Thursday, January 12, 2017


Today's Woolwich Observer carries an overall good article describing some aspects of the ground and surface water situation here in Elmira as well as mention of the still grossly contaminated Chemtura site itself. First off I must mention the awkward fact that while I am thrilled that the Observer have stepped up and run a major article on this local environmental issue with further afield repercussions; nevertheless with all due respect to the reporter Whitney Neilson, she has not attended a single CPAC, RAC or TAG meeting to the best of my knowledge. That said she actually did an amazing job under those circumstances. I only wish that the Observer could spare her talent on a regular basis to cover RAC and TAG public meetings held in the Woolwich Council Chambers. This article is titled "New hand on tiller to navigate Elmira's groundwater morass" and by clicking on this link you should get to today's Observer. Then simply scroll down to page 3 and there it is.

There is some excellent information in this article including Dr. Jackson confirming the last CPAC's 2012 Resolution which was also passed by the Woolwich Council of the day. It was then sent to the Ontario government by Woolwich Council. Dr. Jackson stated "it's most unlikely we'll meet the 2028 deadline...". This is in reference to cleaning up the Elmira Aquifers to drinking water standards.

Dr. Jackson takes credit for having "...reset the agenda and allow the township to see the complexity of the problem...". I would certainly agree with the second half of that quote, a little less for the first part. Dr. Jackson whom I have expressed my admiration and respect for many times, in fact confirmed much of the last CPAC's efforts and focus. As mentioned there was the 2012 CPAC Resolution as well as it was CPAC alone who raised the east side coverup of off-site contaminant flow and diversion via the Stroh Drain into the Canagagigue Creek further downstream. It was on the last CPAC's watch that George Karlos of the M.O.E. felt the need to "reassure" citizens that the creek was improving hence his disastrous new testing downstream.

While overall the article is good unfortunately Dr. Jackson was quoted as saying that the Township had " expertise available to it.". This on the face of it is absolutely wrong. With a Phd in Biology SWAT member (Dr. Henry Regier), a certified hydrogeologist (David Marks), a certified chemist & practicing consultant (Graham Chevreau) and finally Ron Campbell, founder and owner of Acute Environmental Inc.; CPAC was loaded with both relevant professional talent as well as highly educated and talented members of the community including Vivienne Delaney, Dr. Dan Holt, Dr. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, Richard Clausi and yes indeed, yours truly.

I believe that Dr. Jackson simply misspoke. What he probably did not know was that David Marks (hydrogeologist) was a member of CPAC. Dr. Jackson was in fact referring specificly to Woolwich Township over the decades not having a certified hydrogeologist as a member of CPAC.

There was another vague reference to antagonism between people who've been working on the contamination problem for 30 years and those who are new to the issue. This I don't understand unless there was/is friction between the two TAG members with longtime experience on the issue and some of the brand new ones. If so this is news to me.

The next TAG meeting with the new Chair, Tiffany Svensson, is February 2/17 at 6:30 pm. in Council Chambers. I'll be there and would love to see the Observer there as well.


  1. Oh my gosh there is so much expertise and talent that I forgot two names. Dr. Gail Krantzberg (McMaster U.) was commissioned by CPAC in 2012 and she wrote a report indicating the unlikelihood of Chemtura achieving the 2028 deadline. Also Peter Gray of MTE Consulting Inc. wrote an excellent report on behalf of CPAC in 2014 dealing with the east side and contamination leakage and flow from Chemtura onto it.

  2. Well we seem to have things well cleared up. The latest information is that Dr. Jackson's quote was not what it appeared to be. Further info will be posted tomorrow.