Media Release

Brant citizens' group seeks environmental appeals

Nov 13 2015

Paris, Ontario - Citizens in Brant County are seeking to appeal an industrial sewage works approval and a water taking permit issued by the Ontario government that would allow a company to operate an aggregate washing operation at a gravel pit, which it received a licence for over 40 years ago but had never used until late 2014, on, or immediately adjacent to, the wellhead protection area for the Town of Paris water supply.

The group, Concerned Citizens of Brant (CCOB), filed leave to appeal applications on November 13th with the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal arguing that a provincial government decision to issue a permit to take over 10 million litres of water per day for 6 months of the year for 10 years from the groundwater system in an area that increasingly experiences drought conditions, appears unreasonable. When the decision to permit the water taking is combined with the establishment of sewage works that could concentrate herbicides from past area agricultural use in soils and sediments that will be spread one meter above the water table as part of the rehabilitation of the gravel pit, the decision of the government appears not only unreasonable but becomes a source of potentially significant environmental harm.

"The main herbicide of concern", said Nick Greenacre, a spokesman for CCOB, "is atrazine, which is suspected of being an endocrine disruptor, and has been banned by the European Union and in Switzerland where it is manufactured".

"It is bad enough that the Ministry of Natural Resources thinks that it is a good idea for aggregate operations in 2015 to be based on a 40-year old licence", said Joe Castrilli, a lawyer at the Canadian Environmental Law Association, representing CCOB. "It becomes very problematic for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to start issuing approvals that may both exacerbate the impacts of climate change, and past use of herbicides, in the area".

The company, Dufferin Aggregates, was owned by Holcim (Canada) Inc. until August 2015 when ownership was transferred to CRH Canada Group Inc., of Concord, Ontario.

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For further information, please contact:
Ron Norris, CCOB Co-Chair, 519-442-5343 Nick Greenacre or Anne Ehrlich, CCOB members, 519-442-2399
Joe Castrilli or Ramani Nadarajah, Canadian Environmental Law Association - 416-960-2284, exts. 218 or 217; castrillij@sympatico.ca or Ramani@cela.ca