Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Generally speaking, water flows downhill. In other words gravity is the normal, usual, and natural force determining the direction of flow from overflowing pits and ponds on the former Uniroyal Chemical property. Why is this relevant now you ask? It is relevant because neither Uniroyal, their successors, nor the Ontario Ministry of Environment ever cleaned up the toxic mess left behind. Granted an awful lot of their mess has flowed from pits RPE 1-5 (i.e. Retention Pits East) southwards and eastwards into the Canagagigue Creek. It in turn via gravity flow has unceremoniously dumped those toxins into the Grand River approximately seven or eight kilometres south-eats from the Uniroyal site.

For thirty years testing in and around both Uniroyal Chemical and Elmira has focused on water testing, whether groundwater or surface water. The number of soil samples that UPAC, CPAC,and the public ever saw was a miniscule proportion of the total number of water samples taken, analysed and published. With the recent focus on the Creek; RAC, TAG, and the public are seeing many more soil and sediment samples than ever before. This is a good thing albeit decades overdue.

As production on the former Uniroyal site of both DDT and metabolites as well as the precursers to dioxins/furans, namely 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, has long been ended; one might have expected that detections of DDT and dioxins/furans in the Creek would also have ended. Unfortunately not so. These chemicals are Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which both preferentially adhere to soil particles and only break down very slowly in the natural environment. The biggest shock apparently to some has been the fact that DDT rather than its breakdown components DDD and DDE is still prevalent in soils and sediments in and around the Canagagigue Creek. This appears to speak of long buried DDT slowly being eroded by wind, rain, snow melt, and flooding of the Creek and being mobilized and transported into the Creek. This is precisely why disposal of toxic compounds, especially liquid toxic compounds, into pits, ponds, lagoons, or whatever fancy name for land disposal there is; is such a stupid idea.

TAG members along with CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) members have walked the extreme east side and south-east corner of the former Uniroyal (now Lanxess) property. We know which way the water flows. Also there are a number of topographical maps available which clearly show where overflowing Uniroyal Chemical waste waters flowed. We have admissions both verbal and in writing of these overflows from Uniroyal, CRA, and the MOE (MECP). These topograpical maps have been produced and published over the decades from CRA, MTE Consulting, MOE, and others. There are even topographical maps of the site on-line. All these maps are consistent with each other as well as with the first hand, birds eye view of citizens who have walked the area.

Therefore why have Lanxess and their consultants, GHD, not presented to TAG and the public a clear map showing the exact low lying location that Uniroyal's waste waters ended up in? Why do they continue verbally to deny that there is a "sink" of DDT and dioxin/furans on the Stroh property to the immediate east of their property? The answer is the same as always. Money. A real cleanup of these POPs is going to cost them money not to mention bad public relations. The MOE are in the same boat. Lanxess may very well ask for a financial contribution although based upon the 1991 Control Order this would be "new" contamination, unknown at the time. The MOE (MECP) of course will also lose face over this as citizens (CPAC) made the discovery and brought it to public attention not them.

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