for approval by both MNRF and MOECC prior to below water table aggregate extraction.
Comment: Need for updated well use study.
Response: An updated water well survey dated April 22, 2014 was submitted to the ministry.
Comment: Studies do not satisfy MOECC's own technical guidance document.
Response: The Company was asked to provide more information in regards to local water wells and pesticides. This added data as well as other data obtained from the Municipality was reviewed prior to the decision.
Comment: The Company should be required to install the new monitoring well prior to commencement of extraction for the source water pond.
Response: This is a requirement under the monitoring conditions in the Permit.
Comment: The Company should be required to develop and implement a plan for updating and recalibrating groundwater flow modelling.
Response: Monitoring and reporting conditions are included in the PTTW and Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). These conditions will require that the Company collect and interpret information to demonstrate whether or not the taking of water and the washing of aggregate impacts groundwater and/or surface water features.
SURFACE WATER COMMENTS
Comment: There is potential for impact to the existing pond and wetland.
Response: The data does not indicate that the water taking will cause a significant impact on the overall ecosystem function of the existing pond and wetland. A monitoring program is included in the PTTW to address any potential impacts.
Comment: Concern over the potential impact to Gilbert Creek.
Response: The extensive data on Gilbert Creek collected by the County of Brant and the modelling completed by the Company does not indicate that there will be a measurable impact to Gilbert Creek.
Comment: Concern over the potential temperature and dissolved oxygen impact to rare fish species in the Grand River.
Response: The data does not indicate that there will be a measurable impact to the Grand River.
Comment: Some modeled scenarios indicate possible impact on cold water fish habitat in Gilbert Creek.
Response: These scenarios were not realistic water taking scenarios as the return water was not taken in account in the model runs.
WATER QUANTITY COMMENTS
Comment: Concern about site water taking peaking when the municipal water taking also peaks.
Response: Based upon groundwater models including Well Head Protection Areas, it is unlikely that the taking of water by the Company will impact municipal water taking. As a precautionary measure, monitoring conditions have be included in the Permit to detect impact should it occur.
Comment: Pond will periodically fall within the real cone of influence and will impact the town wells.
Response: The taking of the water should not threaten the Gilbert Well Field Capture Zone at its current consumption in terms of quantity or quality. Monitoring conditions will be imposed to detect any impacts on the capture zone under future consumption rates.
Comment: Paris water restrictions contradict the Company’s view that there is ample water to cover both the PTTW and the town's needs.
Response: Water restrictions are imposed in Paris due to the existing storage capacity of the system. These restrictions were put in place in order to reduce the capacity required for lawn watering which helps to control costs. It is only during Level 3 Conditions that external use of water is prohibited.
Comment: Concerns about impact on specific well.
Response: The data does not suggest any anticipated well interference.
Comment: The Company should be required to identify the potential impacts on water levels around the pond and develop a plan that mitigates them to an acceptable level.
Response: Groundwater levels in monitoring wells on the edge of the site will be monitored during construction to ensure no offsite impacts.
Comment: Request that the Company identify potential nitrate impacts and develop and implement mitigation measures.
Response: Nitrate levels in the Telfer Wells are attributed to agricultural fertilization practices in the area.
Comment: Concern about potential future expansion and effect on the municipal well fields.
Response: A new PTTW application would be required for an increase in water taking and would include supporting technical studies.
Comment: Concerns about chemical residues (including Atrazine) from historical farming becoming concentrated.
Response: This issue is addressed in the context of the Company's ECA Application.
Comment: Low water levels would concentrate the effects of runoff pesticides and fertilizers and be transmitted to communities all along the Grand to Lake Erie, endangering even more communities.
Response: A change of land use from agricultural to extraction will reduce the amount of runoff and encourage in situ infiltration. Pesticides and fertilizer will not be used in the area of aggregate extraction.
Comment: The Company’s plan to control contaminants should include contaminants found in the soil from historical uses and from application of pesticides and herbicides on neighbouring properties.
Response: The use of pond sediment in the rehabilitation of the Paris Pit is a condition of the Site Plan. This is addressed in the context of the Company’s ECA Application. Conditions have been added to the ECA to ensure that the ministry is notified and consulted when sediment pesticide levels reaches a trigger point.
Comment: Concern over agricultural spray being washed into the Grand River, a source of drinking water.
Response: There is no indication that any concentration of pesticides in agricultural spray will exceed the Canadian Water Quality Guideline for the protection of aquatic life or the Ontario Drinking Water Guideline. A monitoring program is included as part of the ECA conditions.
MONITORING PROGRAM COMMENTS
Comment: There are no clear objectives, trigger levels or contingency measures for the monitoring program.
Response: A condition is included that will require the proponent to prepare and submit a Trigger Mechanism and Contingency Plan for both groundwater and surface water prior to the construction of the Source Pond.
Comment: Provide for adjustments to the intensity of monitoring, either more or less intense, based upon results of analysis of historical data.
Response: The monitoring program can be adjusted by an amendment to the PTTW and/or ECA if warranted.
Comment: Monitoring program should recognize the advancement of science and emerging health related issues.
Response: The monitoring program can be adjusted by an amendment to the PTTW and/or ECA if warranted.
Comment: The Company should develop and implement a monitoring plan using data loggers and should use data to confirm its assumptions.
Response: Monitoring and reporting conditions will require that the Company collect and interpret information to demonstrate whether or not the taking of water and the washing of aggregate impacts groundwater and/or surface water features.
Comment: Request that the Company identify evaluation criteria and develop and implement a monitoring plan now for potential below water table extraction.
Response: Addressed in the Paris Pit Site Operational Plan which is regulated under the Aggregate Resources Act and administered by MNRF.
AGGREGATE LICENSE COMMENTS
Comment: Concern about contaminated material in pond conflicting with the license agreement.
Response: Concern addressed in the context of the Company’s corresponding ECA Application.
Comment: The Company should develop a detailed pit plan and communicate it to interested authorities for review.
Response: This matter is under the jurisdiction of MNRF.
Comment: The Company be required to grade the pit floor to prevent pooling of surface water and promote infiltration as far from the Telfer wells as reasonably possible.
Response: The control of surface water is addressed by the Operational Plan which is regulated under the Aggregate Resources Act and administered by MNRF.
Comment: Concern about rehabilitation of the site to agriculture and amount of nitrate needed.
Response: The rehabilitation of the site is addressed by the Paris Pit Site Operational Plan which is regulated under the Aggregate Resources Act and administered by MNRF.
OTHER – GENERAL COMMENTS
Comment: Asks that any reports required to be submitted to the Province and other authorities also be sent to the County.
Response: Transparency provisions have been included in the PTTW and ECA instruments.
Comment: County requests that quarterly meetings be held on site where staff of interested authorities review and evaluate pertinent matters with the Company.
Response: The County is encouraged to contact the Company directly with their request.
Comment: Province should commission an independent review of the ecological evaluation report of the natural ponds on the site.
Response: The information and conclusions provided in the ecological assessment were reviewed by Ministry staff and found acceptable, therefore, an independent review is not required.
Comment: Request all provincial and federal regulations and best practices related to drinking water and the environment be followed.
Response: The ministry complies with Provincial legislation and regulations, ministry guidelines, as well as its operational guidelines.
Comment: Request that the Province develop and implement a plan to monitor on site sanitary sewer and report to interested authorities.
Response: Small septic systems are regulated under the Building Code which is administered by the municipality.
Comment: The County requests that the Province develops and implement a plan to monitor on site fuel storage and handling and report to interested authorities.
Response: The Company's on site fuel storage and handling is regulated under the authority of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).
Comment: The County requests that the Province develops and implement a plan to monitor material importation and report to interested authorities.
Response: The importation of materials on site by the Company is regulated by the Paris Pit Site Plans (3 of 5) under the Aggregate Resources Act and administered by MNRF.