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We must act fast to stop the threat to groundwater aquifer in Ontario

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Waterwalkers at the end of their 42 km march to the Teedon gravel pit on November 5. Image: Council of Canadians

The world's purest groundwater is under threat again -- this time from a gravel pit expansion in the Waverly Uplands, the recharge area for a pristine aquifer in Simcoe County, Ontario. Dufferin Aggregates has applied for a 10-year permit to take water at Teedon Pit, which is located just east of the lands that almost became Dump Site 41 back in 2009. That landfill proposal was defeated at the 11th hour, and there is very little time left to stop this current threat.

Expanding the Teedon Pit means cutting down the trees, stripping away the soil, and scooping out the gravel and stone that together make up the "filter" that keeps the groundwater so pure. The company intends to store asphalt and other construction materials on the site, increasing the risk of contamination to the aquifer, and extract millions of litres of water every day in order to wash the gravel. Tell the Ontario government to reject this 10-year permit application and protect this critical aquifer recharge area forever.    

The Teedon Pit is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinabe people of Beausoleil First Nation. Dufferin Aggregates and the provincial government are both required by law to consult with Beausoleil First Nation over the project, but they have not done so. Anishinaabe women (Kwe) are responsible for protecting water and in 2009, a group of Anishinaabe women started the month long blockade of construction of Dumpsite 41 which was the turning point in defeating that landfill. Last November, the women led nearby communities on a two day sacred Water Walk to the Teedon Pit.   

The aggregate industry has long had a free reign in Ontario. The regulations governing quarries and gravel pits are badly skewed in favour of the industry, and communities have little influence in the approvals process. But when we all pull together, we can stop the worst of them. Just a few years ago, Council of Canadians supporters helped to stop the proposed megaquarry near Shelburne, which would have destroyed thousands of hectares of prime farmland as well as the headwaters of several important rivers.

Together, we can do it again!      

Please take a moment to send this email comment to the Ontario government's Environmental Registry before April 23. We will also make sure it goes to Premier Wynne and the Simcoe County Council. 

This article originally appeared on The Council of Canadians blog

Image: Council of Canadians

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