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Hydrogeology of Kingston Cliffs Subdivision and its Impact on Water Quality and Quantity

The Royal District Planning Commission's (RDPC) Water Supply Assessment Guidelines for Subdivisions and Developments Serviced by Individual Private Wells, revised by John Baird, M.Sc, MCIP, Arie A. Ruitenberg, Ph.D, P.Geo and Dan Ethier, Hon.B.A. in 2006, states that subdivisions should not be placed on hydrogeologically sensitive areas.  The Kingston Cliffs subdivision is located in a hydrogeologically sensitive area.  Further information from RDPC's Water Supply Assessment Guidelines is provided below:

Text Box: LEGEND
 Location of subdivision
 Fault Line - Black Dashed Line
           Red Lines - 500 Metre Buffer Zone

Page 1 of RDPC's Water Assessment Guidelines states: "Water supply assessments are necessary to ensure that future owners of homes and lots have a high probability of obtaining water suitable for domestic consumption and to protect drinking water supplies that may be vulnerable to adverse impacts from development.  To be suitable the water resource must be of acceptable quality and in adequate quantities in both the short and long term.  Assessments will determine potential impacts on water quantity and quality on the development site and the immediately surrounding area.  The Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (CDWQG)  will be used as the standard for assessing existing drinking water quality and potential impacts of development on water quality."

Please note the results of the test wells drilled for the Kingston Cliffs Subdivision exceeded CDWQG guidelines for turbidity, lead, iron, PH, barium and manganese.

In addition, Page 8 of Appendix 1 - Guidelines for Completing Water Supply Assessment Reports states:  "On sites underlain by prominent, highly transmissive zones such as major faults, possible contamination effects from sources beyond 500 metres should be addressed.  A proposed subdivision is not permitted to encroach on hydrogeologically sensitive areas such as groundwater recharge areas, wetlands, and riparian zones of surface water bodies to minimize the possibility of groundwater quality and quantity degradation on the site or adjacent lands."

The dashed black lines on the map above indicate major fault lines.  There is one that runs right along the top of the Kingston Cliffs Subdivision. You will also note a fault line that is running beneath the Kennebecasis River just below the subdivision. The Kingston Cliffs site is located in a groundwater recharge area, has a two hectare plus wetland located on it, and borders on the Kennebecasis River, which is listed as an Environmentally Significant Area.  It is hard to understand how a subdivision that encroaches on a two plus hectare wetland and is located in a hydrogeologically sensitive area could possibly be considered an environmentally friendly development.

Mark D. Connell, retired geologist explains the map shown above and its implications for the Kingston Cliffs Subdivision and nearby residents:

"Attached is a fragment of the 21G/08 geology map (MP 2005-31) with surficial materials overlain on the map in dark orange.  Surficial materials such as gravel, sand and silt act as filtration media for water.  Major faults are aquifers and a 500 m set back is required  for present or future development from these faults (see drastic criteria for mapping hydrostratigraphic units).  The red vertical bars along the major faults in the map fragment represent the 500m setback zones which have been designated  for protected aquifers by the Royal District Planning Commission Water Supply Assessment Guidelines developed by Ruitenberg Ph.d and Violette P.Eng..  These zones are major aquifers.    

The area of the proposed development between Moss Glen and the Nail Factory road is partially situated in this set back area.  The Moss Glen flats near the Fire Hall is underlain by Kennebecasis Formation conglomerates of Carboniferous Age (circa 350Ma)These Kennnebecasis Formation rocks near Moss Glen are overlain by glacial fluvial sands and gravels which act as a filtration medium for water entering the fault controlled aquifer.   This area should be excluded from further development to protect valuable future water sources. 

The rocks at the proposed development  (a recharge area) are predominantly Siliurian aged felsic volcanics and tuffs.  These rocks are dense, have low permeability and porosity and are folded with steep plunges plunging 40 to 75 degrees north east.  Because of the low porosity and permeability, local shear zones and fold structures will act as the sole conduits for both recharge waters and sewerage from septic systems. The proposed development is bounded by a major fault to the north and the Kennebecasis fault to the south, each with a 500m setback for development.  Shears and subsidiary northwest trending faults are present which the developer undoubtedly intersected when exploring for water on the proposed site.   Minor accompanying shears trending parallel to the major faults act as local aquifers.   These aquifers could, when drawn down, become polluted by the housing  development if it takes place.   

The soils on the hill are thin and lack the capacity to adequately filter septic outflow over the long term.   Mound septic systems  could therefore cause pollution of wells down slope at the Kingston Cliffs site and at the residences down slope or down plunge at Moss Glen."

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