Read Mike Robinson from the Wellington Advertiser's full article.
ELORA – Any approvals for Nestlé Waters’ plans to use the Middlebrook Water Co. spring as a water source seem far downstream – especially since the province has yet to provide permission for initial pumping tests.
Nestlé officials had hoped those tests could start last November. The tests will evaluate the source (quality and quantity of the water)for potential acquisition as a supplementary well to the company’s main production well in Aberfoyle.
The previous permit associated with the site, which allowed the owner to draw 300 gallons of water per minute, officially expired on Oct. 31, 2015. Nestlé Waters is seeking a permit for the same volume but officials said the company will likely not approach the maximum of 300 gallons per minute.
In a recent telephone interview with the Wellington Advertiser, Nestle Waters natural resources manager Andreanne Simard said that in July, Nestlé applied to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) for a permit to undertake a pumping test over a period of up to two years on an existing well.
“We are still awaiting a response from the ministry,” Simard said, adding the company has submitted the proposed monitoring program, which was reviewed by the technical stakeholder committee in early November.
Since then, comments from that group were integrated with the proposal and forwarded to the ministry.
“We have over 30 residential wells we plan on monitoring. We plan on sharing that data and be open and transparent with that data with the residents whose wells are being monitored, the municipality and the ministry,” said Simard, adding the data will also be available at Nestlé’s community office in Elora.
Simard said the operation is at a standstill until Nestlé gets MOECC permission to begin testing. She said the new part is that there is a community office in place on Mill Street, instead of the basement of the Elora library. Office hours are posted on the Nestlé website and in the Advertiser, Simard said.
“If and when we do receive a permit, we’ll take the time to get background data and incorporate that with the collected data,” she said. “Once the entire test is complete, we would hold a larger meeting to present that data.”
She said she could not provide an overall timeline for the project, “given the uncertainty of when we will receive a permit.” Simard added, “We’ve developed our monitoring program proposal, had input from the technical stakeholders committee and provided an application to the province.”
At this point, Simard said Nestlé still does not own the Middlebrook property – “we simply want to test it.”
Noting she lives in Puslinch on a property with its own well, she said, “I do understand the concerns that we are hearing … we are here to work with the community.”