A new petition is calling for federal intervention to protect the region’s “exceptional” groundwater.
Spurred to action by companies using water for aggregate washing in Tiny Township and other Simcoe County locales, the petition was hand delivered to the House of Commons this week by Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers.
“This water (Alliston Aquifer) is the gold standard for water worldwide, a national and global treasure,” noted the petition that had 23 signatures by mid-afternoon Thursday.
The petition goes on to note that ancient deposits under the Simcoe Uplands in Tiny, Springwater, Oro-Medonte and Tay townships contain “pristine” groundwater.
Tiny Township is the host to two aggregate wash water facilities: Teedon Pit owned by Dufferin Aggregates at 40 Darby Road, and Waverley Pit No. 2 owned by Sarjeant Company Ltd at 1379 Baseline Road South.
Last year, CRH Canada Group Inc. (Dufferin's parent company) successfully renewed a permit to take water from Teedon Pit for aggregate washing. The permit is under appeal by Tiny Township and a local citizens group.
Under the company's existing permit, it is authorized to take up to 6.8 million litres of water per day for the washing of gravel and other on-site uses. The water is taken from a source pond and a production well located on the property.
The petition goes on to point out that two adjacent pits have licences to take gravel and have applied for 10-year permits to take 1.6 million litres of water daily for washing gravel for 180 days annually.
“Ontario legislation applies minimum water quality standards,” reads the petition, pointing out that leading Canadian experts propose a five-year study into how this purity is created and maintained.
“Removing vegetation, topsoil, sand and aggregate threatens this natural filtration system. Research could help identify exceptional water worldwide and isolate natural features useful in purification systems.”
AWARE Simcoe chair Don Morgan also sent out an email to members encouraging them to sign the petition and forward it to their contacts.
“This unique and precious global resource is threatened and federal intervention is urgently needed,” Morgan wrote, pointing out that for thousands of years, the water has been protected and filtered by the soils and vegetation of the Simcoe Uplands.
Morgan noted that the groundwater surfaces through abundant, naturally flowing artesian springs that feed the Wye River and two significant wetlands, making for a dynamic aquatic ecosystem.
Added Morgan: “We are looking for support from across Canada to preserve this national treasure.”
Earlier this year, Tiny explored whether it's been taxing aggregate companies "correctly."