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Environmental Services > Hydrogeology & Hydrogeochemistry > Oak Ridges Moraine Experience

Hydrogeology and Hydrogeochemistry

Oak Ridges Moraine Experience
Ontario, Canada

The Oak Ridges Moraine landform is a 160 km long ridge of sand and gravel located in south-central Ontario, Canada. It runs from the Niagara Escarpment in the Town of Caledon east to Trenton and contains the headwaters of large number of rivers and streams. The Oak Ridges Moraine is a significant groundwater resource area for storage and recharge, and supply of high quality drinking water for more than 200,000 people north of the Greater Toronto Area. Approximately 70% of this population is serviced by municipal communal well fields and 30% by private wells.

Some of our major work in the area has included the following:

In 1977, Hunter and Associates was selected to undertake the Palgrave Estate Residential Policy Area Study - Natural Environmental Assessment. The Palgrave Estate Residential Policy Area is entirely within the Oak Ridge Moraine.

In 1981, Hunter and Associates assisted Town of Caledon in the preparation of the environmental planning policies for the Palgrave Estate Residential Area (Official Plan Amendment No. 5). A nitrate modelling study was undertaken in support of development densities.

In 1991 and 1997, Hunter and Associates completed Reviews and proposed modifications (Official Plan Amendments 114 and 124) for the Palgrave Estate Residential Policy Area. The Town of Caledon Environmental Planning process and policies have received recognition as a potential environmental planning "model" for development applications elsewhere in the Oak Ridges Moraine.

In 1991, Hunter and Associates was selected by the Oak Ridges Moraine Technical Working Committee to undertake the Oak Ridges Moraine Hydrogeological Study in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Peel, York and Durham Regions of Ontario. The firm coordinated the identification, characterization and delineation of the key hydrogeological features of the Moraine. Recommendations were provided to assist in the development of a long term planning strategy for managing the water resources of the Moraine on an ecologically sustainable basis. Work was completed in early 1996. For more information on this project, please click here.

In 1993, as part of the background work for the Rural Service Centre Study, Hunter and Associates undertook a hydrogeological study on behalf of the Town of Caledon. This study identified the technical hydrogeological opportunities and constraints of the Rural Service Centres of Mono Mills, Cheltenham, Caledon Village, Inglewood and Alton. Work involved preparation of a comprehensive hydrological and hydrogeological GIS information database. This database allows Hunter to efficiently and accurately determine groundwater recharge/discharge, determine historical trends in groundwater quality and water use, and analyze linkages between groundwater and surface water flows. This information, and previously prepared parcel mapping linked to tax assessment information, was incorporated into the Municipality’s land use planning process.

In 1999, Hunter and Associates was retained by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) to prepare a peer review of the North Richmond Hill proposed urbanization and Official Plan Amendments. In late 1999, Hunter and Associates also prepared Bibliographic and Observation Well (Borehole) databases for North Richmond Hill on behalf of MMAH and the Region of York.

In 2001, Hunter and Associates was retained by Ministry of the Environment to prepare regional groundwater recharge/discharge mapping and to update hydrogeological databases throughout the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Ministry of the Environment uses these databases to aid in the identification of policy, and to develop planning and decision making tools necessary to protect the natural heritage, water resources and ecological functions in the ORM area. Work included assembly of databases and bibliographies from a number of provincial agencies (MMAH, MNR, OMAF and MOE), from upper tier municipal governments, including the Regions of Peel, York and Durham, Counties of Peterborough, Northumberland and Simcoe, and for the nine Conservation Authorities and many lower tier municipalities within the Moraine.



Web GIS Solutions
Hunter has comprehensive and industry leading web GIS solutions for management of Oak Ridges Moraine databases and mapping information. These web solutions include full capabilities for water well distribution and processing, including vertical graphing of stratigraphy and static levels. These solutions are live and may be Extranet (password) accessible to Oak Ridges Moraine stakeholders on a few hours notice.

Government Contacts
Hunter has extensive public, agency and government contacts in the Oak Ridges Moraine area. Hunter has first-hand working knowledge of where and how to obtain information resources to complement project objectives. Most importantly, the firm understands in detail the strength and weakness of these information resources.

The firm has a library of hydrogeologic references for the Oak Ridges Moraine which number more than 2000 at present.