Monday, May 23, 2016


What do the five companies above share? The last four are located in Elmira, Ontario and are all downgradient within the NDMA plume emanating from Uniroyal (Chemtura) in the Municipal Upper Aquifer. The first three have now all been proven to have contributed to the contamination of the Municipal Upper Aquifer, one of the drinking water aquifers for Elmira. Borg and Sanyo (especially) have extremely limited evidence against them. This may be due to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's (M.O.E.) self-serving desire to restrict responsibility for the Elmira wellfields shutdown solely to Uniroyal Chemical. By intentionally refusing to test shallow soils and groundwater at other local industrial facilities and publicly sharing the results; the M.O.E. have guaranteed that Uniroyal remain firmly and solely on the hook. Early on the M.O.E. would have been advised by their own experts that the NDMA plume (& numerous others) from Uniroyal, headed south-west and then due south towards the south wellfield (wells E7 & E9). Hence in regards to any other corporate contributions along the path of the various plumes; the waters and responsibility would be muddied so to speak.

There are other obvious contributers to the contamination of the Elmira drinking water aquifers. Both the Bolender Landfill north of Church St. and Uniroyal plus the First St. Landfill immediately south of the Uniroyal (Chemtura) property are the most obvious. They both accepted various Uniroyal wastes over the years albeit decades ago. To my knowledge neither were remotely designed or built with leachate control systems. What landfills were back in the 1940s, 50s or 60s? While possibly four miles further north up Arthur St., nevertheless the former Woolwich Landfill on Seiling Dr. is in my opinion a time bomb. Plumes were known by University of Waterloo researchers to exist back in the 1980s and in recent years have caused rural well shutdowns in the immediate area. Also Environmental Appeal Board documents regarding Varnicolor's Control Order indicate that Varnicolor were dumping their toxic, liquid still bottoms at the Woolwich Landfill. If those drums haven't rusted or ruptured to date, rest assurred they will eventually.

Last Saturday the Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Chemical site still concerns Woolwich". The title is a bit of a misnomer in that Varnicolor Chemical never really concerned Woolwich even at the height of their pollution activities. Woolwich's former CAO, Bill Kowalchuk, did send a couple of harsh letters to the owner of Varnicolor, Severin Argenton, back in the 80s. Then when Bill was let go by Woolwich he immediately found a home at Varnicolor Chemical and was so involved with some of the wrongdoing that he was convicted along with Severin on environmental charges. Sandy Shantz's concerns with Varnicolr pollution are about thirty years late. Even while on Woolwich Council (2006-2010) she showed no interest in Varnicolor and no acumen or competence regarding Uniroyal, despite my best efforts at the time. That said I do not disagree with her badly uninformed opinion that even so late in the day, Varnicolor's intentionally under investigated deep contamination needs to be addressed. I believe that that can be done without at this late date putting the screws to Elmira Pump who not only bear zero blame for the contamination but in fact have spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to mitigate it.

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