"This is kind of like the old-growth forest of natural waters.
It tastes excellent. It's the best water on Earth."


The government has just approved placing a garbage dump on top of it.
Garbage could be arriving within a year,
threatening to pollute the water.

I was totally shocked yesterday [December 16, 2006] when I read that the Canadian government is allowing a garbage dump to be built on the location of the purest, cleanest water in the world.

I was then doubly shocked when it turns out that the location is in the place where I lived for five years (in my early teens) and where my mother continued to live for the rest of her life, until her death ten years ago. The name of the place is "Township of Tiny" and it is made up of towns and communities, many of which hug Georgian Bay, and are big tourist locations in the summer, but deserted, except for the locals, in the winter.

All the while I was reading the article I was thinking to myself that if my mother were still alive, this would kill her. She actually blamed the rare cancer she got on the stress of the shock to her body which was incurred when she learned that a toxic landfill had been built in a neighbouring township, and that some of its poisons could have seeped into her well. After that, she never drank the water from her tap again, but instead filled containers with water pumped from a public well in a nearby village, famous for its pure spring water.

My mother was a health purist long before the movement became trendy. She lived life naturally, not being a consumer of "store-bought" food, but making everything herself "from scratch". She turned the sand of her backyard into a lush vegetable garden by hauling soil trip-by-trip from the surrounding woods and adding compost from her precious heap. She was always a proponent of drinking lots of water for oxygenizing the brain and body and carried it with her as she cross-country skied all over the back roads of "Tiny Township" in the winter.

Mom & Samoid Mom X-Country Ski

Mom in 1984

She'd go out alone - or with the neighbour's "white samoyed" dog - and ski ten miles each day. But I guess that's nothing for the daughter of a man who got the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for carrying the Royal Mail by dogsled over Canada's toughest mail route. See TRIBUTE TO LOUIS BOURASSA.

My mother was also a consummate clipper of newspaper articles and every letter she wrote contained several clippings pertaining specifically to the recipient's interests. As I read this article today I can just imagine her clipping it out and putting it on the top of her desk, to be acted upon in whichever way she possibly could. No doubt she would have contacted the powers-that-be and given them a blast the likes of which they would not want repeated.

Well, my mother isn't here on earth to be traumatized and active over Canada's plans to contaminate the country's most valuable resource. Instead, she is symbolically sending the clipping to me and telling me to "do something" about it. This story, and the following article, is where I'll start doing what she would want me to do, in addition to what I've done so far, on the issue of water:


With my first glass of water today, I drink a toast to my mother and to the source of the purest, cleanest water in the world. ~ Jackie Jura

Earth's cleanest water creates thorny issue
In Tiny Township, a precious resource faces threat from proposed garbage dump
by Martin Mittelstaedt, Globe & Mail, Dec 16, 2006

In this oddly named community [Tiny Township] in Central Ontario lies the world's most pristine groundwater. The water bubbling to the surface is so clean the only match for its purity is ice pulled from the bottom of Arctic ice cores from snows deposited thousands of years ago, well before any high-polluting industries existed. "This is kind of like the old-growth forest of natural waters," says William Shotyk, a geochemistry professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. "It tastes excellent. It's the best water on Earth."

The discovery of ultraclean groundwater would normally be greeted with great cheer in a world that is increasingly short of good drinking water. But in Tiny Township, it has raised a thorny issue. The province has just approved placing a garbage dump on top of it, and the county plans to vote early next year on a budget for building the landfill. Garbage could be arriving within a year, threatening to pollute the water.

Dr. Shotyk, an expatriate Canadian, runs, at the German university, what is considered the world's most sophisticated laboratory for measuring trace metals in water, a facility set up to analyze contaminants in prehistoric ice. By chance, his family also owns property five kilometres from the proposed dump, which lies northwest of the city of Barrie. This is an area of artesian wells, where water frequently rises out of the ground under its own pressure. Dr. Shotyk, after running tests on polar ice, got curious, in a scientific way, about how the water under the proposed dump would stack up against the really clean ice from ancient times. He drove over to the landfill site, currently a big grassy field, got some samples, and shipped them in a cooler to Germany for testing.

The results were unexpected. The water was comparable to ice with the lowest concentrations of metals ever measured anywhere on the planet. Levels for lead and antimony, for instance, were typically only a couple of parts per trillion. That's a concentration equivalent to a few grains of salt dissolved in an Olympic swimming pool and thousands of times cleaner than Ontario drinking-water standards, which limit lead because it causes brain damage. Low levels were also found for cobalt, chrome, vanadium, silver, copper and molybdenum, among others. The metal content was comparable to the cleanest ancient Arctic ice from Devon Island in Canada's Far North. The ice cores go back 16,000 years, and the metals in the Tiny water matched the cleanest period in the ice record, a long stretch from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago, when snow had very low metal contamination.

Since the finding, Dr. Shotyk has been extolling the virtues of Tiny's water wherever he can. He has spoken to local politicians, urging them not to build the landfill because it might contaminate the water. And he has delivered the same message to staff at Ontario's Ministry of Environment.

In a quirky way, he views the water as the hydrological equivalent of the spotted owl, the rare, endangered bird living in old-growth B.C. forests, the fate of which is frequently the subject of hand-wringing by conservationists. "Somebody has to speak for this water. We've got people speaking for spotted owls out on the West Coast," he said. "I'm trying to speak for this water."

At the ministry, researchers don't dispute his finding that the water is exceptionally clean. "He's not exaggerating when he says it's certainly quite clean as far as metal levels go," says Ray Clement, a senior research scientist. "To be lower than the levels he found, there'd be almost nothing at all." A different branch of the ministry that handles environmental assessments approved the dump after Dr. Shotyk informed the government of his findings, because it believes Simcoe County will be able to put controls in place to keep seepage from garbage out of most of the water.

The water is so clean because the soil and rocks from which it is drawn don't contain many metals, and it has low acidity levels, which means that any metals present aren't likely to dissolve.

Dr. Shotyk has already made one research discovery using Tiny water. There was so little antimony in it that he couldn't find published accounts of such low amounts, although he did come across a reference suggesting that it might be in bottled water. That made him test bottled water, and earlier this year, he published a finding that water sold in Canada in plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, contains antimony at amounts hundreds of times higher than clean water. The metal, used in making plastic, leaches into bottled water the longer it sits on store shelves. Dr. Shotyk says Tiny water "is so clean it's become my reference water for studying the contamination of bottled waters."

Water at the proposed dump has been a big issue because there is so much of it. Test wells, capped giant metal pipes that resemble straws, stick out of the ground around the site. Once uncapped, the wells gush the ultraclean water, which rises out of the ground due to pressure. Paradoxically, given how much people are willing to pay for clean water, the pristine water is a nuisance at the dump site. In order to dig out a pit for the dump, the county will have to pump millions of litres out of the ground to prevent the landfill from becoming a pond. The pure water Dr. Shotyk uses for his laboratory experiments will be dumped into a nearby creek.

The amounts wasted in this way will be large, enough to slake the needs of up to 250,000 people a day for months. The landfill is designed so that clean groundwater is supposed to seep into the dump and become contaminated with garbage residue. Then it will be sucked out using a network of pipes and hauled to a local sewage plant. It is hoped that this inward flow of some of the pure water will protect the rest from contamination. Over the life of the dump, more water will have to be treated for cleaning or dumped into the nearby creek than the weight of garbage planned for the site. The soiling of all this clean water leaves Dr. Shotyk slack-jawed. "How can we do that and sleep at night when 300 million people in China dream about that water?"

Reader Dido points out that a pure person is a "purist" but pure water is spelled "purest"

Reader wants to stop the Canadian government building a garbage dump on Earth's purest water

Earth's cleanest water creates thorny issue, Globe & Mail, Dec 6, 2006


Soft-drink chemicals from can (Bisphenol A seeps into liquid causing cancer & other diseases). MontrealGazette, Dec 18, 2006

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com