For several years now, we have been keeping a close eye on the ongoing quarrying at the Dolime site owned by River Valley Development. Due to the quarry’s blasting into the aquitard material (the protective layer covering our aquifer) a fissure was discovered in 2006 posing a potential threat of contamination to our ground water source. We have been in regular communication with the City of Guelph, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources and River Valley Development since then acting as a watchdog group concerned with the safety of our water.
On February 13, 2014, Wellington Water Watchers presided over a Press Conference where all 4 candidates in the pending Provincial election came together in support of the City’s appeal of the Ministry of the Environment’s amended water taking permit to River Valley Development (filed to the Environmental Review Tribunal by the City on February 11, 2013).
The City of Guelph requested that four conditions be met:
• water pumping at the quarry to be limited to the “current historic average pumping rate”
• a comprehensive long-term management plan for the quarry that protects Guelph’s water
• an effective monitoring program
• financial assurances and legally enforceable requirements to ensure the quarry owner – rather than Guelph taxpayers – pays for long-term mitigation costs related to the quarry’s operation.
On May 2, 2014, the Environmental Review Tribunal granted the City leave to appeal the amended permit to take water granted to River Valley Development Inc. All of the City’s key arguments were accepted and it was determined that the decision to amend and extend the permit to take water at the DoLime quarry was unreasonable and could result in significant environmental harm.
In a staff memo released on September 12, 2014 the parties to the hearing, (the Ministry of the Environment, the quarry owner and the City) have now agreed to adjourn this hearing and try to find solutions with the assistance of an independent mediator with extensive experience in resolving environmental disputes. The parties have also agreed that the quarry operator will maintain a limitation on excavation in the Vinemount Member (a geological formation which provides natural protection to the municipal aquifer from which City supply wells draw water) to ensure the breach will not be increased while the mediation and hearing process is on-going. A mediation session has been scheduled for October 22, 2014. More information will be released as it develops.
Recent News Related to the DoLime Quarry
We must better protect our groundwater by Mike Darmon
March 7, 2015
Published in the Guelph Mercury