Water in an area around a 215 turbine farm in Ayrshire contains high levels of E.coli along with other coliform bacteria. Water has far more than the safe levels of trihalomethane (THM). That stuff has been linked to a variety of cancers, miscarriages, and stillbirths. Discussed at New Evidence: Wind Farms Contaminating Water Supply in Scotland.
The power company running the slice-and-dicers denies having caused the pollution but does acknowledge that they failed to warn residents that the water supplies could be contaminated as a result of the turbines.
So in Scotland it looks wind turbines are causing human health damage from diarrhea and miscarriages in addition to causing ecological damage from killing off birds and bats.
Wind turbines contaminating drinking water? How does that happen?
In a phase, penetrating the water table.
Here’s the explanation:
“Firstly, most are constructed on areas of unspoilt moss, heather and deep peat, often with associated forestry. Construction vehicles churn up the ground to make access roads and clear the forests – approximately 3 million trees were cleared at Whitelee. Trees are pulled up, and the churned up peat is washed into the river systems by heavy rain, releasing excessive carbon which the water treatment works are not able to deal with.
That puts a lot of stuff into the water supply that would be better left just under the surface.
“The construction teams then blast quarries and ‘borrow-pits’ to provide rock foundations for access roads and turbine bases – six quarries with 85 articulated dump lorries ferried almost 6 million tons of excavated rock around the Whitelee site for roads and turbine foundations. These excavations allow access to the numerous faults and dykes which crisscross Scotland and act as conduits for ground water. Chemical and diesel spills, therefore, have an immediate channel to the aquifer.
That breaches the barrier to the aquifer allowing stirred up service chemicals, leaked oil, and run off to seep into the water table.
One commenter, I don’t remember which site and won’t go look it up, said the turbines require extremely deep concrete footings because the peat and moss is unstable. Those footings might penetrate to the water table was that person’s guess on how the water table is damaged.
Hat tip to the blog Public Secrets who pointed me to the above article while discussing Green Fail: wind farms contaminate the water supply?
From Public Secrets’ closing comment is a superb one paragraph summary of the problems with wind turbines:
So we’ve gone from wind farms chopping up birds to poisoning the water supply. They’re not economically viable without public subsidy, they never meet their promised power generation or reliability, but, hey, they do give you diarrhea. And maybe kill your unborn child.
P.S. Can someone more enlightened than me explain how this can possibly be considered moral? Can someone please describe the ethical framework in which this outcome is acceptable?