| Aug 02, 2007

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Feature Article - August 2, 2007

MVCto test wells in vicinity of uranium exploration properties

by Jeff Green

In a reaction to concerns sparked by uranium exploration in North and Central Frontenac and Lanark Highlands, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVC) will be undertaking a program of testing private wells within a 1 to 5km radius of the properties that have been staked by uranium exploration companies.

“As part of our source water testing work, we are looking to fill some voids in our database with this program,” said Doug Nuttall, a Water Resource Engineer with MVC.


The MVC will be asking people to volunteer their private wells for testing. The tests are similar to tests that have been conducted throughout the watershed, and will cover 20 chemical and mineral parameters. In this case an extra parameter has been added: uranium concentration.

“We currently have data from one well in Ompah, one in Plevna, and one in Oso, which is an insufficient sample,” Nuttall said, in explaining which areas MVC would like to focus on. By contrast, the agency has a lot of data from communities such as Elphin and McDonalds Corners in Lanark Highlands.

Greg Luster, a geologist from Frontenac Ventures Corporation, the main uranium exploration company in the region, thinks the testing is a good idea.

“People worry about what might happen as the result of uranium exploration and, possibly mining, but the reality of what is here and has been here for a very long time is a more likely problem, in my view. I would test my water if I lived in North Frontenac,” he said.

The study will be done by MVC, who will conduct a physical survey of the subject well, and will take a water sample. Testing costs $104. MVC will cover 50% of the cost and the property owner the other 50%. Specific results will be released only to the individual property owners, but the data will be used in mapping and other applications.

Property owners concerned about current uranium levels, or levels of other heavy metals, or those concerned about potential deterioration of their water due to changes that may take place, might well consider contacting Mississippi Valley about this project, which is setting out to do 40 tests over the next two months.

Details about this project and how to sign up will be available at MVC.ON.CA in the coming days, and in the Frontenac News next week.

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