Puslinch councillors ponder Nestle water report

Councillors here will await word from hydrogeologist Stan Denhoed of Harden Environmental before making comments on Nestle Waters Canada’s annual monitoring report.

On May 4, Puslinch council received the 2015 annual monitoring report from Nestlé Waters’s Aberfoyle site, which Mayor Dennis Lever called  a “thick document.”

Councillor Matthew Bulmer  said it was interesting to see mention made of the hydraulic connections between the various aquifers.

“I think it is interesting to see the hydraulic connections between the Amabel Aquifer (used by Nestlé for production) and Guelph Aquifer and overburden surface water layer,” said Bulmer.

He said it is important because while there are separations between the various aquifers, “there are also a lot of existing older private wells which may have inadvertently created connections between them.”

“I’d be interested in checking with Stan Denhoed to see if there was any advantage to figuring out how many of these wells exist.”

When Bulmer had met with Andreanne Simard from Nestlé, Simard indicated Nestlé might be willing to work with local residents to address these because it would be for everyone’s benefit.

Bulmer asked if Denhoed could look into the matter and whether it could have an impact on the upcoming renewal of Nestlé permit to take water at the Aberfoyle site.

Mayor Dennis Lever remembered Denhoed actually talking about this same issue about three to four years ago. Lever believed some work was done, “but I don’t know how far he got.” Lever said he could see Nestlé’s concern in any potential interaction between the aquifers.

Bulmer said the interest would not just be for Nestlé, but anyone else with wells in the aquifers.

Council Wayne Stokley agreed Denhoed should be given the opportunity to review the Nestlé reports. Stokley added the township consultant had reviewed other such reports in the past.

CAO Karen Landry noted the report was forwarded to Denhoed to review in light of Nestlé’s permit to take water application renewal.

Stokley also voiced his concern regarding the downward movement of water when pumping increases – not just movement from different aquifers, but the potential for contamination.

Lever pointed out details of Nestlé’s report are defined by the Ministry of Environment.

Stokley said, “Is this something we could ask them to be more proactive in … not because they have to … but because it is their best interests? It’s important all of us work together on this. It’s water that we have to protect … not only for ourselves … but for this business … it seems like a no-brainer.”

Lever suggested Nestlé be contacted first to determine what sort of chemical analysis was done regarding its monitoring wells. He suggested it may or may not be a component of the company’s annual report.

Councillor Ken Roth noted one aspect of the Nestlé report indicated one well, previously in place to provide fire protection, was being taken offline.

“Has the fire chief been informed … just to be on the safe side and ensure fire protection remains the same?” asked Roth.

Lever agreed there needs to be follow up with the fire department as well.