On the basis of groundwater, the sandstone of P.E.I. is considered to be composed of two zones: an upper zone, highly fractured having significant near-vertical fracturing and a lower zone, below about 35 metres, much less fractured and having few near-vertical fractures. Below the first aquitard layer the lower zone is known as the confined aquifer. An aquitard is a material like claystone and siltstone that has low permeability but transmits water at low flow rates.
The water flow in the confined aquifer is referred to as the ‘deeper circulation’ and is on a regional scale and not restricted to watersheds. Once the confined aquifer enters under the ocean it is called the confined submarine groundwater discharge (CSGD) aquifer. This deeper circulation through the CSGD affects directly the productivity of the ocean and has been and is being impacted in P.E.I. by human activities of the surface.
The proper jurisdiction of the confined aquifer should be the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The CSGD aquifer is driven by the deeper circulation of the confined aquifer on land, gravity in the end. Man should not be drilling into the confined aquifer on land and withdrawing its water. Municipal wells are not excluded. The deep water wells that have been drilled are removing water from the deep circulation and are reducing the productivity of the fisheries. We are killing the ocean. Existing deep water wells should be sealed off at where they puncture the confined aquifer. The confined aquifer should be sealed off and truly deep geological exploration wells should have casings to 300 meters at least.
We should thank the persons who had the wisdom to place a moratorium on deep water drilling in 2003. We must restore the deeper circulation; otherwise, we run the risk of turning the ocean into a saltwater desert.