Monday, May 29, 2017


Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story last titled " McLennan Park upgrades and repairs to cost $2.6 million". Mcleannan Park is of course the former Ottawa Landfill site which has an appropriately notorious past. CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing ) ended up holding the bag after homeowners en masse abandoned their homes and mortgages due to menthane infiltration into their homes. Municipal officials have long enjoyed advising the public that methane is naturally produced from sub-surface rotting garbage. This may or may not be true as I believe oxygen is what helps break down (rot) foodstuffs and certainly the deeper the household wastes are buried the less oxygen there should be.

What politicians and officials fail to mention is that methane gas is also a breakdown product of common everyday solvents used by industry over the decades. This includes solvents used in paints, degreasers, thinners (eg. turpentine) and solvents used for industrial cleaning of parts and machinery. Solvents are mixtures of hydrocarbons ie. hydrogen and carbon and methane is simply either CH3 or CH4 but another hydrocarbon.

While liquid wastes were prohibited from local landfills, solvents could be disposed of in solid or semi solid sludges and tars inside pails or drums. Varnicolor Chemical here in Elmira were exposed by yours truly for actually sending liquid solvents to local landfills in Kitchener-Waterloo illegally back in the 90s. This was of great embarassment to Ken Seiling and other local illuminaries at the time. Uniroyal Chemical (now Lanxess) did somewhat similar things with their toxic waste although their disposal in the Bolender landfill, First St. Landfill and the Woolwich landfill might even have been legal at the time. Hard to be sure now.

Regardless Mclennan Park problems over the last fourty years have included abandoned homes, earth settling problems causing plumbing breaks in washrooms installed over them and most recently methane buildups in drainage pipes. The problems are only beginning.

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