Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I've had a quick look this morning at the On-line Region of Waterloo Drinking Water Reports for the City of Kitchener. Kitchener has six different well systems spread around the city. Many wells are shut down due to industrial contamination although you'll never see that written in any of the reports. Other wells have long term low level readings of Trichloroethylene (TCE) the contaminant/degreaser of choice for industry for many decades.

The Parkway Wells are one example of low level TCE being present. This is courtesy of a former Deilcraft furniture plant's presence in the area. There was a cleanup however TCE is a notorious DNAPL (dense non-aqueous phase liquid) and extremely difficult to find and remove all the free phase chemical in the sub-surface.

The Woolner's Well System has been shut down for some time now. It is located along the Grand River albeit further downstream than the long shutdown K70 and K71 wells immediately downgradient from Breslube/Safety-Kleen. There have long been problems with the odour from these river infiltration wells. If memory serves the presence of Phenols in the river water over the years may have contributed to the odour problems.

The Strange St. Well Supply is sort of a misnomer as those wells have long been degraded by local industrial contamination. If I had to guess I would guess that the long gone Uniroyal Tire Co. on Strange St. was the major source of industrial contamination. Currently three of the five wells from this system are out of service and the two remaining wells are relatively new and located out Glasgow St. well away from the original ones.

The Greenbrook Well Supply System was shut down a few years back in order to install an updated treatment system to remove 1,4 Dioxane from the raw water courtesy of Varnicolor Chemical or Uniroyal from Elmira, Ontario being put into the nearby Ottaw St. Landfill. Currently it is working well although it also suffered from an explosion due to human error a while back due to the inadvertent mixing of chlorine and ammonia. Oops!

The K34 Well System consistes of three wells which are working well.

The last, biggest and most expensive system is the Mannheim Water Treatment Plant. The repairs and upgrades in 2017 were in the millions of dollars. This is the shame of industry externalizing their waste disposal costs by putting them onto the taxpayers. Groundwater prior to pollution is abundant and inexpensive compared to treating surface water such as the Grand River.

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