Friday, May 19, 2017


The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) met last evening in Woolwich Council Chambers. Chair Tiffany Svensson had Dr. Neil Thomson attend for the second meeting in a row and again he was informative and very helpful. Sebastian put a few tough questions to him namely "What sources did you rely on for your data into your Conceptual Site Model" and do you have confidence in their completeness and accuracy. Sebastian prefaced this by suggesting (accurately) that CRA (now GHD) had a habit in the past of drawing Conclusions in their reports which did not always flow from the data they had presented. Dr. Thomson answered this question straight up and indicated that whatever data he asked for he received and that yes on occasion he might not always have the same conclusions from the data that the authors did.

The other question that Sebastian asked was in regards to "other sources" of contamination to Elmira's Municipal Aquifers. This of course was in reference to Dr. Thomson's statement that 1,900 kg. of Chlorobenzene in the Aquifers was unaccounted for. In other words possibly another source in town contributed that to the groundwater mix. He refused to speculate who or even if, however he did say that there is an issue here but for a later discussion. My speculation is that Borg Textiles may be the culprit although courtesy of the incompetent and biased Ontario Ministry of Environment that will be much harder to prove or disprove today than it would have been twenty-eight years ago.

TAG discussed GHD's Revised Off-Site Investigation Work Plan. This is in reference to soil samples, test pits and groundwater monitoring on the Stroh farm on Chemtura's (Lanxess) eastern border. David Hofbauer was very helpful with his comments regarding composite soil samples to be taken looking for Dioxins and DDT. Of course much more than just Dioxins and DDT should be sampled but this is Chemtura afterall. David indicated that collecting numerous samples and mixing them together prior to testing is an excellent way to "average away issues". In other words if you have a low lying area where surface flow of contaminated liquid wastes from Chemtura may have gone on to the Stroh property, you can greatly reduce the concentrations by taking many more samples ten to one hundred metres away and then averaging all those zeros in with the big hits. Afterall why do you think Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess pay big bucks to their consultants? It certainly isn't to have them produce and expose the most blatant and worst examples of your pollution causing you to spend the maximum dollars for cleanup possible.

Pat Mclean missed her third TAG meeting of the last four whereas Susan Bryant attended her second TAG meeting of the last four. TAG were somewhat struggling with the detailed specifics of sampling, locations, elevations and while I expect little from Pat in those areas, Susan was a disappointment. Usually when she attends she is better prepared. This pair lobbied hard and helped with Sandy Shantz's mayoralty campaign and were thus rewarded. The least they could do is take it seriously and attend TAG meetings.

Speaking of non-attendance Sandy your friends Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. again were nowhere in sight. Such a hypocrite you are criticizing the last CPAC for Chemtura's and the M.O.E.'s boycott of public CPAC meetings and now after you gave them everything they wanted they still do not want the public to be able to ask them questions or make pointed comments to them. Yes they attend RAC meetings with the GRCA, Woolwich, the Region and a couple of your TAG appointees a grand total of four times per year. Even then let's see exactly how much they can be coddled into doing the right thing. Dr. Jackson at TAG put it to both of them bluntly and clearly and once again they've cut and run. That's what they excel at. Well O.K. they're both pretty good at the verbal BS as well.

Yours truly assisted on a couple of occasions when TAG were either stuck or bogged down. This included advising them about the composite samples planned as well as the problem with SS-20 primarily being located on high ground and hence being a particularly bad location to be sampling for surface flow of contaminants. Also when Dr. Thomson asked for any typos to be pointed out in his Conceptual Site Model report I obliged with a very minor one on page three. Chair Svensson asked me to send her an e-mail on these significant points which I shall do either today or tomorrow.

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