The NWMO working with Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority to protect groundwater

People holding a cheque

Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) Chair Dan Gieruszak and General Manager Jennifer Stephens receive a cheque presented NWMO Senior Engagement Advisor, Cherie Leslie, alongside South Bruce CAO/Clerk Leanne Martin and South Bruce Project Coordinator Dave Rushton to support a new Water Well Improvement Program.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is joining forces with the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) to protect groundwater in South Bruce.

The two organizations announced November 23 they have partnered to offer a Water Well Improvement Program that will provide financial support to landowners looking to improve or decommission water wells. The NWMO has donated $50,000 to fund water well improvement projects, which will help protect groundwater from contamination.

“The SVCA is committed to partnerships which allow the community to contribute to the protection of our shared natural resources; we are grateful for the financial support provided by NWMO so that the Water Well Improvement Program could be created,” said Dan Gieruszak, Chair of the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, in a joint press release.

Managed and delivered by SVCA, the Water Well Improvement Program will provide funding to support landowners in properly decommissioning or upgrading water wells, which can be a direct conduit of contaminants to groundwater. Landowners in the area who have recently completed work covered by the program may be eligible for retroactive funding.

“The NWMO is delighted to partner with the SVCA on this new program, which will help protect and improve water quality throughout the region,” said Cherie Leslie Senior Engagement Advisor, Southern Ontario, with the NWMO. “We are committed to protecting people and the environment, including water resources, and are proud to support important initiative like this.” 

As many as 40 municipal drinking water wells in the area draw from groundwater, which can be contaminated by improperly decommissioned and unused water wells on private property. This program is an incentive to help landowners make necessary decommissioning or repairs to protect that groundwater.

The NWMO is tasked with implementing Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term storage of used nuclear fuel in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come. South Bruce is one of two communities remaining in the NWMO’s site selection process, alongside Ignace, Ontario. The NWMO plans to select a site for the repository in 2024 in an area with informed and willing hosts.

Program guidelines and application materials for the Water Well Improvement Program can be found on the SVCA website at Formal applications opened November 23, and the program will run until the end of 2021.