Saturday, July 2, 2022


    I did not in yesterday's post include the title of Thursday's Woolwich Observer story written by Leah Gerber . It is "Community experts say Lanxess is not doing enough to address contaminated hotspots in Canagagigue Creek". That long overdue title should take some of the wind out of Lanxess's sails. It has been far too easy for them, GHD, Stantec and the MECP to sell their crap/version of events to the public.  I was  pleased  with a number of comments made by TAG members at the last virtual, public meeting on June 23/22. Not with all but certainly some by TAG Chair Tiffany Svensson and others. The fact that some (not all) of these comments made our local newspaper (Observer) is nothing short of wonderful. Please let it continue even if there are sometimes occasional and unavoidable errors. 

   The other piece of information for my readers who haven't seen and read the Observer story is the picture included. Hallelujah! Oh boy but somebody at the Observer really put it to Lanxess and the Ministry of Environment with that! It is a picture of the warning signs erected by Woolwich Township along the downstream Canagagigue Creek. They state : "CAUTION Consuming Fish Caught Here May Be Hazardous To Your Health" and the picture included shows a fish and a knife and fork inside a circle with a line running through them indicating prohibited. These signs can be found at the three roads that cross the creek downstream (east) of Lanxess/Elmira namely at the New Jerusalem Rd., Northfield Dr. and Jigs Hollow Rd. just outside West Montrose.     

   The back story to these signs is also interesting. They were erected after the Ontario Ministry of Environment refused to do it themselves. Back around late 2015 or early 2016 TAG and Dr. Richard Jackson asked the Ministry to put these signs up due to the numbers of both out of town and local people fishing in the Creek.  The MECP flatly refused with no logical reasons given. In my opinion the reasons are obvious. All they want to do is get this scandal/mess off their plate and they knew in advance that a Risk Assessment (RA) run by Lanxess and friends would do the job for them. Just like the entire environmental disaster caused by Uniroyal Chemical and enabled by gutless bureaucrats and politicians it was never about cleaning up the environment even partially, it was about giving the appearance of so doing. Hence a Risk Assessment (RA) with the veneer of scientific professionalism done by somebody other than Lanxess/GHD was just the ticket. Hence Lanxess hired Stantec and their reputation for the job.           

   So what's the problem now? The problem is that this Draft RA has clearly stated that there are no unacceptable health risks to human beings well past (downstream) the Uniroyal/Lanxess plant. Really? Meanwhile for years the public have been told otherwise by these signs (i.e. No Eating the Fish) not to mention the awkward problem that persistent and bioaccumulative toxins have been detected above health criteria for miles downstream. DDT and dioxin/furan concentrations in sediment and creekbank soils are incredibly high still even half a century after the daily dumping has ended. The Observer's TITLE, PICTURE and TEXT put the lie to Lanxess and fellow travellors who continue to deceive and endanger the public.                                                                                               


Friday, July 1, 2022


      It's been a very long wait. Literally years have gone by without that newspaper covering the games going on that pass for public consultation, community input and allegedly professional reports dealing with groundwater cleanup, DNAPLS, migrating dioxins/furans and the removal of toxic sediments and creekbank soils from the downstream Canagagigue Creek. Well better later than never although I suspect that the damage to a proper cleanup which we were promised more than three decades ago is irrevocable. As both Wilson Lau and Tiffany Svensson said at last week's  virtual TAG meeting, the Risk Assessment process will not clean up the already known "hotspots" in the Creek. They both suggested that "community concerns and acceptance" of the HHERA (Risk Assessment) might sway Lanxess Canada to do better. Concerned community members may be able to push hard enough but for that to happen those concerned community members need to be informed. That is starting to happen with the renewed interest in the issue by the Observer and with Leah Gerber's excellent reporting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     One week ago I quoted here in the Elmira Advocate the first sentence from Susan Bryant expressing her disappointment with Stantec's response to TAG's Risk Assessment concerns and comments. Reporter Leah Gerber has done the same only she included several more sentences from Susan. In its' entirety Susan said "I believe that TAG has asked for the very most meagre, doable remediation. Not dredge the creek, not stop possible sources that we may know about on the site. But simply the removal of a limited number of hotspots, all of limited extent. That's it. I had expected the risk assessment to delineate these areas for cleanup but this response to TAG's comments suggests that nothing need be done about these deposits, which science tells us are there, of persistent bioaccumulative toxins measuring orders of magnitude above acceptable levels. To me that is just not acceptable."                                                                                             

      I have not been in the habit of quoting Susan or applauding her actions since late 2007 however these comments of hers are accurate and correct including TAG asking for "...the very most meagre, doable remediation...".  Even if Lanxess does what TAG has requested it will be no more than a token "cleanup" of the creek. TAG has tacitly confirmed that during past public (virtual) discussions when they agreed to ask for remediation of ALL hotspots in the Creek not just the currently known ones.                                                                                                                                     

Thursday, June 30, 2022


 First of all the repeated assertions that all the east side pits (RPE 1-5) overflowed and then gravity flowed directly into GP-1 (gravel pit-1) are self-serving, unadulterated bullsh.t . There were no pipes, no culverts i.e. the overflowing liquid wastes were totally uncontained and flowing across the surface of bare ground, grasses and through a swamp/wetland. Directly between GP-1 and the admitted (Table 2.2) overflowing eastside pits and ponds was a well defined wetland that was the result of lower surface elevations combined with a high water table. These wetlands are not only clearly marked on different maps (CRA, GRCA) but have verbally and publicly been confirmed by Jeff Merriman of Chemtura to CPAC in approximately 2015. Furthermore Jeff was then advised by myself and some CPAC members  that the 1983 manufactured Stroh Drain had successfully drained the swamp and that the area was no longer under water. Prior to 1983 (and 1970) any overflowing waste waters would have entered this swampy wetland and mixed with the groundwater at surface. Then via gravity flow they would have migrated downhill (via topographical maps) in a south-east direction onto the Stroh property where they would pond in a bowl like low elevation area (345.0 masl). From there as that ponded area overflowed these waste waters would have continued southwards and joined the tiny Martin's Creek on its' way to the Canagagigue Creek.          ...................................................................................                                                                                        All of this is factual and provable, just not to professional liars, captured regulators, biased politicians or anyone else with an axe to grind or millions of dollars at stake. In other words most of the "stakeholders"  are in a gross conflict of interest position in that the public interest runs contrary to their own.                    .........................................................................                                                                                                  Page 2 of this report advises that iron oxide sludge, chlorobenzene, and DPA (diphenylamine) tars and contaminated soils were  used as backfill for the hole left in the ground by the 1993-94 excavations of RPE 4 & 5. Wow! That was a surprise to me. Also I've just put something together that's bothered me for years. Contaminated soil just south of RPE-5 was excavated around 1970 and put into RPE-5 leaving a large depression which has since filled with groundwater. It turns out that these liquid contaminants besides coming from the overflowing RPE-5 also came from the temporary overflowing TPE-2 as indicated in Table 2.2 of this report. Well, well, well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Today is a bit of a history (recent) lesson. Back in 2016 under the guidance of Dr. Richard Jackson, Chair of TAG (Technical Advisory Group), yet another approach was made to the Federal (Canadian) government for help in cleaning up the Canagagigue Creek . There were two articles in the Waterloo Region Record of major interest namely on May 2/16 titled "Town pushes feds on creek water" by Paige Desmond and a Record Editorial on May 4/16 titled "Toxic time bomb must be defused".  Interestingly just half a month earlier there was a Letter To The Editor in the Woolwich Observer from Dr. Dan Holt titled "Standing up for the environment shouldn't invite council's (Woolwich) disdain".                           ......................................................................                                                                                                     Also of interest to me is that it was Woolwich councillor Murray Martin along with Mayor Sandy Shantz who behaved the worst towards Dr. Holt and myself in our attempts to speak to Woolwich Council about Chemtura Canada (formerly Uniroyal Chemical). Meanwhile Ms. Shantz half a month later went on the Record regarding federal help by saying "I don't think that you should make a small municipality take care of a problem that is bigger than itself."  Politicians don't you just love them?                                                  ..................................................................                                                                                                          So where are we today? Absolutely nowhere. Our Canadian federal government did not step up. They did nothing! The cleanup is still in the hands of the corporate successors to Uniroyal Chemical (Lanxess Canada) and they have almost sold their self-serving, assumption riddled, error filled Risk Assessment   to all the alleged "stakeholders" even the five minute wonder ones. Once again when all was said and done, more was said than was done.                  

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


 WRDSB-Waterloo Region District School Board                                                                                            ....................................................                                                                                                                        The recent spate of negative publicity around the School Board is nothing new. Good Gosh Luisa D"Amato has been writing about various WRDSB misadventures for literally decades. Granted only a few of the most flagrant and egregious scandals/stories really have legs and carry on  for a lengthy timeframe. Two that come to mind are the Ron Archer child abuse stories and how the Board played "Pass the Trash" with that teacher from school to school all the while defending him from parents' outrage. The other which actually became public prior to the public outing of the Board's gutless and contemptible behaviour  regarding Mr. Archer was the case that I was involved in. Lots of court time involved as the School Board whined and lied to the Waterloo Regional Police each and every time I attended my child's school either for events oe even just to pick him up from school. Eventually after the first Trespass charge came to court and the Board looked like the petty, vindictive as.holes that they were, the Crown's office advised the Board that they would not prosecute any further Trespass charges that against me.                                        ...............................................................................................                                                                            Currently there are two more scandals/whatever the hell they are events making both the Trustees as well as the Board administration look mighty sketchy. The first is in regards to the former teacher who had the audacity to formally present herself as a Delegation to the Board only to be shut down four minutes into her Delegation. Apparently she suggested that certain books in the school libraries discussing sexual orientation, gender identity , transgender issues  etc. might be inappropriate for the children from Grade 3 to Kindergarten who also used the same library. That shut down behaviour of a Delegation did not make the Trustees look very good.                                                                                                                            .................................                                                                                                                                          The second recent issue is the Mike Ramsay affair. Yes this is the same Mike Ramsay who has been a Trustee for what: twenty or thirty years?  Well allegedly a tweet about Board business got him into trouble. Nobody wants to even publicly say what the issue is. Hmm! Is there any chance that these two most recent issues are connected??? Hey when our authorities decide to exclude the public from the discussion then it serves them right if the public jump to either conclusions or confusions. 

Monday, June 27, 2022



Think of the old style mafia. You have a problem you remove it. Bomb, gun, knife or baseball bat as long as the result is the removal of the problem then you can move on. Our neighbour Hamilton I have recently learned was once nicknamed "bomb city" for that very reason. Powerful people always want to get their way. Historically as well as recently in China, Russia, Africa and other locales that meant by forceful removal of one's opposition. Allegedly more civilized countries have found smoother and easier ways namely by economic control. It's easier to bribe someone into submission than to have to stickhandle around the law and authorities after the fact. It's even easier to bribe a whole lot of people including entire systems set up to supposedly enforce the law. Past that if one is really smart they lobby (bribe via political "donations") as per the U.S. Congress. Hell that's mostly legal and hence reduces the risk in forcing one's wishes and will upon an ungrateful public.                                                                                                      ...................................................                                                                                                                        We have lots of environmental laws of which few are actually rigorously enforced. Loopholes and minimal penalties are all part of the lobbying process. Afterall politicians want to get votes from everybody so they do their darnedest to get support from both sides of an issue. If the public are demanding cleaner air and water then give it to them via flowery legislation with hard sounding phrases but avoid business/industry opposition by limiting its' scope and certainly emforcement penalties. Afterall many industries view environmental penalties as simply the cost of doing business profitably.                  ......................................................................................................                                                                    GHD suggest in their "Revised East Side Groundwater Report" that "The contamination beneath the Property (Stroh) has been fully delineated and no receptors are being impacted." They also suggest that because the 2021 round of sampling of all of two parameters (NDMA, 2,4 DCP) produced only Non-Detects that "Therefore no further sampling or delineation is needed." Lastly GHD recommends the remaining monitoring wells installed on the Property (Stroh) since 2017 be properly sealed and abandoned."  WOW talk about brass balls!  Their facts are wrong and in order to avoid proving that they want permission to remove the evidence i.e. the monitoring wells which in some sampling rounds have been allegedly non-detect and in others, detections of toxic contaminants have exceeded the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS).                                                                                                                 ...........................................                                                                                                                              GHD/Lanxess have successfully deflected the issues on the Stroh property. Those issues are  longterm sources in the soil of DDT, dioxin/furans and more to the Canagagigue Creek. The whole groundwater fiasco and phony conclusions are simply more of the mask hiding the real environmental issues and costs involved.   

Saturday, June 25, 2022


 Fifty years after the end of dumping into Uniroyal Chemical's east side pits we have solvents and pesticides in groundwater as much as 29 metres  below surface on the neighbouring (east side) Stroh farm.  While there are likely many more contaminants, three were sampled for and detected namely NDMA, 2, 4, 6- Trichlorophenol and 2, 4-Dichlorophenol. Some of these contaminants have been measured as far as 250 metres to the east of the Lanxess/Stroh boundary line. The monitoring wells involved  (OW190, OW189, OW190) are not up or down gradient of groundwater flow but in fact cross-gradient which is very strange and totally unexplained by Lanxess, GHD or the Ministry (MECP).              ...................................................................................                                                                                        I am of course referring to the recently released Revised East Side Groundwater Report.   Sebastian and Dustin were the two biggest critics at Last Thursday's TAG meeting. Sebastian advised that in his opinion the report was still incomplete despite the author Alan Deal's (GHD) contrary opinion. Sebastian pointed out that absolutely zero wells had been drilled and sampled in the bottom (south) third of the Stroh property and hence a huge area had not in fact had it's groundwater delineated. This unsampled area includes the Stroh Drain area which then flows southward through the Martin farm where it is called Martin Creek. Dustin also stated that  GHD had failed to fully delineate the site as well although his criticism was based more on the failure of vertical delineation rather than lateral (horizontal). My criticism at this meeting, unstated by mandate/fiat of two Woolwich councillors, was that likely the vast majority of contamination from Uniroyal Chemical on the Stroh farm  was the result of overland gravity flow not via groundwater.                                                                                                                                                      ...........................................................                                                                                                                As bad as groundwater sampling has been on the Stroh and Martin property, it is soil sampling that is the most egregious and Lanxess self-serving.  Soil sampling that is as in there being little or none. There is zero done by GHD, Lanxess or the MECP on the southern third of the property as well as none other than along Lanxess's eastern border (i.e. Stroh's western border). It is a travesty. Soil sampling is much more likely to detect DDT and dioxins/furans as those chemicals are somewhat hydrophobic and they prefer to partition onto soil. Hence these chemicals are likely still available for remobilization via serious flooding which will take some of them into the Canagagigue Creek.