Monday, July 3, 2017


Lest we forget. For two years Uniroyal stepped out of the nuisance role as far as air emissions went and leaped into the role of liars, bullies, health destroyers and corporate filth. They always said the right things (generally); they simply did not do the right things. It took them two years of fixing their processes and bringing them into the 2oth and 21st century with Control Orders and M.O.E. charges and citizens publicly condemning them to stop the fumigations in Elmira. 1998 till 2000 was hell in Elmira for a group of citizens mostly on Duke St.. The rest of town occasionally got stunk out but that area near the plant was the worst. The fact that the stench was mostly in the middle of the night only made it worse. A skeptic might even think that Uniroyal knew all along which processes were the stinky ones and they saved them for the shift when most Elmira folks would be asleep.

Residents lobbied town council to lay charges against Uniroyal Chemical. It never happened however the M.O.E. after a lengthy investigation did so. Council did however hire Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin (RWDI) out of Guelph who were air experts. An overall odour assessment was required by an M.O.E. field order. Jeff Merriman of Uniroyal claimed that their waste water treatment system was causing most of the complaints.

The "Duke St. rowdies", so nicknamed because of their lack of deference and respect for the guilty parties who were failing their families, formed a group called RAM which stood for Residents Are Mad. Their children and themselves were being grossly fumigated by Uniroyal Chemical. At one point these victims of corporate misbehaviour were the subject of an Editorial by Gail Martin of the Independent. Considering how they had been so provoked Gail wrote that "Niceness is over rated" in regards to their responses to David Ash and Uniroyal.

Claims that the odours were "safe" were essentially Ministry and corporate bullshit. Difficulties in proving health effects from a cloud of multiple toxic compounds, whether at so called "low" concentrations was part of the problem. At one point David Ireland of the M.O.E. did concede that synergistic effects of multiple compounds can create an odour more potent than any individual compounds. The battle continued for two years.

1 comment:

  1. so glad to see you are still kicking after all these years. I retired in 2006 after 35yrs with Env Can and still doing consulting and on a city council committee on water. Would be great to connect again Barry Smith