Information about the City’s plans to provide comment on LaFarge Canada’s permit to take water application

Lafarge Canada has applied for an amendment to its existing water-taking permit for the quarry located just west of the City. The application is posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

Background

The Lafarge quarry is licensed for aggregate extraction under the Aggregate Resources Act as a sand and gravel pit and a bedrock quarry. The quarry is licensed for an area of approximately 50 hectares (124 acres) and to a depth of 280 metres (928 feet) above sea level. Sand and gravel extraction is nearing completion and Lafarge is preparing to begin excavation into the bedrock.

The amended permit, if approved, would add a groundwater water-taking of 21,718 m3/day to the existing permit. For comparison, the City’s average daily demand is approximately 47,000 m3/day.

Factors the City will consider in its review of the application

The City is reviewing LaFarge’s water-taking permit application/renewal and will submit formal comments on it through the Environmental Registry. When reviewing permits of this nature, the City looks at both water quality and quantity impacts, current and future. Our comments will be based on science-driven data.

The key factors the City will be reviewing and commenting on are:

  • Potential impacts on the overall quantity of groundwater in the aquifers the City uses to provide water to the community
  • Whether there is a potential loss of water supply capacity that would require the City to find new water supply sources to maintain existing capacity
  • The potential for excavation of the bedrock to impact the Vinemount aquitard—a layer of dense rock that protects the groundwater in the aquifer which the City uses for drinking water

Next Steps

City submitting formal comments

The City received notification of the application on July 8, 2019. The comment period for these permit applications is typically 30 days following formal notification from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

  1. The City will review the application and the hydrogeology report and provide formal comments prior to the end of the comment period. These comments will be made available on guelph.ca once submitted.
  2. City staff may recommend additional studies of the quarry dewatering, either by the City or by Lafarge, to assess the impacts of the water taking.
  3. If additional studies are proposed, City staff may request an extension to the comment period to allow time for completion of the studies and would provide the results as part of the City’s comments. Extensions of the comment period are at the discretion of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Public Information Session

Lafarge Canada is hosting a public information meeting on Wednesday, July 24 at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre from 6 to 8 p.m.

We encourage interested individuals from the community to attend the meeting and provide their own comments to the application posting on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

Other considerations

Water Quantity Source Protection Policies

The City is in the process of developing water quantity source protection policies. These policies will aim to protect existing and future water quantity and will ensure that water quantity activities stop being, or never become, significant drinking water threats as prescribed by the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks. These policies will not be completed before the LaFarge application is approved.

Media contact

Jennifer Rose
General Manager, Environmental Services
519-822-1260 extension 3599
jennifer.rose@guelph.ca