Dufferin Wind’s utility pole sealing program hits a snag

Dufferin Wind Power Inc.’s remedial utility pole sealing plan got off to a sluggish start.

Faced with delays in sealing more than 300 utility pole foundations to guard against the possibility for groundwater contamination in Melancthon and Amaranth, Dufferin Wind missed the initial Sept. 15 deadline imposed by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

Although Dufferin Wind has been granted more time, a memo written to municipal officials by Gary Tomlinson, senior environmental officer with the MOE, stresses the need to get the work done as quickly as possible.

“Everybody recognizes the necessity of getting this project completed before the onset of the seriously rainy fall weather,” he wrote, expecting it will take until at least mid-October to complete the remedial work.

According to Dufferin Wind spokesperson Connie Roberts, more than 70 per cent of the work has been completed. The expectation is that it will be done by the end of the month, she added.

“However, at this point, I have stressed to everyone involved that getting the process and required work done right is more important than meeting an arbitrary deadline,” Tomlinson added.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approved Dufferin Wind’s plan to construct a 230 kV transmission line from its 49-turbine wind farm in Melancthon to Amaranth last year.

Earlier this summer, the MOE asked Dufferin Wind to revise those plans after a local resident argued some of its utility pole foundations could act as conduits for surface water pollutants to enter the groundwater supply.

“We’re at the headwaters and if there is a potential that we are going to pollute the water stream, then obviously that concerns me,” said Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill. “That affects an awful lot of people from a broader area beyond Melancthon.”

When asked to comment on the specifics of the sealing program, Dufferin Wind officials referred The Banner onto the MOE. While it considers the potential for water contamination to be low, the MOE has acknowledged it as a possibility.

That’s because the retaining structures, or caissons, used by Dufferin Wind lend to the accumulation of surface water in and around the bases of the utility poles.

Dufferin Wind has agreed to address the possibility these caissons could transfer surface pollutants, such as fertilizers, into the bedrock in the event of heavy rain run-off or flooding.

“The ministry has found no evidence to suggest that negative impacts to the local potable water aquifer are occurring,” MOE spokesperson Kate Jordan said in an email. “The ministry believes the (sealing) program to be an effective mitigation method going forward.”

The work consists of installing a benonite clay seal both inside and outside of caissons. Getting the materials into Canada was difficult though, according to Tomlinson.

The only North American supplier of the type of clay required to provide a proper groundwater barrier is locared in Wyoming. There was an additional delay getting the benonite clay across the border as well.

“I can’t claim to understand what the holdup was with the Canadian Border Services Agency, but the crossing didn’t go smoothly or quickly,” Tomlinson noted.

Other factors contributing to delays included difficulties finding a contractor on short notice, as well as vandalism. Copper has been stripped from some of Dufferin Wind’s utility poles, Jordan explained.

“Based on what we’ve been told by the ministry, it was not an intention delay,” Hill said. “It was circumstances beyond their control.”

While the MOE is satisfied by the measures taken, Hill isn’t brimming with confidence. Since the transmission line runs through its abandoned rail lands, he said county officials are keeping a close eye on the situation.

“I’m not sure (the MOE) are keeping as close an eye on it as I’d like to see,” Hill said, who has written to the ministry several times. “I want some assurances that the ministry has the resources to monitor this.”

Another concern raised by local municipalities is Dufferin Wind’s use of pentachlorophenol (penta). The entire lengths, as opposed to only the bottom, of the poles have been treated with the wood preservative, Hill argued.

“The stuff is on the outside of the entire height of the pole, then obviously that can seep down,” he said. “It is an added concern for possible pollution.”

MOE officials aren’t worried though. Jordan said Health Canada and Environment Canada have both approved the use of penta as a wood preservative on utility poles.

“Penta treated poles stuck in the ground and exposed to groundwater … do not present any particular hazard to the natural environment,” she said. “The ministry has no concerns with the entire length of the poles being treated with penta.”

By Chris Halliday
Published in the Orangeville Banner, Oct. 8, 2014

Warning to Dufferin County Residents

mel-015-web“This is a warning to local residents that live in Dufferin county near the 230 kV power line that the local wind company is installing. 301 poles have been installed incorrectly. They have been drilled into the water table without properly sealing them. This company has been drilling since spring and has been given until mid to end of September to mitigate the problem by MOECC (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change) Garry Tomlinson . Meanwhile there is possible water contamination to all local wells in this area. If you live anywhere near this power line you should contact your township or Scott Burns of Dufferin County for more information.”

“If you want to see this disaster start heading north on rail line starting at Holmes agrico on 3 rd line . Go through amaranth township , town of Shelburne Melanchthon township where it ends at county rd 21 and 3 rd . This area is where they have drilled through a pile of cattle manure in to the water table if you want prof of this contact Garry Tomlinson of the MOECC. None of these poles are sealed from the top or bottom this allows all contaminants like herbicides pesticides oils all run from farm fields to enter into the water table.”

By slednaut
Posted on OWR website, July 31, 2013

Shelburne council wants plans before Dufferin Wind Power proceeds

Tension filled the Shelburne Council chambers Monday night when Town staff and councillors faced a large delegation of Dufferin Wind Power (DWP) representatives.

The wind turbine company began constructing a 230-kilovolt underground transmission line on the County-owned former CP Rail rail corridor last week. Council, concerned about a letter of review from their municipal engineer, wanted to see the DWP plans, which they had expected to receive prior to construction commencing. Continue reading

Wind Turbines take terrible toll on animals

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I’ve recently reported on the bizarre behavior of animals, 1,600 miscarriages, and fetal deformities at a mink farm in Denmark after the installation and full operation on September 2013 of four 3-MW VESTAS wind turbines within a short distance (328 m) from Kaj Bank Olesen’s fur farm

Mark Duchamp, Chairman of World Council on Nature, released an update on June 23, 2014 that farmer Olesen now believes that when the wind blows from the South West where the wind turbines are located, “mother minks attack their own puppies.”  Olesen put down over twenty mink pups and forty are under observation because of deep bites.

The online Aoh.Dk referenced how, since the wind turbines “began to spin last fall, the number of stillbirths and deformed puppies increased fivefold.” Farmer Kaj Olesen Bank also explained, “The proportion of females that refused to mate has quadrupled as compared to last year when there were no wind turbines behind his mink farm.” Continue reading

Shelburne has woken up to wind project realities

Golly gee Shelburne. You have only now woken up to the realities of the Dufferin Wind project. Now you realize that it is not just a Melancthon issue. Only when it is in your own backyard do you actually take notice. You have finally discovered that DWP only plays nice until they get what they want from you.

Despite the warnings from various citizens in letters to Shelburne council and from a  community group, you only now notice what is happening. You were warned so you can’t say that you never saw that coming. We told you so.

(see links to newspaper postings about Shelburne’s issues: http://www.orangeville.com/news-story/4583545-shelburne-left-in-the-dark-by-wind-project/  and http://citizen.on.ca/?p=2179 )

 

Dufferin Wind project poor “corporate citizen” says Shelburne Council

This story should be a lesson to every council in Ontario listening to the proposed gifts and community benefits proffered by wind power developers. As one mayor told the Not A Willing Host group meeting in Ottawa last year, Once they’ve got everything they want from you, it’s no more mister nice guy.

The Town of Shelburne is now up against Dufferin Wind which is flouting safety rule openly, even where children are concerned, refusing to provide details on the project, and generally being a bully.  Read Banner story.

Posted June 18, 2014 on Wind Concerns Ontario

Council wants more data before DWP proceeds with 230kv line

Tension filled the Shelburne Council chambers Monday night when Town staff and councillors faced a large delegation of Dufferin Wind Power (DWP) representatives.

The wind turbine company began constructing a 230-kilovolt underground transmission line on the County-owned former CP Rail rail corridor last week.  Council, concerned about a letter of review from their municipal engineer, wanted to see the DWP plans, which they had expected to receive prior to construction commencing. Continue reading