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We have heard from the community that there are concerns that our aggregate extraction will have a negative impact on water resources in the area. The following is intended to provide facts about the water table, the use of water on site, and the potential for contamination of nearby drinking water sources. In addition, we explain why we believe that the potential impact is low.

The glacial outwash deposits that underlie the area North of Paris are both an important source of aggregates and water for municipal and domestic supplies. These deposits make good aquifers and provide a large source of groundwater for municipal wells.

Regulations are in place that ensure these two important uses - aggregates and water supply - can and do co-exist. 

 1. Paris Pit and the Groundwater Table

The majority of the sand and gravel tonnage capacity is being removed from above the water table, and above the aquifer. Under direction of the Aggregate Resources Act we will stop extraction one meter above the water table and will not hit bedrock anywhere on the site.

Paris Pit extraction will be above the groundwater table, with two exceptions:

  • The source water pond development
  • Final stages of operation 30-40 years from now 

Dufferin is committed to further evaluation and ongoing review of source water protection. Below the water table extraction will not occur if it cannot be done safely. 

 2. Paris Pit and the Consumption of Water

The actual consumption of water from the Paris Pit operation will be very limited:

  • Above water extraction has little-to-no influence as no pumping is required for extraction. There will be no lowering of the groundwater.
  • Operational use of water includes aggregate washing to remove fine soil particles from the sand and gravel and dust control. The actual taking of water is very small:
    • A closed-loop wash plant will be used at the Paris Pit operations and all water will be re-circulated
    • The creation and natural filling of the source pond occurs only one time at the beginning of operations
    •  Re-circulating water through a closed-loop will be used to wash sand and gravel
    • Natural replenishment of source pond water will occur through ground water flow and precipitation
    • The only consumption or loss of water is as a result of evaporation and water drain from stockpiles 

water usage infographic

  • Pumping will be required to re-circulate that water from the source pond through the wash plant.
    • The MOECC regulates the rate of pumping under the Permit to Take Water.
    • Dufferin's application for the Permit to Take Water will describe the Paris Pit closed-loop washing process and will be evaluated by the MOECC.
    • The pumping rate referred to in the PTTW is for re-circulation and not consumption.
 3. Paris Pit and the Use of Chemicals

Chemicals or contaminants are not used in the processing of aggregates. Because of this, there is very low risk to water quality in the area. The risks that do exist are proactively managed.

Fuel handling on-site to run the machinery is heavily regulated to strictly enforce how fuel is stored. Dufferin Aggregates is very experienced in how to handle fuel, fuel storage and deal with any potential spill. 

At the Paris Pit operation:

  • Fuels will be handled and stored in accordance with the TSSA Regulations.
  • Any fuel storage on-site has been moved away from the sensitive Wellhead Protection Areas.
  • Large containment pads will be in place where the fuel is stored.
  • We are required by law to ensure we account for the quantity of fuel in the tank on a daily basis.

There is no known example of groundwater contamination of a municipal water supply as a result of aggregate extraction.

 4. Drinking Water Source Protection

The Clean Water Act passed by the Ontario Government in 2006, protects the sources of municipal drinking water from contamination - (meaning water quality) - and overuse - (meaning water quantity).

Water Quantity

Dufferin Aggregates Paris Pit will not impact the availability of water because there is a sufficient amount of water available in the source area to meet the current and future demands for Paris drinking water supply. The Source Water Protection Assessment Report [Surface Water and Groundwater Quantity Stress Assessments presented in the Grand River Source Protection Area (GRSPA) Proposed Amended Assessment Report, prepared by the Lake Erie Source Protection Committee, April 26, 2012] says Paris has a low potential for water quantity stress in all potential scenarios - current use of water, future consumption and a drought situation. Given the Paris Pit operations will consume very little water, it will not cause the potential water quantity stress level to increase.

Water Quality

The GRSPA Assessment Report (referenced above) also says the Paris area has two existing drinking water quality issues: nitrates and sulphates.  Dufferin Aggregates will not contribute to these issues, as aggregates operations do not use nitrates or sulphates.

In addition, natural filtration occurs mostly in the extended horizontal movement of water in the aquifer and not the short vertical movement of water from surface to aquifer. Because there will be little, if any, removal of the aquifer, the natural horizontal filtration remains intact.

Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPAs)

As part of Source Water Protection, Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPA's) have been identified to define the areas where groundwater flows to the municipals wells. WHPA definitions are based on the amount of time contamination to the groundwater in these areas would take to get from the above area to the municipal wells.  

map of well locations

The extraction of aggregates does not fall onto the Provincially Significant Threat list under Source Protection. Aggregate is a land use that is compatible with WHPA's however, certain activities may require specific management techniques. Operations at the Paris Pit have been repositioned from the original 1974 design to ensure that the processing plant area and source/settling ponds will be outside any wellhead protection areas. All fuel storage will be outside the WHPA's as described above. These changes are proactive management techniques employed by Dufferin Aggregates.

 5. Aggregate Operations Oversight

The Paris Pit operation will have significant oversight by both the MOECC and Dufferin Aggregates. 

  • On-site, best management practices and environmental management systems will be implemented to ensure aggregate extraction and water supply are always compatible.

The MOECC oversight via the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and the Permit to Take Water (PTTW) ensures:

  • No water can be taken unless the MOECC is satisfied with Dufferin's plans
  • Technical studies will need to be completed in order to address all water quality/quantity concerns
  • Regular monitoring to ensure any issues that arise can be addressed immediately.
  • Regular reporting to ensure that what needs to be done, is done.


The Paris Pit will not impact the Paris area water quality because it will:

  • Consume very little water
  • NOT contribute to the existing Nitrate / Sulphate issues
  • NOT engage in any prescribed activity that would result in a significant water quality threat to source water
  • Operate in a manner to protect water quality