Thursday, July 6, 2017


The rubber meets the road with $$$$$$$$. I believe that $50 million is the figure for the long overdue cleanup in Grassy Narrows that Premier Wynne and the Liberals have promised. The people living there have suffered through no fault of their own and deserve every penny and more to restore their environment and stop further damage to their health.

Cambridge are being offered between $3 million and $8.6 million Net Present Value over 35 years for In Situ Reductive Dechlorination (ISRD) and another $4 to $6 million for a Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB). PRB is actually ranked # 1 by Dillon Consulting (on behalf of the M.O.E.) with ISRD ranked # 2. There is a realistic potential for both of these technologies to be used together although that certainly is not guaranteed in these reports.

I believe after reading these three 2017 Reports that the two technologies combined will make a significant improvement both in the natural environment and in the health of affected residents. Unfortunately technologies that require 35 years to accomplish their goals require a huge level of trust in all the authorities involved. I personally lack this trust based upon my experience with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and local municipal politicians here in Elmira (Woolwich). The Region of Waterloo for me are a mixed bag. They have some good hydrogeologists yes but I neither trust their Health Department nor especially their regional councillors.

The goals of these two top ranked choices are long term (35 years) mitigation and reduction of ongoing groundwater concentrations of TCE and TCA. While not guaranteeing actual remediation even after 35 years, apparently under certain protocols and conditions ISRD may possibly remediate TCE and TCA. That is not certain.

Two other choices have much higher rankings in regards to Effectiveness and Remediation Timeframe. They are Thermally Enhanced Extraction and Excavation and Disposal. Excavation and Disposal was removed from the running after the February Report because while the most effective, permanent and relatively fast (1-2 years); costs were "excessive". No mention or consideration of health costs was discussed. Coincidentally I'm sure, Thermally Enhanced Extraction was ranked # 4 out of 4 in the April Report primarily due to costs. This technology is constantly referred to as the "most aggressive" and for good reason. It works and it works quickly (6-18 months) and it is extremely effective in removing all phases of contaminant impact. In fact Costs are weighted with a factor of 20 versus factors of 5 and 10 for all the other criteria in this third Report (April 2017). To me this is an extraordinary bias in favour of the cheapest and unfortunately less effective technologies.

I believe these reports are obviously client driven in several respects. Firstly while constantly hinting at the presence of residual DNAPL they are referring to it as "pore-locked" DNAPL. They also don't seem to ever want to use the well known and established term of "free phase" DNAPL. Free phase DNAPL is present in both the Shallow Overburden Aquifer as well as the Bedrock Aquifer. It's removal should have been a priority ten years ago and it should be a priority now especially as they know where it is namely below Bishop St. and in the so called "silt channel" running vertically north to south from Northstar to the back of the buildings at 652 and 664 Bishop St. N..

These Reports absolutely do not mention the Borg-Warner/Rozell/G.E property at 610 Bishop St.. This is odd although it does appear as if any DNAPL from that property also flowed into the "silt channel" running under and between 652 and 664 Bishop St..

These Reports and I believe all the rest also have conveniently and in a self-serving manner utterly failed to mention the double whammy of indoor air pollution combined with likely water contamination. Yes nearby drinking Well P6 has now been shut down for several years allegedly due to a cracked liner. Cracked liners are a simple fix. Ongoing longterm TCE in the wells is not. As free phase DNAPL is in both the Shallow Overburden Aquifer and the drinking water Bedrock Aquifer it is obvious that that well has through decades of pumping drawn dissolved contaminants to it. At what concentrations and how many contaminants I do not know.

The proposed improvements to reduce and contain the industrial contaminants should work if that is all the residents want and if they are confident that the authorities will continue spending the promised money over the next 35 years. It is my opinion however that the entire Bishop St. community deserves a better, faster and more permanent cleanup.

No comments:

Post a Comment