The NWMO partners with Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority to study water resources

Six individuals (five women and one man) standing side-by-side on lawn in front of some bushes and trees. They are all wearing face masks.

The NWMO and Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority staff members that will be working on the surface water and hydrology studies program met at Sulphur Spring Conservation Area for their fieldwork prep meeting.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) and Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) have partnered to launch a joint program to further understand water resources in South Bruce and the surrounding area to ensure protection for generations to come.

 

As part of this program, the SVCA will conduct surface water quality and hydrology studies on behalf of the NWMO to develop a more comprehensive assessment of portions of the Saugeen Valley watershed, specifically the Teeswater River and Beatty Saugeen River subwatersheds. The program will characterize baseline environmental conditions by collecting monitoring data from those areas.

 

“The information we gather from the SVCA’s studies will bolster our understanding of the current local environment in South Bruce,” says Joanne Jacyk, Section Manager of Environmental Assessment at the NWMO. “We are fully aligned on the importance of protecting precious water resources. This begins with collecting data that will give us a clear picture and inform decision-making, should South Bruce be selected as the site for Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel.”

 

This partnership builds on previous collaboration with the SVCA to protect water resources in South Bruce such as the Water Well Improvement Program. As part of that program, the NWMO donated $50,000 to fund local water well improvement projects to help protect groundwater from contamination.

 

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the NWMO,” says Maureen Couture, Chair of the SVCA. “Through monitoring, the SVCA is able to assess local conditions, identify issues and guide informed decision-making for future protection of the Saugeen Valley watershed.”

 

To understand the natural variations in the region’s local environment across all four seasons, surface water quality and hydrology studies will be completed seasonally, starting in summer 2021. After a year of data collection, the program will be reviewed and adapted based on community input and scientific findings.

 

Data collected from the water quality and hydrology studies will be released to the community later this year and will be peer-reviewed by independent experts.

 

A key pillar of the co-designed program is the need for trustworthy and transparent data collection,” says Ms. Jacyk. “We will continue to work with the community to build partnerships and seek input as we move forward to ensure rigorous community oversight of this sampling program.”

 

This partnership with the SVCA is part of the NWMO’s broader environmental baseline monitoring program to determine baseline conditions around the potential repository site in South Bruce. It was co-designed with local communities, conservation authorities and experts through a series of workshops to ensure that the NWMO is monitoring what local residents consider important, and is consistent with best and emerging practices.

 

The environmental baseline monitoring program encompasses environmental features such as surface water, shallow groundwater, air, soil, farm products, plants and animals, and their habitats around the potential repository site and the surrounding region.

 

Interested residents can contact the NWMO South Bruce Learn More Centre at 519.392.6966 or email sbenvironment@nwmo.ca to learn more about this partnership and the environmental baseline monitoring program.

 

About the NWMO

 

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization implementing Canada’s plan to safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.

 

Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2023, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Ignace area and South Bruce, both in Ontario.