Concerns, challenges and opportunities with the Dolime Quarry

Keeping our drinking water safe

The City’s concerns

Guelph puts the safety and security of our drinking water above all else. We’ve always been open and transparent about our concerns with the potential for operations at the Dolime Quarry to affect Guelph’s drinking water.

In Guelph, the water we drink comes from deep below the ground. Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada that relies almost entirely on groundwater for its drinking water, and groundwater is a more limited resource than surface water—water from lakes and rivers.

Quarrying uses a lot of water, and here in particular quarry operations use high-quality groundwater that could provide safe, clean drinking water for many people. Right now, operations at the Dolime Quarry require moving about 11 million litres of groundwater to the Speed River each day so that rock in lower areas can be quarried. This use of local groundwater has the potential to affect how much drinking water the City can get from both existing and planned wells.

In addition to using a lot of water to support its operations, the quarrying process digs deep into the ground where the aquitard lies—a layer of dense rock that acts like a barrier to protect groundwater from contamination.

After quarry operations stop and the quarry fills with water, any damage to the aquitard could allow surface water to mix with groundwater, passing on bacteria or other contaminants. We want to make sure this never happens.

The challenges

Guelph is growing and we need to protect our drinking water. That’s why we’re always looking at new and innovative water supply solutions from conservation to improved infrastructure—so we can keep providing clean, reliable drinking water.

The Dolime Quarry property is currently part of Guelph-Eramosa Township and is not included in today’s growth plans. In order for the City to accommodate a residential development, jurisdiction for the property needs to be transferred from the Township to the City, and we need to figure out how the development will fit into growth plans.

The opportunity

While the owners of the Dolime Quarry don’t agree with the City’s concerns, we’re working together on the solution.

The approved plan for revitalizing the quarry site means:

  • The Dolime Quarry will close sooner than expected
  • The City will take control of the quarry’s water supply, potentially freeing up 11 million litres of groundwater a day, some of which could be used for the City’s drinking water supply
  • The quarry will be replaced with a new residential neighbourhood—a more compatible land use in an urban setting