Our Community Our Water

Blue wave image across top. Below blue wave on left, blue drop of water image above three arrows pointing down. Beside on right, title reads "our community our water quarry site revitalization."

The City of Guelph and the owners of the Dolime Quarry have reached a potential solution to address the City’s concerns about how operations at the quarry could affect Guelph’s drinking water.

The proposed solution is an innovative and unique approach that would address Guelph’s long-term water needs and lead to a more compatible land use in an urban setting. The proposal includes:

  • Closing the Dolime Quarry and bringing the property, currently in Guelph-Eramosa Township, into the City of Guelph's municipal boundary (the quarry owners will still own the property)
  • Giving the City control of the quarry’s water supply and building an on-site water management system
  • Allowing the property owner to create a new mixed-use residential neighbourhood that people can call home

You’ll have in-person and online opportunities to ask questions and share what you think the benefits and challenges of the proposed solution are for our community.

Learn more about this project on guelph.ca

The City of Guelph and the owners of the Dolime Quarry have reached a potential solution to address the City’s concerns about how operations at the quarry could affect Guelph’s drinking water.

The proposed solution is an innovative and unique approach that would address Guelph’s long-term water needs and lead to a more compatible land use in an urban setting. The proposal includes:

  • Closing the Dolime Quarry and bringing the property, currently in Guelph-Eramosa Township, into the City of Guelph's municipal boundary (the quarry owners will still own the property)
  • Giving the City control of the quarry’s water supply and building an on-site water management system
  • Allowing the property owner to create a new mixed-use residential neighbourhood that people can call home

You’ll have in-person and online opportunities to ask questions and share what you think the benefits and challenges of the proposed solution are for our community.

Learn more about this project on guelph.ca

Submit your questions

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Read more about the project at guelph.ca, and if you still have questions, post them here for an answer.

Here are the questions we’re hearing from our community.



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  • Why can't this are be returned to its natural state? Why must developers rule every decision and planning made in city hall? Why do we just keep sprawling and sprawling? When is anyone going to actually question the value and consequences of endless growth?

    Alberto asked 12 days ago

    It's important to understand that the land is and will continue to be owned by the owners of the quarry, even after it comes into Guelph's jurisdictional (municipal boundary). The City will get control of the water supply to ensure it's protected in the long-term. Instead of continuing to quarry the site, which has another 15-30 years of viable life, the owner will stop quarrying, and maintain the commercial viability of their property through a mixed-use residential development. The quarry owner will be responsible for the rehabilitation of the site prior to development too, and the development will include parkland and trails. 

    As for growth, the Province sets growth targets for Guelph (through the Places to Grow Act), and we're expected to grow to a population of 191,000 by 2041. Guelph has control of where and how we grow, so we'll be able to help shape what this residential development looks like should Council approve moving ahead with the proposed solution. 

  • Can you provide more details on the type of water management system used to mitigate possible negative effects from both the remediated quarry, and the housing development? Given the sensitive nature of the aquitard, is the City proposing some type of membrane or similar technology to capture / sequester harmful bacteria and contaminants? It seems likely that during construction of the new housing development there would be much greater risk of contamination and harm to the aquitard.

    Steve.E. asked about 1 month ago

    The final water management system the City uses will be determined through a formal environmental assessment process. The City is looking at a system that would keep groundwater flowing toward the quarry to prevent surface water from entering the aquifer. The proposed system would be similar to the current pumping system used for quarry dewatering. There would be no risk to the aquitard from rehabilitation or residential development. The plan is for the water management system to be built before any development begins. The water management system would run continually and protect our groundwater during residential construction.

  • “Creating a new mixed-use residential neighbourhood that people can call home“ This area is already ‘home’ to many wild creatures. Why can’t it be left as a natural area to protect the species which already dwell there? We have to destroy everything in the name of development?

    Dianne asked about 1 month ago

    The residential development would be on the site of the quarry, an already disturbed landscape. The development would include parkland and trails, and early quarry closure would mean less disturbance to wildlife living in nearby natural areas. The quarry is otherwise expected to continue operating for another 15-30 years. 

    The residential development is also what the quarry owner gets in exchange for shutting the quarry down early. Both the City and the quarry owner have interests that need to be addressed; the proposed solution addresses both, and has the added benefit of addressing blasting concerns by people currently living next to the quarry. That blasting has effects on wildlife too. 

  • Is the Quarry going to take on any of the cost of remediation or is the City going to have to foot the bill for all the water problems created over the years? How can a business put the city's water in danger and just walk away from the project without having to pay the burden of water problems long term?

    kaz asked about 1 month ago

    The quarry operator was legally permitted and licensed to dig to depth of the aquitard. Once the City advised the quarry owners of our concerns about impacts to the aquitard, they stopped work in the area where the aquitard was reached.

    Regardless, the quarry owner is responsible for all costs associated with remediation of the site which would be outlined in their closure plan.


  • Giving the City control of the quarry’s water supply and building an on-site water management system, should this of been done years ago?

    frank asked about 1 month ago

    There's no immediate risk to our drinking water. The City's water quality concerns relate to the quarry’s eventual closure. After quarry operations stop and the quarry fills with water, any damage to the aquitard could allow surface water to mix with groundwater, passing on bacteria or other contaminants. Right now continued quarry operations include keeping water away from the breach so there is no mixing of surface water and groundwater. 

    Meanwhile, this is a complex issue. It has involved exploring a number of different solutions that would address long-term needs. Over the last five years of confidential mediation, the City and RVD made good progress by collecting more data on groundwater movement on and off the quarry site, studying other similar situations, working to come to a mutual understanding of each other’s concerns and needs and, more recently, developing the solution being explored now. 

  • Has the quarry already fully breached the aquifers and, if it has, what can be done to remediate the situation?

    ARoloson asked about 1 month ago

    In 2008, City staff discovered that legal and permitted quarrying activities at Dolime had removed part of the aquitard – the layer of rock that protects our drinking water supply. Once aware of the City's concerns around water quality as a result of the breach, and despite not agreeing with our concerns, the quarry owner agreed to the City’s request to cease further quarrying in that area and of the aquitard overall.

    The City's water quality concerns relate to the quarry’s eventual closure. After quarry operations stop and the quarry fills with water, any damage to the aquitard could allow surface water to mix with groundwater, passing on bacteria or other contaminants. Right now continued quarry operations include keeping water away from the breach so there is no mixing of surface water and groundwater. 

    The solution we’re exploring aims to manage the long-term risk, after the quarry closes. Once the land becomes part of Guelph, the City would take control of the water supply and build a system to prevent surface water mixing with groundwater.

    It's also interesting to note that the license under which the quarrying of the aquitard occurred was granted in the 1990s before there was a good understanding of the location of the aquitard in this area. 

  • If we're a groundwater community why do we keep growing? Shouldn't we just stop?!?

    louise1982 asked about 1 month ago

    Managing growth and change, while making the city a better place to live, is important to all who live and work in Guelph. Just as we plan our lives, we must look ahead to understand what we want in our community and how to achieve it.

    Guelph is part of one of the fastest growing regions in Ontario and we’ve seen considerable growth in our community over the last decade. Growth in Guelph is mandated through Ontario’s Places to Grow strategy. How we grow is partly up to the City. That’s where Guelph’s water supply master plan comes in. Through Guelph’s water supply master plan, we identify and prioritize where we’ll source water for our growing community.

  • If this quarry closes, won’t another one just open somewhere else?

    louise1982 asked about 1 month ago

    That’s not up to us. We understand the growing demand for aggregate in Ontario and the value that aggregates provide—aggregates build houses and roads which we all need. We also want what’s best for the future of our community and in this case that’s protecting our drinking water supply.

    To learn more about quarries, please visit Ontario’s aggregate resources page

  • Is there enough water for another residential development?

    louise1982 asked about 1 month ago

    If the proposal proceeds, and we get through all the required planning steps, there would be a public planning process to determine what the new development would look like. Once that is complete, the City would be able to calculate expected water use for the new development based on the number of people we expect to live there, and this information would be integrated into the City’s water supply master plan. Ultimately, we expect that a new residential development would use less water than the quarry currently uses, and the City’s drinking water concerns will also have been addressed.

  • Why has it taken so long to fix this?

    Water Warrior asked about 1 month ago

    This issue is complex. It involves exploring solutions that address long-term needs. We’ve had to do some scientific and technical studies, and evaluate a number of complicated solutions. That takes time.

    Over the past few years, the City and the quarry owner (River Valley Developments) have made good progress by collecting data on groundwater movement on and off the quarry site, studying other similar situations, working to come to a mutual understanding of each other’s concerns and needs, and developing the proposed solution we’re sharing now.

  • If our water is at risk why has the quarry been allowed to keep operating?

    Water Warrior asked about 1 month ago

    The Dolime Quarry has been and is operated lawfully as per their permits and licences. And, once aware of our concerns around water quality in one particular area of the quarry, the quarry owner agreed to the City’s request to pause work in that area. We’re encouraged by the owner’s desire for a fair, transparent solution.

    Our water quality concerns relate to the quarry’s eventual closure. After quarry operations stop and the quarry fills with water, any damage to the aquitard—the layer of dense rock that acts as a barrier to protect our groundwater—could allow surface water to mix with groundwater, passing on bacteria or other contaminants. We want to make sure this never happens. The solution we’re exploring aims to manage this long-term risk.

  • Is our drinking water safe?

    Water Warrior asked about 1 month ago

    Yes, Guelph’s tap water is safe. We have always put the safety and security of our drinking water supply above all else. Guelph’s high-quality groundwater, which provides our clean, safe drinking water, is a major reason why people want to live here.

    Our tap water meets or does better than all of Ontario's drinking water standards which are among the strictest in the world. All of our water quality tests are performed by labs that are accredited by the Province of Ontario and the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation.

    Learn more about water quality in Guelph at guelph.ca/water.

  • Are plans for the proposed development available?

    kmillsbishop asked about 1 month ago

    We’re working with the quarry owner to get a high-level view of what they have planned for the site. We know they would like to build a mix of low- to higher-density housing and plan to include parkland and trails, including connections to existing Guelph trails.

    Detailed plans would not be available until we get closer to residential development planning approvals which all depends on City Council approving moving ahead with the proposed solution and the City getting all the necessary approvals.

  • If we are being asked as taxpayers to pay for remediation costs, then the city should inform us of what legal rights the quarry operator had, courtesy of their MNRF license, to quarry as far and deep as they did. If it was all legal, tell us so, and perhaps we can be convinced to fund a restoration. Or not. So, for the Oct.29 open house, my expectation is that there will be fulsome detail on what the MNRF license entitled the quarry operator to do, and not do. Will this be available and presented?

    wmungall asked about 1 month ago

    The quarry operator was legally permitted and licensed to dig to depth of the aquitard. Once the City advised the quarry owners of our concerns about impacts to the aquitard, they stopped work in the area where the aquitard was reached.

    Regardless, the quarry owner is responsible for all costs associated with remediation of the site which would be outlined in a closure plan.