Monday, June 4, 2012


I have for several years been aware and have publicly stated that the "Elmira cleanup is a sham". It seems that I've understated the case. From carefully examining years of monitoring reports I could see that concentrations of chemicals off-site were only decreasing in some areas nearest to off-site pumping wells. Other areas even appeared to be increasing. Then when I carefully examined both on and off-site pumping rates over many years it became even more obvious that something was seriously wrong. On and off-site pumping rates simply weren't anywhere near the targeted rates that Conestoga Rovers claimed that their own computer models required for eventual 30 year cleanup.

Combined with these problems was the discovery of more and more off-site sources of contamination. Many of these sources were not acknowledged either ever or until many, many years after the 1989 shutdown of the Elmira drinking wells. This includes Nutrite, several gas stations and the discovery of DNAPL 100 feet below surface just west of Varnicolor Chemical on Union St.. Further to this is the adamant refusal of the M.O.E., Chemtura or Conestoga Rovers (CRA) to comment one way or the other about this DNAPL which I have raised publicly many times. Also numerous plume maps clearly indicate additional sources of subsurface contamination within the Elmira Aquifers. These sources are west of Chemtura (Uniroyal) near the old Shirt Factory as well as further south in the area of the Sanyo Canada property . Finally Chlorobenzene plumes directly beneath Varnicolor Chemical in the Municipal Lower aquifer are very disturbing.

Part of the Elmira water coverup is the secrecy around the October 7, 1991 "sweetheart deal" between Uniroyal and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.). Part of it is about Uniroyal accepting all the blame for the entire off-site contamination. Part of it is about the blatant deception of the public by stating that Elmira's water will be restored to drinking water standards by 2028. Part of it deals with hydraulic containment or pump and treat being satisfactory to complete the cleanup versus source removal.

I have had a recent ephiphany. All the off-site wells are downgradient from Chemtura (Uniroyal). Up gradient or cross gradient sources within the Elmira Aquifer appear to be ignored while the downgradient subsurface sources have pumping wells located either immediately beside them (W5A/W5B, W4) or immediately downgradient of them (W3). The gas stations north and west as well as the Shirt Factory area source (west) are not immediately hydraulically contained. This will result in smearing of their contamination throughout the aquifers and aquitards as it moves downgradient to eventually be picked up by the nearest downgradient pumping well.

This is counterproductive to any eventual long term cleanup of the Aquifers. However it is not counterproductive to a different goal. Same methodology, same location of the pumping wells and same treatment of the pumped groundwater. What if the Region of Waterloo, Province of Ontario (M.O.E.) and Uniroyal decided twenty plus years ago that they weren't prepared to spend the money necessary to restore the Elmira Aquifers. By ignoring DNAPLS on and off the Uniroyal site as well as multiple other off-site sources they each would save millions to hundreds of millions of dollars either in direct cleanup and source removal costs or indirect legal costs. Simply hydraulically contain the entire Elmira Aquifer but call it a cleanup. In other words your real goal is to prevent the groundwater from spreading southwards beyond Elmira towards St. Jacobs and the Conestoga River which would also contaminate more private rural wells along the way. Hence I am beginning to believe that our authorities never have had any intention of restoring Elmira's aquifers. Either they are incredibly dumb or incredibly nefarious. The whole current "cleanup" is a joke and at long last I'm finding support from amateurs and professionals alike on that matter. So has this whole exercise simply been a public relations exercise by our politicians to pretend that they can and will restore the destruction of the Elmira Aquifers by multiple unregulated and unsupervised industrial polluters?

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