The Village of Hillsborough water supply comes from two 150-200m wells and these wells lie within lands leased for oil and gas development by Contact Exploration. With our geology and past history of hydrocarbon mining, this is a scenario of deep concern. For the past 100 years, a variety of companies have pock-marked our area with test wells. This region is littered with sinkholes, gypsum caves, fault lines and abandoned wells.
In 2006, our village drilled 29 wells looking for a reliable, clean water supply. Several years later, they drilled an additional 6 wells seeking a backup source. Today, village employees devote many hours to water monitoring, ensuring these two wells remain viable.
Both water wells are within 1.5 km of Contact Exploration’s Hopewell well pad B-55.
This is an area of complex geology that is criss-crossed by fault-lines and fractures. One of those fault lines, to the south of the wellpad, feeds our main village water well, which is about 150-200m in depth. The hydrocarbon layer begins around 470m below the surface. (read more here)
It is a well-documented fact that old abandoned wells and fault lines are a recipe for water contamination. Hydro-geologists have warned us that this situation is our village’s worst nightmare.
Craig Leonard, Minister of Energy & Mines told village officers that they had no worries. Should an accident or spill take place on well pad B55, the water would flow away from the village water wells. That means it would flow towards private wells, marshes and the Petitcodiac River.
WEPAC has received endorsement from the Hillsborough Municipal Council to explore this issue on the village’s behalf. Since then, the village has called for a moratorium to halt all work within 4km of village limits.
Unfortunately, the Province of New Brunswick does not recognize a municipality’s right to decide what industry takes place within their boundaries.