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News Article

Quarry foes say pit will endanger wells

The Hamilton Spectator CARLISLE (Jun 27, 2005)

An Ottawa expert warns a huge proposed quarry in northeast Flamborough could dry up nearby creeks, wells and wetlands and threaten the quality and quantity of municipal well water in Carlisle.

Quarry opponent Graham Flint calls it a "huge red flag" for the 2,000 people who depend on the Carlisle communal well system.

Hydrogeologist Kenneth Raven of Intera Engineering Ltd. was hired by the anti-quarry group FORCE.

He says a preliminary study by Gartner Lee Ltd. for Lowndes Holdings Corp. was based on inadequate groundwater testing, failed to estimate how much water the quarry would pump and underestimated the extent to which the surrounding water table would drop.

David Lowndes wants to open a 96-hectare quarry on the Flamborough-Burlington border that would move 900 truckloads of stone a day. The pit would ultimately be 34 metres deep.

Gartner Lee estimated pumping needed to keep the quarry dry would lower the ground water level one metre at a distance of 250 metres.

Raven calls that "not a credible estimate," and says the impact will be much greater, enough to change the pattern of underground water flow in a wide area, possibly pulling contaminants toward the four city wells in Carlisle.

Stephen Hollingshead of Gartner Lee said he could not respond to Raven and stressed his company's study was only a preliminary report.

He said his company is about to deliver to Lowndes a much more comprehensive report.

Flint, spokesman for FORCE -- Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment -- says the Intera report will go to city officials this week and be published on the Internet at www.stopthequarry.ca. He believes people in Carlisle -- who have faced water-use restrictions for years -- should worry about the possible impact on their water supply.

Based on available data, Raven concluded ground water would drop 13 metres as far as one kilometre from the quarry. That could leave some nearby wells in danger of going dry as average well depth is 15 metres. Wells as far as 2.5 km away would be affected. He also said pumping could at times dry up provincially significant wetlands.


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