Tuesday, August 14, 2018

REGION OF WATERLOO YOU ARE ON THIN ICE




Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following article titled "Monsanto to pay man $289M US in Roundup weed killer lawsuit". Science as always takes considerable time to study and make determinations especially in the matter of toxic substances. Cancer takes years to develop and sometimes is due to years of exposure to toxins and other times not. Industry, especially the pesticide and chemical industry, rely on this. They literally make billions of dollars on products first and only after either the environmental damage is obvious (DDT) or after the health damage is obvious (2,4,5-T agent orange) do they stop production.

Glyphosate (Roundup) has been problematic for a very long time. The chemical industry of course say that it is safe. They have both their own tame scientists as well as the current U.S. President putting his man at the top of the EPA to reduce government oversight over business and industry. Our own Doug Ford, here in Ontario, is simply a Donald Trump "light" version.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) believe that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. The state of California have also added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

How is this relevant to the Region of Waterloo? WE have glyphosate in our tap water thank you very much to both local agriculture and local residential use as well as probably to local pesticide manufacturing. Simply check the Region of Waterloo's website under Quality & Treatment of our drinking water. Their Annual Reports have indicated Glyphosate for many years at <25 ppb which means less than 25 parts per billion. The problem is this. Other industrial chemicals are either very low as in one to three parts per billion or they are listed as <.5 ppb. That's right if all the other toxic chemicals are listed as non-detect at a method detection limit (MDL) of 1/2 a part per billion then why is glyphosate at <25 ppb. The answer is simple. Glyphosate is likely to be present at 5 or ten ppb in our drinking water and by using a very high MDL we don't get to see the actual concentration. If it rises to 25 to 30 ppb will the Region then represent it as <50 ppb?

Monday, August 13, 2018

ALL TOO OFTEN INSTANT DILUTION IS THE "SOLUTION" TO POLLUTION



The timing after Saturday's posting about Dilution Being the Solution to Pollution is appropriate. Today's Waterloo Region Record is carrying two stories about raw sewage discharges into our rivers, streams and lakes. It is not a pretty picture and here verbatim is the one story titled:

"By the Numbers: raw sewage leaks in Canada"

215 billion litres: Reported amount of untreated sewage flowing into Canadian waterways in 2017.

1.02 trillion litres: Reported amount of untreated sewage flowing out between 2013 and 2017.

269: Number of municipal water systems that are supposed to report sewage outflows to Environment Canada each year.

159: Number of municipal water systems that actually reported sewage outflows to Environment Canada each year.

1: Number of municipalities known to monitor the actual amount of sewage outflows versus a calculated estimate.

36 per cent: Share of total leaks and spills in 2018 that came from British Columbia.

Source: Environment Canada

A shout out to Kingston, Ontario who are the only city in the country to report the actual amount of their untreated sewage outflows.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

DILUTION MAY BE THE "SOLUTION" TO POLLUTION BUT LEAKAGE & HORSE MANURE WORKS EVEN BETTER



Pretend that hydraulic containment is the panacea. Pretend that the cheapest, least expensive solutions are also the best. Hire the most credentialed experts and consultants to peddle your mish mash of wishful thinking, junk science and self-serving conclusions. Then add to the mix uneducated, unsophisticated, ignorant, small town wannabies who want to be big shots but secretly know in their hearts just how unqualified they are for the job. The job of municipal councillors that is. At best what most of them are is actors and actresses who know how to pretend. Pretend to care, pretend to understand, pretend to be nuetral and unbiased and finally pretend to act in the public interest. Most of them are simply too uninformed to have a clue what the public interest really is. They therefore are extremely receptive to the real bigshots around town who are informed, knowledgable, wealthy, powerful and influential.

Our local politicians, in general, want to emulate them. Therefore they give them much to much credit for their opinions and advice. You'll notice I haven't said that the real local big shots give a whit for the public interest. They know what it is but it is often in conflict with their private interests. Afterall that's what successful entrepreneurs and businessmen excel at, namely conflating their interests with the public interest. That is how they get the zoning they want. That is how they get government grants. That is how they peddle their "trickle down" theory of economics.

Thus our local politicians suck up to these powerful people. Even if the politicians know they are being manipulated, most don't care. These big shots are both donors and fund raisers towards election campaigns. Other equally ignorant people listen to their opinions no matter how biased and self-serving. Newspapers quote them and politicians further up the provincial or federal foodchain want to be seen with them at media events. It's all a self-realizing, self-fulfilling prophecy whereby sincere voices of the people interested in the public interest are drowned out by all the background noise. And our people and our society suffers for the benefit of the few as it's always been regardless of the name of the type of government.

Polluters are rich, powerful, influential but generally disgusting human beings. Apparently the first three characteristics overpower the last one.

Friday, August 10, 2018

GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AND HOW IT AFFECTS US



By government I don't just mean politicians. All the trappings of government including provincial ministries, federal departments, police forces whether municipal, provincial or federal etc. I would also include Revenue Canada, OMB, ERT, former EAB, MPAC and a slew of other alphabet agencies whose members are appointed by the government of the day or the premier, prime minister etc. This could also include judges who are nothing but lawyers (with all that baggage) who are politically active outside of court and are then appointed by the appropriate party in power to a judgeship. Hell of a way to run a country. If this so called democracy is the best form of government then it's no wonder the world is in such trouble.

I read yesterday in the K-W Record that there are predictions that within eighty years humanity will have made the earth uninhabitable for our species. Way to go to every single politician around the world, past and present,on our planet. Job well done. In one sense other lifeforms on the planet probably hope that the time frame is shorter. My children assure me that insects will carry on just fine after humanity ends. I hope that they are right and I hope that much more than insects survives the plague of humanity on earth.

I suspect that every living, breathing politician on earth believe that humanity will move to the precipice and then unite in a sudden recognition of the end, and make miraculous efforts and changes to avoid the inevitable. Dream on. Most of our politicians look good and that's how they got elected. Our citizens in general aren't smart enough or diligent enough to elect smart and honest politicians hence we get a bunch of good looking dummies. No justice, no democracy, no accountability, no transparency, no long term thinking and eventually no human beings. Count on it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

BISHOP ST. (Cambridge) CONTAMINATION AFFECTS PROPERTY VALUES



Tracy Hipel a candidate in the upcoming municipal elections in Cambridge has just had a victory in his appeal of the assessment of his property for property tax purposes. All parties agreed that the initial assessment was reasonable under ordinary circumstances and that these however were not ordinary circumstances. The home in question is squarely in the area of impact of TCE vapour intrusion in the Bishop St. community. The TCE impact is of course courtesy of both Northstar Aerospace and a second property (G.E.) across the street from Northstar.

Hundreds of homes south of these properties and between them and the discharge point of the shallow aquifer into the Grand River have been affected by Trichloroethylene (TCE) vapour intrusion into their homes over a very long period of time. Studies and remediation have been ongoing since approximately 2005.

Frankly I believe that Mr. Hipel was very reasonable if not conservative in his request for a 15% reduction in his assessment based upon the reduction in value of his home due to the ongoing and very visible remediation on his property. This consists of a shed in his backyard which pumps out vapours from around his basement and then filters them through activated carbon before releasing them to the air. As was stated in the decision this also entails regular replacement of this carbon from duly authorized personnel entering his backyard which also disturbs his enjoyment of his property.

The City of Cambridge and the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) conceded to a 10% reduction in assessment of the property. Mr. Hipel suggested based upon a report (Valco) done several years ago that a reduction in assessment from 15 - 30 % was more appropriate and the Assessment Review Board agreed with him in their Decision handed down yesterday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

THE UNIROYAL TAIL HAS ALWAYS WAGGED ELMIRA



Late in September 2010, Chemtura Canada (Uniroyal) had an unfortunate fugitive release of one of their products namely BLE-25. This item is a combination of acetone and diphenylamine. Above and beyond the nuisance value as this airborne liquid and gas made a mess of houses, cars, playground equipment etc. was the health factor. It certainly was nothing compared to the witch's brew of toxins that this company has managed to release to the natural environment over the decades but it still was nothing you would want to ingest from gardens or inhale into your lungs.

All three of the "local" papers produced stories on this spill from a rupture disc on one of Chemtura's pressure vessels used to contain the batch of product at the time. These rupture discs are meant to rupture and allow the pressure vessel to vent to the outside air rather than explode inside the building. One would like to think that this is out of concern for the operators on site rather than to reduce repair costs to the company.

The K-W Record even had a colour picture of mayoral candidate Todd Cowan examinng the damaged finish on a car outside his workplace. That kind of publicity you just can't buy. That was arranged by me phoning the Record and suggesting they interview Todd about the spill. It helped boost him into the Mayor's Chair but the ungrateful wretch just like every other mayor rolled over to Uniroyal pressure and bounced me from the brand new CPAC at his earliest opportunity. What a piece of shoot this is a family Blog so I won't say it. The Record story and picture was in their September 29, 2010 edition.

P.S. The Uniroyal pressure was both direct and indirect. Certain senior Woolwich staff know where their bread is buttered.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

THE 1989 ELMIRA WATER CRISIS WAS BOTH AVOIDABLE & INEVITABLE



The crisis was avoidable in that all parties clearly saw it coming. It was inevitable because of the lying and self-serving behaviour of Uniroyal Chemical and their consultants, Morrison-Beatty as well as Conestoga Rovers. It was avoidable in that the writing was on the wall at least ten years prior to the shutdown and those responsible for the protection of the public knew it. It was inevitable because of the intransigence and bullying of Uniroyal Chemical and their U.S. parent. It was inevitable because of the arrogance, incompetence, laziness and corruption of Ontario politicians from the local level up to the provincial level. They were the ones, especially at the provincial level, who wrote weasel worded environmental laws with as many intentional loopholes as humanly possible in order to appease the monied interests. This in a nutshell is what pollution is all about. It is a transfer of business costs on to the suckers/citizens/public by greedy, immoral polluting industries and our politicians have always let them get away with it. In fact our politicians at all levels, especially the local level, have aided and abetted industrial polluters, the bigger the polluter, the bigger the municipal assistance.

Long after the horse had bolted the Ontario Ministry of Environment slammed the door with their 1984 Control Order. They insisted upon studies that should have been done twenty years earlier. They insisted upon actions that weren't accomplished for another decade such as the excavation of the two east side "consolidation" pits. They ordered the excavation of hundreds to thousands of buried drums on the company's eastern border that were "missed" in 1970 when some of them were excavated and put into RPE 4 & 5.

By 1981 phenols were found at low concentrations in the municipal drinking wells at the same time as they were being found in thousands of parts per billion on the Uniroyal site, both shallow and deep. The sludges in the west side lagoons were excavated in 1986-87. As was par for this site excavation of the contaminated soil beneath was ignored.

Uniroyal were handled with kid gloves from 1966 until 1989 when the MOE shut down the south wellfield. Is it possible that the MOE knew full well that the NDMA found in the south wellfield came from a much closer source than Uniroyal Chemical? Did the MOE finally discover their manhood and decide that this was the opportunity/crisis that they could use to beat this lying and disgusting corporate entity into environmental submission? They knew how much damage the company had done and was still doing and without major change would continue to do forever. They miscalculated the company's power, resolve and deep pockets and if Uniroyal were reluctant to pay for their own disgusting behaviour, how likely were they to shoulder the responsibility and costs for both themselves and all the other filthy polluters in Elmira who had operated surreptitiously under the umbrella of the big dog for decades? For enough money and indemnities and respect they ended up doing just that, but the MOE sold themselves and the public down the drain. Elmira, the environment and the public have yet to recover from the October 7, 1991 sweetheart deal the MOE gave to Uniroyal Chemical in exchange for "consideration".