Friday, April 20, 2018

TAG GET TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER



It started badly. Very badly. Three out of seven TAG members plus the Chair Tiffany Svensson were there at 6:30 pm.. Not even enough for a quorum for God's sake. I was not a happy camper. This Report is one of the most important and comprehensive investigations of Canagagigue Creek and the flow of Uniroyal Chemical toxic compounds off-site and into the natural environment ever. And four out of seven TAG members weren't there. The Chair gave us excuses for two of the missing. I did not hear anything about a third. Then at 7 pm., thirty minutes after the scheduled start of the meeting, Pat Mclean showed up. TAG had a quorum.

It got better. A gentleman from GHD was in attendance to give us a presentation about the Creek report. He was very good with a couple of minor exceptions. For example he advised that pg/g was the same as parts per billion (ppb). That is incorrect. He clarified as to how overbank deposits occur if there is a lot of sediment transport in a creek. He described multiple channels in the creek in the area of the cedar forests. He used the term "braided" which I believe again describes multiple channels. He advised that the last couple of big floods namely this spring and particularly last June would have scoured the bottom of the creek of sediments. Currently the bottom of the creek is lined with heavier gravels and cobbles. When asked he confirmed that the current major sampling locations had been provided to GHD by the Ontario Ministry of Environment (M.O.E.).

The gentleman from GHD described overall impressions of DDT and Dioxin/Furan concentrations not being correlated with particle size although they were somewhat with depth (higher). He referred to the contaminant concentrations being highly variable including sediment samples taken across the same transects of the creek. He advised that this report primarily was data collection and that GHD were currently drilling deeper and asking the bigger questions such as how much of the sediments are regularly moving downstream. Should there be a Sediment Transport study? The lack of this by the way was a major criticism of Dr. Richard Jackson, TAG's first Chair.

All four TAG members asked good questions and made comments. Susan Bryant came right out and asked if there was a sampling bias in regards to most of the same locations being sampled as in previous reports. The GHD person again stated that the locations had been laid out by the M.O.E.. He reiterated that there was huge variability in results even just two feet apart and that yes there was a locational sampling bias although it might be "a waste of resources" to do other sites.

Sebastian again raised the "scouring" effect of floods on the creek and as to whether there should be further sampling at further downstream locations due to the substantial transport of sediments.

By this time in my handwritten notes I was asking myself the $64,000 question. If there is this ongoing "scouring" of creek bottom sediments then where is the new DDT, DDE, DDD, Dioxins/Furans and so much more still coming from? TAG members began asking that same question. "What is going on?" "Where are the ongoing sources to the creek?" Paul Farquarson, the GHD guy, stated that "this data set doesn't provide that.". Susan Bryant gave some history of the partial cleanup of DDT piles in the north-west corner of the site back in the 1990s. UPAC (Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee) and their Soil & Water sub-committee strongly objected to the partial cleanup only of DDT at the time. This committee consisted of myself, Dr. Henry Regier, Fred Hager and Susan.

What Susan forgot to mention last evening was other major refusals and ignoring of CPAC formal Motions for on-site cleanup. This particularly included the July 2003 Request For Action produced by the Soil & Water sub-committee and passed unanimously by CPAC (Crompton Public Advisory Committee). Yours truly did the bulk of the research and digging to determine exactly where buried wastes still existed on the Uniroyal/Crompton site. DDT was particularly mentioned in RPW 1 & 2 in the north-west as well as in P1 on the west side just below the small dam. DDT was found in clay samples at an astounding 461,000 parts per billion and was NOT removed. Unsurprisingly Uniroyal/Crompton/Conestoga Rovers intransigence is coming home to roost. All of them as well as the M.O.E. denied, denied and denied. Then they delayed, delayed and delayed and here we are fifteen years later wondering where the hell the DDT and Dioxins are coming from.

Oh stupid people in charge of the clean up! While Susan, Pat, Joe and Sebastian all did good work last evening they also forgot one other possible huge source of DDT and Dioxins to the creek. That would be the STROH DRAIN! Don't look for any traction on this matter from Pat & Susan because neither can hitch their stars to this effort. That rules it out for them because it is 100% a CPAC effort when they weren't on CPAC.

The recently released and discussed, without proper PUBLIC consultation, East Side Investigation utterly failed to sample in and around the Stroh Drain. Excuses were made as to why a years belated, two samples only, on the Chemtura/Lanxess property was adequate to determine if these Contaminants did or did not exist in the bottom of the Drain as well as in the surrounding soils. This Drain by-passed the Uniroyal property and took both contaminated groundwater and surface water south-east and back into the Canagagigue Creek. With luck and good professional help (ie. lying) Lanxess can delay any major expenditures for either on-site cleanup or Stroh Drain clean up for another fifteen years with never ending, one small area at a time, soil sampling. Meanwhile both the creek and human beings will suffer the toxic consequences while our local politicians and provincial regulators (M.O.E.) mouth platitudes and self-congratulatory praise.

3 comments:

  1. I have many comments but decline to list them all but I have a few questions as follows. My question again and again is when is the next monitoring program happening? Where and to what depth are samples going to be obtained? What parameters are going to be analyzed? And the major question which drives the rest is what kind of a budget will be provided to do the work? Another suggestion is another Consultant should be appointed by MOECC without the polluters influence and they should resample in a few locations primarily near Lanxess property and more below Northfield Drive to the mouth of the Grand River and concentrate on obtaining floodplain samples since GHD raised the storm issues that have recently occurred and caused degradation and transport. Results would be interesting for comparison on or between both sampling or monitoring programs.

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  2. I don't know the answers at the start of your comment but do agree with your suggestions in the last half of it.

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  3. Should I move to Elmira to join your movement? What a dynamic duo we would be?

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