By  | March 4, 2014 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Cambridge's Dirty Drinking Water, Community

water simcoe





There are three water systems not mentioned yet and they are the Pinebush Well System, the Shades Mill System and the Turnbull Well System.

The Pinebush System consists of wells P10, P11 and P17.

The P stands for Preston and these wells are located just slightly east of the former Ciba-Geigy, now Novartis.

Page 2 advises us that only two of the three wells are in operation at a time and normally P10 operates alternately in conjunction with P11 and P17.

The wording on page 2 regarding the operation of these wells is identical for the last three reports/years. Here’s where it gets a little odd.

The current report (2013) indicates that the Pinebush System operated for 52 weeks last year and there is no mention of any of the three wells being down or off-line at all. The 2012 Report however states that well P11 was off-line for 9 weeks and well P17 was off-line for 7 weeks. Finally the 2011 report states that well P10 was off-line for 23 weeks, well P11 off-line for 25 weeks and well P17 for 26 weeks.

Also we are advised that the whole Pinebush System was off-line for 18 weeks.

There is a section which advises of repairs and expenses to the wells and or treatment systems. In 2011 a steel liner was installed in well P17 at a cost of $65,000.

While this might explain part of the P17 shutdown during 2011 there is no explanation for the P10 and P11 shutdowns much less the entire Pinebush System for 18 weeks. Similarily there is zero explanation for the 2012 shutdown of wells P11 and P17. Once again this lack of transparency and clarity as to why drinking wells are shut down for long periods of time while the entire Region suffers from water restrictions during summer months is disconcerting at the minimum. To make matters worse the Region aren’t even sharing up to date water quality test results with us. The whole idea of these ANNUAL Reports is to confirm the quality of our drinking water. Instead all three years are using 2011 test results. This is ridiculous.

The Shades Mill System consists of wells G7, G8, G38 and G39. These wells are located near the Cambridge Landfill on the east side of Cambridge. The 2013 report advises us that well G39 was off-line for 47 weeks last year.

While there is virtually zero indication of repairs or related expenses; my suspicious mind has noticed somewhat elevated method detection limits (MDL) for several industrial or agricultural organic pollutants (ie. pesticides). These are elevated relevant to most of the other wells in Cambridge. Elevated MDL’s are one way to hide unpalatable truths regarding water pollution if an authority is so inclined.

During 2012 wells G38 and G39 were only shut down for two weeks each although in 2011 they were both shutdown (off-line) for 6 weeks. The good news is that remarkably and logically the 2011 report has 2011 test results in it, the 2012 report has 2012 test results and the 2013 report has 2013 test results. Why don’t all the reports allegedly describing our drinking water quality have up to date test results?

Lastly is the Turnbull Well System named after former Waterloo Mayor Brian Turnbull. Lest Cambridge feels “special” with Councillor Wolf’s recent drinking/driving issues; Waterloo’s Mayor turnbull got busted during Octoberfest many years ago after leaving the Concordia Club in Kitchener. This system consists of wells G16, G17 and G18. They are located between the Shades Mill and the Pinebush System. This system and its’ three wells were off-line for five weeks in 2013, zero weeks in 2012 and G16 was off for 15 weeks in 2011.

We are advised that well G16 was “rehabilitated” in 2011 at a cost of $83,000. There are no further details regarding these downtimes. Also all three years and reports have only the 2011 test results in them. Frankly I find this exercise to be offensive.


If I’m going to put in the time and effort to inform myself I see no reason why the Region of Waterloo can not be more forthright and transparent about why wells are shut down and why they can’t provide up to date test results. Are we really going from 2011 to 2014 or longer between our drinking water being tested? I am skeptical of that but apparently the Region want us to believe it is so.



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