DWPI has “No Comment” at tribunal hearing

At a preliminary hearing by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal held Tuesday, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. (DWPI) lawyers refused to explain why the corporation, which has erected 316 transmission-line poles between its wind farm and Hydro One’s Orangeville Transformer Station will not make mitigation plans public as requested by Melancthon Council and residents near the right-of-way.

Citizen concerns arising from pole bore holes extending into the local aquifers, possibly allowing for ground water contamination, and fears that the pentachlorophenol (penta), a wood preservative coating the entire length of the poles, may travel into surrounding wells, prompted Green Party candidate Karren Wallace to file for the hearing as a private citizen.

The panel for the preliminary hearing, held at Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex in Shelburne, included Dirk VanderBent, Vice Chair of the Environmental Review Tribunal, and Tribunal member Justin Duncan.

The Tribunal is an independent body that hears public appeals under the Environmental Protection Act. Also present were Sylvia Davies, lawyer for the Director of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Control (MOECC) and lawyer John Terry plus an additional lawyer for DWPI. The hearing was to confirm procedural directions for the main hearing to be held in the new year.

Ms. Wallace had said previously that her objection was based on DWPI’s mitigation plan for transmission lines never having been formally approved. The transmission poles, located alongside the County-owned rail corridor, will carry power from 49 new turbines in Melancthon to the transformer station near Dufferin 109 and the 3rd Line of Amaranth.

Ms. Wallace looked at the issue of possible health risks posed by DWPI penta-covered transmission pole holes, many surrounded by water, some constructed in wetlands, and others near manure piles, “Walkerton had one conduit for contamination,” she said. “We now have 316.” Continue reading DWPI has “No Comment” at tribunal hearing

The First Overseas Wind Power Projects Invested by a Chinese Power Generation Enterprise is Completed and Put into Operation

On Nov. 17, China Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited affiliated to China Guodian Corporation held a press conference in Ontario, Canada and announced that the Canada Dufferin wind power project, the first overseas wind power project invested by a Chinese power generation enterprise was completed and put into operation.

 The Dufferin 100MW wind power project was invested and constructed by China Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited affiliated to China Guodian Corporation, one of the five major power generation groups in China. According to the introduction, the Dufferin wind power project is currently the largest wind power project invested by China in Ontario. A total of 49 GE WTGs have been installed in the wind farm and the annual on-grid energy is expected to be 300 million kwhs, which can meet the demand for electricity of about 30,000 households in Ontario.

Xie Changjun, vice president of China Guodian Corporation, who made a special trip to attend the project completion and putting into operation, said that the Dufferin wind power project is currently the first and the only wind power project invested, constructed and operated overseas by a China’s state-owned power enterprise itself.

Continue reading The First Overseas Wind Power Projects Invested by a Chinese Power Generation Enterprise is Completed and Put into Operation

DWPI transmission poles on right–of–way

Two transmission poles erected by Dufferin Wind Power Inc. (DWPI) on the 4th Line OS of Melancthon are on the right of way, just a step from the road proper where snow ploughs and local traffic will soon be navigating slippery winter conditions. CAO Denise Holmes of Melancthon Township told the Free Press that, “Concerns were raised during the Leave to Construct process by Council, our Acting Road Superintendent and our Engineer, but our concerns, as well as many others were all dismissed during that process. Council had requested right up front and before this project was even started, that they wanted the lines to be buried. Had DWP adhered to our request, we would not have this issue. When the province rejected the Township’s request for buried lines the Township was not given opportunity to review or approve the final pole locations.” Continue reading DWPI transmission poles on right–of–way

“Down Wind” blows a Conservative current

The Sun News documentary Down Wind was on screen at Grace Tipling Hall in Shelburne on November 15th for a crowd of about fifty on lookers. Focusing on industrial wind turbines in Liberal Ontario, the rather drawn out production highlights the truly tragic stories of rural families and communities torn apart by their ‘ill effects’ as the whirling towers, some up to 550 feet high, churn out costly electricity at the expense of their health and welfare. Sun News released Down Wind one week before the last provincial election in June, raising the question of whether or not Ontario turbine casualties, who have been treated with the disregard of lab mice by all levels of government, were once again the victims of a political agenda. Continue reading “Down Wind” blows a Conservative current

Green candidate gets hearing on transmission line

Karren Wallace, Dufferin-Caledon Green Party candidate in the June Provincial election is still working for constituents despite a disappointing return at the ballot box.

In response to pleas for help from Melancthon residents over suspected health risks posed by Dufferin Wind Power Inc.’s (DWPI) construction process for transmission poles, Ms. Wallace studied the issues and concluded that the amendments to DWPI’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA,) deemed by the Environmental Board Review to have an “insignificant” effect on the environment, could be potentially harmful.

On October 20, she presented a formal request to the Environmental Review Tribunal for a hearing regarding the Amendment to REA No. 5460-98BPH8 held by DWPI. She received approval for the hearing on October 31st – a big step forward for those who felt abandoned by all levels of government on the issue.

The transmission poles, located alongside the County-owned rail corridor, will carry the power from 49 new turbines in Melancthon to the Hydro One transformer station on the 3rd Line of Amaranth. Construction started last spring and Ms. Wallace says she heard from friends and neighbours “that DWP was violating their site plan agreements.” Continue reading Green candidate gets hearing on transmission line

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