Thursday, March 22, 2018


They try not to lie outright. That said they never miss an opportunity to buttress their client's interests. They never miss an opportunity to gild the lily - in their clients favour. The term that we've long used for Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and now so sadly Lanxess is "client driven". Today's Woolwich Observer tells it like it is on their Editorial page. The title of their Editorial is "Woolwich needs to look closer to home for solutions". The key sentence relevant to my posting today is "Realistically, consultants typically lead things in the direction favoured by those who hire them.". Truer words were never spoken.

All of this is a very sad and discouraging comment upon the human condition. Basically the biggest liars among us can afford to hire consultants to do our lying for us. Perhaps the self-serving, sensitivity aware among us would prefer terms such as preferential facts or even factual fictions rather than blunt words like liars. Tough. Especially tough when it's tax payers' dollars being used to lie to those very same taxpayers. At least in the context of our local world class polluter here in Elmira, they have been spending their own dollars on consultants in order to save them millions of dollars in cleanup costs. Do you really think they would pay millions of dollars to Conestoga Rovers and or GHD if they felt that they weren't saving money in the long run?

Recently we've received two reports, sort of. The first was a 208 page on-line report which I've grudgingly and unhappily printed out. I will be reporting on it this afternoon in Woolwich Council Chambers as a Delegation to RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee). The second was also an on-line report of over 2,500 pages. I have not downloaded that remotely in its' entirety especially as I've been promised a hard copy this week. I'm still waiting although I have downloaded a few of the Figures showing sediment and soil results for three areas along the Canagagigue Creek. Although I am not impressed with what I've seen to date, it would be premature to comment in detail until I've read the report fully. As it won't be discussed at TAG (Technical Advisory Group) and RAC until April 19 and 26 respectively, I should have enough time to look it over carefully.

A key aspect of any and all these consultants' reports is the scope of the "investigation". In other words if you can self define the problem from the start you can tilt the investigation in the most favourable direction to your interests. This is also more subtle than honestly reporting all the data and then cherry picking those facts which best support your client's position. Similarly, honestly reporting the data and then coming up with outrageous but self-serving conclusions from it only carries you so far. This is the art of writing consultants' reports. The tricks of the trade if you will. This is how consultants get rehired by their clients.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


The above title is a quote from an e-mail I received last evening from an environmental colleague and friend. The full sentence was "Sad days in Elmira with the long term perpetual coverup versus cleanup.". Who exactly do you think you are fooling Sandy and Mark? The same thing became apparent when we cleaned our political house back in October 2010. With that housecleaning of Bill Strauss, Pat Mclean, Murray Martin and more (Sandy didn't run) we also cleaned house of Pat and Susan on CPAC. It turns out that the environmental community outside of Elmira had long known that our cleanup was doomed with CRA and Chemtura in charge of the cleanup and Pat and Susan in charge of CPAC. This was why Todd Cowan never had any intention of reappointing the old CPAC although there were a couple of names (not Pat & Susan) on CPAC that I did recommend. To this day while Pat and Susan are on TAG they no longer are remotely in charge. Hallelujah! When not in charge Susan can focus less on politics, manipulation and backstabbing and more on getting a cleanup of the creek.

By the way - a little clarification. Late yesterday I received an e-mail. This was long after I posted my comments and criticisms about public consultation here in Elmira. I included in that demise of public consultation the ridiculousness of sending out 2,500 page e-mails. Maybe complaining helps. Regardless, the e-mail was to inform me that sometime this week, I and others would be receiving hard copies of the "2017 Canagagigue Creek Sediment and Floodplain Soil Investigation". If and when that happens I'll mention it here. Public consultation is still "extinct just like the dinosaurs" here in Elmira albeit maybe not quite buried yet. Watch out Sandy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Back on Saturday March 10/18 I posted an article here titled " Contemptible Abuse Of Public Consultation". I indicated that Woolwich Township had sat for three weeks on a 218 page report prior to sending it out a mere six days before last week's TAG meeting. They also sent it out via e-mail rather than hard copies which especially with Figures and Tables is much easier to follow if you can keep the maps and drawings in front of you while you are reading the text.

Well yesterday they sent out the hot off the press, dated March 19, 2018 "2017 Canagagigue Creek Sediment and Floodplain Soil Investigation". Now that is more like it timing wise. This report is to be discussed both at the April 19/18 TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meeting as well as the April 26/18 RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) meeting. It is especially appreciated having a reasonable amount of time to read this report as it is over 2,500 pages long. Seriously!

And that is the problem once again. They sent it by some special e-mail file. Holy crap I want a hard copy but printing this off is ridiculous. Technology is not always beneficial to the public. In this case it is pure laziness and cheapness in having it on-line rather than hard copies available to those with a proven decades long track record of reading reports cover to cover. By doing this and discouraging private downloading at personal cost they are also increasing the likelihood of fewer people reading it at all and of each person's reading it on-line superficially, only once, with very little back and forth from text to Figures to Tables etc. I call this a win-win. The polluter wins and so does his alleged regulator as once again they discourage public involvement and consultation.

Monday, March 19, 2018


RAC will meet this Thursday at 4 pm. for the first time in six months. That is disgraceful yet you won't hear Chemtura/Lanxess or the Ontario Ministry of Environment complaining about it. Media coverage is nil and the public turnout only a little bit better than that. Chemtura and the M.O.E. went crying to the new mayor and one councillor after the last election. They stepped in and gave those two everything they wanted. In order to do so Sandy and Mark sold the farm and the public interest along with it.

I will be a Delegation this Thursday. There have been issues with Lanxess's work plans from the beginning. They have either ignored or brushed aside suggestions and criticisms. The Investigation Report written by GHD avoids major areas of likely contamination. It is typical of their predecessors Conestoga Rovers in that you will never find that which you astutely avoid looking for.

Lanxess will present their Investigation Report after I give my Delegation. They will gild the lily as well as make inaccurate and deceptive statements knowing that with this format, manufactured by Woolwich Township, there will be no rebuttal by informed and honest citizens other than those appointed by Council. It is both a sweetheart deal and a dream come true for world class polluters everywhere.

TAG or the Technical Advisory Group will present their Recommendations in regards to this East Side Investigation Report, the Clams and Leeches Bio-Monitoring report and lastly the monthly Progress Report. I am confident that TAG will advise as to a number of problems and weaknesses in these reports. They could use the assistance however of other Woolwich residents with decades of first hand experience regarding Elmira's pollution problems.

This is a public meeting in Woolwich Council Chambers. The irregularity of these Chemtura/Lanxess meetings combined with the office hours timing of RAC (4 pm.) does not encourage public turnout. That is not by accident. The former Chair prior to Dr. Dan Holt and her sidekick preferred 9 am. meetings for UPAC and the then CPAC. This too eliminated most of the public as well as even interested APTE and EH-Team members. Also not by accident. At least in those days however we had the Elmira Independent newspaper faithfully attending and reporting at each and every meeting.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Firstly a little reminder. This was only the second TAG meeting in the last eight months. Since the July 2017 meeting TAG has only met in December 2017 and then March 15th of this week. RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) hasn't met since last September. Therefore next week's meeting (Thursday March 22 4 pm.) is the first one in six months. Both are highly unacceptable. News flash geniuses. The off-site pumping rates suck. The 30 year cleanup mandated for 2018 is in the toilet. The East Side Investigation ignored many of both TAG and CPAC's (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) recommendations and finally the Canagagigue Creek further sediment and soil monitoring data is about to be presented with public discussions in April. This lack of public meetings has only made it easier for GHD and Lanxess to either "forget" or ignore the public's input. Nice job, once again Sandy.

Pat Mclean appropriately pointed out that we "are three years in" in regards to how long it's taken GHD/Lanxess to finally determine that yes there is significant contamination on the Stroh property from Uniroyal Chemical. This is indeed a victory for both professional and non-professional citizen activists on CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) who without any support from either Conestoga Rovers (CRA), Chemtura or the MOECC (Ministry of Errors and Corporate Collusion) researched and determined that contamination had flowed east onto the Stroh farm in complete contradiction to CRA/Chemtura's self-serving junk science.

Both Pat and Susan seem to want a timely removal of the contaminated shallow soil along Lanxess's eastern border. I would agree if we knew positively that the contamination only went six inches deep. What evidence there is from other soil samples on the Chemtura/Lanxess site says that that is typical CRA psuedo science. DDT, Dioxins and PCBs have been found between 1 and 2 metres deep in other test pits and excavations. Therefore Pat and Susan's wishes may be due to ignorance, indifference or even wishing to assist the new owners of the site and the MOECC get an inexpensive "fix". Oh hell maybe they've had a 100% change in direction and suddenly want to admit that myself and CPAC have been on the right track all along. This would indeed be a turnaround from their lying at the April 9, 2015, private yet documented, "stakeholders" meeting. That said it will be a hollow victory if the Stroh and Martin properties/farms continue discharging these toxic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) into the Canagagigue Creek for another fifty years or more.

TAG stuck to their guns in regards to their criticisms of the last two Clam and Leech Bio-Monitoring Reports by Aqua Tox. Both in 2015 and 2017 there were multiple cages of these lifeforms washed away during high water flows. TAG wish to both make positive recommendations as well as to clearly disagree with the refusal of Lanxess to do these studies and reports over despite their limited use due to minimal surviving sample results. TAG also made clear that they want to see sampling done further downstream of the Chemtura/Lanxess site to see exactly what is going on in the creek.

TAG also discussed multiple monthly Lanxess Progress Reports due to the multiple months between their meeting times. The ongoing problems with the W9 treatment system were discussed as well as other temporary shutdowns of various pumping wells. TAG appropriately made it clear that there are ongoing problems with the off-site pumping wells and rates.

Friday, March 16, 2018


Well I guess it was inevitable. The still relatively new TAG members are trying hard and they mean well. The most sincere who also has five years prior experience on CPAC, Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, stepped up and spoke the truth. The other TAG members including the Chair, a certified hydrogeologist, just didn't get it. As a result they passed a terrible Motion endorsing the recommendation to proceed with removal of contaminated soil on the Stroh property to a depth of six inches. That's right six inches. Oh and about a total of ten feet wide and a length of a few hundred metres. This is at best a token cleanup. Par for the course.

A comment on yesterday's post here suggested that I would set TAG straight last evening if they missed something major. Well normally over the last twenty-seven years I would have done exactly that. However when our idiot mayor totally bans the public from speaking at PUBLIC TAG meetings, that is difficult. As a direct result I sat there last night in disbelief as TAG totally missed the point of the 2014 MTE Consulting Report written by Peter Gray on behalf of CPAC. His report by the way was accepted by the then current Woolwich Council and passed along to the Ontario Ministry of Environment for action.

First off Peter Gray advised that Uniroyal contaminants likely had flowed both eastwards onto the Stroh property as well as southwards onto the Martin property. This whole exercise both in 2015 and 2017 has focused on eastwards only. Yes there were three composite, extremely shallow soil samples taken solely on the Chemtura site along their southern border. Unfortunately this location is at the edge of former gravel pit GP2 and was capped with clean fill in 2013. Nice testing you dishonest jerks.

Secondly as Sebastian pointed out last evening there has been zero testing on the Stroh property anywhere near the Stroh Drain. Peter Gray of MTE at his CPAC presentation made it clear that not only the sediments in the bottom of the Drain should be tested but also the water flowing in it and the soils around it. None of this has occurred. And the "public consultation" allowing myself or other CPAC members who initiated this entire investigation is somewhat stilted Sandy when we are prohibited from speaking at these meetings. Sebastian also pointed out that the two, three year belated surficial soil samples (SS20 & SS21) done on the Chemtura property should not rule out soil testing both surficial and deeper further east on the Stroh property.

David Hofbauer answered a very good question from Susan Bryant. She pointed out that while the surficial soil samples on the Stroh property just east of Chemtura were above the provincial criteria they were nowhere nearly as high as the results just a few metres away on the Chemtura property. David suggested that there were several reasons including south-east flow of either surface water or ground water versus due east onto the Stroh property. He also suggested that Mr. Stroh who plants corn and soybeans right there is therefore tilling his land once or twice a year. This would reduce concentrations and speed up breakdown of contaminants likely by much greater exposure to sun, wind and rain. I would think that wind alone would move regularly tilled soil further away from the Chemtura property line. David also suggested that the composite sampling was also the culprit in reducing contaminant concentrations. I would suggest there is yet another reason and that is contaminant uptake by Mr. Stroh's crops. Literally decades of corn and soybeans whose roots are in this soil would likely uptake a significant quantity of the contaminants in the soil. Afterall phytoremediation is the study of plants and trees actually being used for that purpose.

Yesterday morning I sent three maps to three different TAG members via e-mail. Joe Kelly was away much of the day and didn't see his prior to the meeting. The other two clearly did not put two and two together and understand that the high concentrations of DDT and Dioxins found at depth (1-2 metres) in the 2013 GP1 excavation was a damning condemnation of CRA/GHD's claims that these two chemicals would only be found in the top six inches (15 cm.) of the soil.

Both Sebastian and Joe Kelly also brought up the inconvenient fact of contamination consisting of black staining and chemical odours in both test pit TPOW36-5-R -A as well as in well OW185-5 on the Stroh property. This contamination is at depth (4.5 metres) in OW 185-5 and at 2 metres below ground surface in the test pit. Neither of these known contaminated locations will be excavated with this sham cleanup. Sebastian advised that TAG should want to connect the dots. Both these locations are right beside the most notorious and heavily contaminated Burial Area 1 (BAE-1) as well as Reburied Drums (RB-1 & 2) on the Chemtura property. Allegedly neither the test pit nor the well contained Dioxins or DDT at high concentrations. Isn't that convenient. There are literally hundreds of other toxic chemicals on the Chemtura property and clearly they have moved onto the Stroh property. Remove them you buggers!

As a direct result of the political decision made by Sandy and Mark Bauman three years ago to remove me and most of the CPAC members from the process, public consultation has suffered. This is despite the best efforts of several very good people on TAG who simply were not involved as recently as three years ago. Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. cried to the new Woolwich council after the 2014 election for help from the mean and terrifying seniors and others on CPAC who had been appointed by the previous council. Mark and Sandy stepped up to protect the defenceless and timid corporate polluter in our midst.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The main course of business this evening will be the Off-Site Investigation. This consists of looking at six surficial soil samples, seven new groundwater monitoring wells and eight test pits near the new monitoring wells. Unfortunately while this work was worthwhile nevertheless it ignores the likely most heavily contaminated areas. As mentioned yesterday this would be the Stroh property in and around the part of the Stroh Drain nearest to the Chemtura (Lanxess) property.

There is however one other spot still on the Chemtura property that has been conveniently ignored. That would be the true location of GP1 on the east side of the diagonal strip of high ground in Chemtura`s south-east corner. This strip of high ground lies in a north-west to south-east orientation and is clearly visible on various maps including the topographical map referenced in yesterday`s post.

The true location of GP1 is courtesy of two earlier maps including the 1985 ``History of Uniroyal Wastes`` by Jackman et al as well as the map by CH2MHILL consultants produced in February 1991 on behalf of the Region of Waterloo. The title of that report was ``Elmira-St. Jacobs Water Supply Project Volume II- Elmira Aquifer System: Contaminant Plume Mapping And Source Investigation``.

It is possible that if the excavation of gravel was deep enough that a considerable amount of Dioxins and DDT could have been trapped in this area on the east side of the diagonal strip of high ground. On the other hand if they only excavated the higher ground down to the level of the low lying swampland to the north and east then overflowing waste waters coming from the pits to the north would have flowed south-east onto the Stroh property as previously mentioned. Either way both this area and the Stroh Drain need to be properly sampled. Do not hold your breathe waiting for either Lanxess or the Ontario M.O.E. to do this work. They are looking for less contamination and hence less expense and public health and the environment be damned.