Information about the City’s plans to provide comment on LaFarge Canada’s water-taking application

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Lafarge Canada has applied for an amendment to its existing water-taking permit for the quarry located just west of the City. The application was posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. The public commenting period closed on August 9, 2019. The City has not yet provided our own comments on this application.

Groundwater flow model analysis

The City will submit our formal response on Lafarge Canada’s water-taking application to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks based on analysis from the groundwater flow model.

Factors the City will consider in its review of the application

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.

Factors the City will be reviewing and commenting on include:

  • 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

The City has reviewed Lafarge Canada’s application and hydrogeology report. We’re now waiting for the analysis from groundwater flow modeling to assess potential water supply impacts. We’ll use this analysis to develop our response on Lafarge Canada’s water-taking application. This analysis and review could take a few months.

Our comments to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will be made available on guelph.ca once submitted.

Other considerations

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 Canada application is approved.

Background

The Lafarge Canada 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 Canada 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.

Media contact

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