Tuesday, June 18, 2019


The adage ignore what they say and scrutinize what they do is never more true with this company and their predecessors (Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura) in Elmira, Ontario. Generally every month there is a large schematic in Appendix A of their monthly Progress Report. The schematic is also usually titled Figure A.1 . It tells the contamination tale far more accurately and honestly than any words or text produced by either Conestoga Rovers or GHD on behalf of Lanxess etc.

What is significant is which wells are directed towards which specific treatment. Vitally important of course, readers need to know exactly where each well is located and which aquifer they are screened in. Of course this vital information is not provided in this Figure or Appendix. Other reports over the decades have maps showing these various locations ranging from on-site (Lanxess) upper aquifer wells along the Creek to off-site (i.e. under the town of Elmira) municipal Aquifer wells whether in the municipal upper aquifer (MU) or the municipal lower (ML) aquifer. There are no pumping wells situated in the Bedrock Aquifer although it is contaminated with NDMA well above drinking water guidelines.

For example the on-site upper aquifer (UA) wells are the only ones that go through a LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid) Separator prior to being treated by granular activated carbon. This is because of the sub-surface pool of LNAPL (toluene) announced to Elmira citizens way back in 1995. It is much less expensive to pump and treat (horribly slowly) this toluene than to actually physically remove it from the ground in any kind of decent time frame.

Similarly ammonia is removed from some of the pumping wells including all the on-site pumping wells (shallow & deep) as well as off-site pumping wells W5A, W5B, W6A, W6B, and W8. When it was pumping, W4 behind (west of) Varnicolor near the Elmira water tower also went through ammonia removal treatment. This tells me that ammonia originates both on the Nutrite property (W8), the Uniroyal property (PW4, PW5, UA wells), and spread off-site to nearby W5A and W5B and also likely originates from former pig farms located on and south of the former Varnicolor Chemical on Union St. where pumping wells W6A and W6B are now located. The fairly shallow Yara (Nutrite) pumping wells are the only wells that only require ammonia removal and not other solvents and chemicals. The deeper W8 pumping well on the west side of Yara (Nutrite) requires both ammonia and solvent removal treatment telling me that the solvents flowed westwards from Uniroyal off-site beneath the Nutrite property. .

Pumping well W9 is located beside the former shirt factory on Park Avenue at Union Street and beside Shirt Factory Creek. Also located either immediately on this small property or very close nearby was the M-1 Landfill depending on which map is currently in favour. W9 does not require ammonia removal but has been plagued for the last few years with toluene and benzothiazole contamination requiring treatment upgrades. These chemicals were both common at Uniroyal Chemical and tells me that likely they were disposed of in the M-1 municipal landfill whether legally or otherwise.

Well W3R is the furthest south well that goes through this on the Lanxess site, treatment processes (E7 beside Voisin Motors has it's own NDMA, ultarviolet treatment system). W3R is at south of Industrial Drive and Oriole Parkway beside the Midas(?) muffler shop and immediately beside Landfill Creek. W3R receives activated carbon and ultraviolet treatment for NDMA, chlorobenzene etc. but does not receive ammonia removal treatment.

A careful look at not only the current pumping wells and their treatment as well as having watched the past twenty-seven years of on-site and twenty-one years of off-site pump and treat has told the tale. Years ago W4 behind (west of) Varnicolor Chemical was a major pumping well. It is now shut down. PW1 and PW3 on site used to be major pumping wells to contain contamination in the north-west and south-east corners. They are now shut down. The locations of these wells are crucial in understanding where the sources of contamination originated and how adding pumping wells (W9, W6, W8) belatedly off-site has likely exacerbated the failure to achieve the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers in thirty years (1989-2019) much less by the 2028 deadline. Current estimates are 2050 or later. Well done Uniroyal Chemical, Ontario Ministry of Environment, municipal and regional governments although the Region did try harder than the rest.

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