Extensive studies of the geology and hydrogeology of this area provide a valuable information base, an appreciation of which is necessary to have success in challenging areas such as:
- maintenance of safe drinking water.
- disposal of municipal and industrial wastes.
- deep subsurface storage of petroleum products.
Approximately 90% of the water wells in Lambton County are drilled into the interface aquifer; the remainder intersect local sandy deposits of shallower depths within the glacial till.
The aquifer is a water source for some 15,000 people in Lambton County. In general, restoration of groundwater quality following its contamination is difficult and expensive; protection of groundwater quality is therefore essential.
Because groundwater flow through clay is either very slow or zero, the St. Clair Clay Plain is considered suitable for a commercial hazardous waste disposal site which is recognized as one of the best in the country. Along with other regions of Ontario, Sarnia-Lambton is faced with the growing need to reduce the generation of waste.
The safety associated with under- ground storage has led to widespread use of caverns for storage of products and intermediate feedstocks such as propane, butane and ethylene. The caverns, which range in size from 9200 to 250,000 cubic metres, are located in the Salina Formation of the Sarnia-Windsor area. Caverns are constructed in the salt formation by a solution-mining process. The rock salt has extremely low permeability and porosity; these properties make it a good storage medium.