Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Everybody got water in their taps over in Cambridge these days? Boy you'd never know it by a quick glance through the Region of Waterloo's Annual Reports (drinking water). It was almost like an extension of the long weekend yesterday when I checked out a bunch of Cambridge drinking water wells. P6, closed and DECOMMISSIONED. H3 DECOMMISSIONED. H4 off-line for 52 weeks in 2017, H4A off-line for 9 weeks. H5 shut down for 52 weeks in 2017, H5A shut down for 29 weeks. P16 shut down for 52 weeks. Good lord and all I had time for was a quick glance at some of the wells in the first line plus a peek at the next line (of 4) which was the Middleton wells.

Hopefully over the next week I'll find time to look at the rest of Cambridge's wells but it looks to me as if the chickens of Cambridge's industrial past combined with our authorities (ie. municipal & regional politicians) has come home to roost. Polluter pays is a dandy slogan regarding remediation of contaminated ground and groundwater. The reality is that our politicians would rather sleep with polluters (figuratively) then fight them in court. A century of machine shops, textile factories, heavy and light manufacturing, dry cleaners, plastics and chemicals manufacturing, gas stations etc. have all done a major number on Cambridge's groundwater. The Region have and will continue to deny it but the wells seem to be falling faster and faster.

Mind you the Region are pretty sneaky about it. They appear to prefer to simply stop pumping contaminated water into their treatment system for a period of several years before declaring a well to be decommissioned. P6 up by the Bishop St. community (& Northstar Aerospace) is one example. It not been contributing water to the system for a few years now. Check out the various chemical testing dates they have in this years final Annual Report for this well. I believe the last testing for various chemicals including Trichloroethylene was 2011. Holy crap. How many other wells have simply disappeared from these Annual Reports over the years? How many more should disappear based upon chemical contamination? The Region used to have several years of past results on their website. Now it's 2017 and 2016 only although they allege that they will provide earlier dates if you ask them nicely.

I'm pretty confident that in upcoming Annual Reports we will see wells H4, H5 and P16 decommissioned. May as well as they aren't providing water anyways.

So what is the good news as per the above title to this posting? Well if you've still got water it's courtesy of the IUS or Integrated Urban System. The Region have pipelines between the three cities so that we all will have water even as individual wells bite the dust. That way we can continue to share Trichloroethylene, Glyphosate (Round Up) and other chemicals in our groundwater equally. Ever wonder why we are pumping out Grand River water and paying a fortune to treat it? Sort of like the Middleton Wellfield which had $210,000 in replacement costs last year but continues to distribute trichloroethylene (TCE) at 1.5-2.0 parts per billion in our taps. I'm not in favour of a Great lakes pipeline but when the time comes, then our politicians will be singing a different tune regarding the "quality" of our groundwater.

1 comment:

  1. It's called externalizing private costs onto the public purse. This is done through illegal, immoral or just plain sloppy and inexpensive toxic waste disposal because you know the authorities don't want to enforce environmental laws. Afterall that's what the unwashed masses are for in order to pick up costs that private corporations pass along to them.