Protect Our Water
Save our Water: Stop the Expansion of the Teedon Gravel Pit
- FoTTSA has joined the fight against the expansion of the Teedon Gravel Pit (northward) and the renewal of its permit to take water.
- This quarry is in Tiny Township near the aquifer that supplies pure water for most of North Simcoe and beyond and was threatened over 10 years ago by Dump Site 41.
- Residents near Teedon Pit who rely on groundwater began reporting silt in wells and local streams soon after the aggregate operation expanded in 2009. Silt has also been observed recently in the artesian well water at the water kiosk on County Road 27 just north of Elmvale.
- In addition to the environmental risks posed by the extraction and the washing of gravel so close to the aquifer, the quarry running at capacity would mean 40 trucks an hour arriving and leaving the pit.
- The Township of Tiny is being sued by the pit owners, CRH Canada Group Inc, because the Township did not alter its Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow for the northward expansion into French’s Hill. FoTTSA supports Tiny Council and has been granted party status in the lawsuit.
- The environmental consequences for the future are so serious that the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) has agreed to represent FoTTSA pro bono.
What you can do:
- Sign the petition – print out the Petition and collect signatures and then return the paper copies to your local MPP. Alphabetical contact list: https://www.ola.org/en/members/current/contact-information N.B. MPPs present petitions to the Legislative Assembly. Petitions need to be on paper in order to be submitted: https://www.ola.org/en/get-involved/petitions
- Stay informed and tell your friends – follow FoTTSA on Instagram @tinycottager_fottsa and the Friends of the Waverley Uplands on Facebook
- Finance the fight – CELA is providing free legal assistance but FoTTSA is responsible for all CELA’s expenses (travel, hotels, photocopies, supplies) and for the cost of retaining essential witnesses like a hydrogeologist and a planner. These expenses will amount to thousands of dollars. Help us by making a donation to FoTTSA by PayPal, e-transfer or cheque and indicating “Save Our Water” tinycottager.org
Weekly Friday Protests
Facebook page: Friends of the Waverley Uplands
Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition Aggregate Reform Review – May 1st, 2019 -Aggregate extraction in Tiny Township has increased more than 60% since 2000. This is an excellent overview of the the aggregate industry in North Simcoe and its impact on the environment now and in the future.
Public Meeting – Sunday April 28, Elmvale – Dr. John Cherry: Groundwater – What is it? Where does it come from? Where does it go?What does it consist of? What are the risks to it and What can we do to protect our groundwater for future generations? Dr. John Cherry is the Director, University Consortium for Field-Focused Research and principal investigator, G360 Institute for Groundwater Research at the University of Guelph. The public meeting was co-sponsored by AWARE Simcoe and the Elmvale Foundation.
Aware Ontario Teedon Pit Overview
Simcoe Aware Aggregates Page
2019 Teedon Pit Extension Application to MNRF under the Aggregate Resources Act
2012 Planning Application to Township of Tiny – Expansion of The Teedon Pit
By Peter and Jenny Anderson and Christopher Williams
From the Fall/Winter 2018 Tiny Cottager Newspaper
The Friends of the Waverley Uplands, a group of like-minded community members, continue to work towards greater stewardship and protection of the Alliston Aquifer, whose headwaters are sourced locally in the area of French’s Hill. In addition to responsible stewardship and protection of this aquifer for future generations, we are committed to sharing information and research with public and elected officials, encouraging action, and preserving this pristine aquifer. Many members are veterans of the Site 41 fight, and several were asked to sit on the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) established by the Teedon Pit operations of CRH Canada Inc. As reported in earlier Tiny Township Council meetings, there were significant gaps in the CRH water taking permit application currently before the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. CRH’s application did not include any information regarding the final disposition of the millions of litres of water pumped for use in gravel washing operations. As a consequence, our members on the CLC encouraged CRH to drill additional monitoring wells around the perimeter of their current operations so that we could establish important baselines. This information was necessary to determine upper and lower aquifer flows, and specifically whether the gravel wash ponds were leaking sediment laden wash water into the upper aquifer, resulting in contamination of a number of nearby drinking water wells. To date, our meetings with CRH have confirmed the following:
- CRH was in receipt of the Wilf Ruland hydrogeology report. This report points to the Teedon Pit on French’s Hill as the source of sediment contamination in area wells.
- Operationally, CRH reported they are actively mining the west wall and that the crusher plant and wash plant are now beside each other and in full operation. They remain 40 meters above the established water table (they are permitted to excavate within 1.5 meters). Seven new monitoring wells have been established and CRH has committed to posting daily data on their website.
- The new wells only report on groundwater levels as opposed to data regarding off-site contamination of water wells by the wash plant.
- CRH confirmed that they only use calcium dust suppressant on the paved asphalt at the plant exit and do not use any type of flocculant in the wash pond.
- CRH indicated they plan to amend their site plan to exclude the northeast wetlands area from proposed development. Our members asked CRH to remove the receipt of asphalt and construction materials from their permit. This would reduce the risk of contamination to this vulnerable aquifer.
The June meeting then transitioned to a lengthy discussion regarding traffic safety, noise and vibrations that were impacting homes near the entrance to the pit. Tiny Council has requested a staff report to address road shoulders, speed and a community safety zone. These issues consumed the remaining time. The most recent CLC meeting took place on September 13, 2018. A shout of thanks go out to all the organizers and attendees for their continued support. Although our MPP Jill Dunlop and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner were called to an emergency meeting of the House and could not attend, we were fortunate to have Beausoleil First Nations Chief Guy Monague in attendance. He spoke to the greater issues of First Nations’ challenges across Canada and emphasized the importance of water as the lifeblood of our community. The meeting was largely a report from CRH’s hydrogeologist. CRH took a firm position that their operations and “no quarry worldwide” has negatively impacted groundwater. Their data to date, from seven new wells, confirm that the groundwater flows from east to west. Ironically, the previous hydrogeologist offered by the quarry was of the opinion the flow was only to the east. They also have taken a firm position that silted water cannot move laterally from the silt pond. This is curious, as we know of local groundwater springs that are milky with sediment. This conflicting information highlights why much more study is necessary. Unfortunately, CRH have rejected the findings of hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland and dispute the opinion and findings of environmental geochemist William Shotyk (Professor and Bocock Chair for Agriculture and the Environment at the University of Alberta), while praising their relationship with the inspector from the ministry. John Cherry, a world-renowned hydrogeologist and Professor Emeritus at University of Waterloo, University of Saskatchewan and University of California, Berkeley states, “the wealth of the plains depends on the health of the hill.” He also stated recently that “the single greatest threat to groundwater in Ontario is the Ministry of the Environment.” In conclusion, the reliability of the CRH opinion has to be weighed against the biased lens of their agenda. We should not be surprised by their findings. However, now that they have taken a clear position, it is time to challenge them with a set of “alternative facts” from key players and scientists whose only interest is the purity of the water.
To learn more, follow The Friends of the Waverley Uplands Facebook page