The province is launching a health hazard investigation into contaminated well water in Chatham-Kent.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton is flanked by MPPs Rick Nicholls and Bob Bailey, announcing a health hazard investigation into contaminated wells. July 19, 2019.

After years of complaints from residents, primarily in North Kent and Dover, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton has announced a five-member independent panel will try to determine whether private well water is safe to drink.

“There’s been dozens of complaints, dozens of people who aren’t drinking the water from their well, but the advisory panel will look at these 189 wells,” McNaughton says. “They’re going to be operating independently as an expert panel, and they’ll determine the exact number of wells (to be included in the study.)”

The panel will include four toxicologists and one local geologist.

Affected families have long maintained the belief the increased sediment and black shale found in their well water is a direct result of construction and operation of nearby wind turbines.

“This is going to look at water quality, water safety,” McNaughton says. “I’m not going to pre-suppose what the answers are going to be, what they’ll come back with, that’s up to the expert panel. I think it’s important that this operates outside of government.”

The panel will be taking a fresh look at new samples collected from wells where residents have raised concerns about the water quality. Samples will be taken by a third-party business to a commercial laboratory for testing.

McNaughton says that while there is no set time restrictions on the investigation, he knows residents are looking for answers sooner than later.