Saturday, August 17, 2019


TAG, RAC, and the public have been told that off-site pumping well W9 was shut down because Lanxess and GHD couldn't effectively treat toluene and benzothizole exceedances in the groundwater pumped from the well. O.K. so what's the next obvious question? How about WHY NOT? Uniroyal/Lanxess on-site groundwater is filled with toluene and benzothiazole (plus a hundred other chemicals) and that groundwater is pumped, treated and discharged back into the Canagagigue Creek. Why is the groundwater a few hundred metres due west of Uniroyal/Lanxess, near the corner of Park St. and Union St. such a problem that well W9 is two years late or more coming on-line?

One fairly obvious answer is that Lanxess just like every corporate body before them are constantly cheaping out every possible aspect of the remediation of both the Canagagigue Creek and of the Elmira Aquifers. Therefore just take a look at the different treatment systems in use for different wells both on and off their property. There is activated carbon treatment, ultraviolet treatment, LNAPL separation and removal, ammonia treatment etc. Ahh but here's the rub. Not for every well, all of which are pumping contaminated groundwater. So which wells get the Cadillac treatment and which wells get the Volkswagon beetle treatment? The general answer is that as few as possible for the former and as many as possible for the latter.

W9 gets ultraviolet treatment only. That's it folks, nothing more. By delaying implementing this well from 1989 until 2019, the company had the benefit of an additional thirty years of groundwater flow and dilution. Or in the alternative since off-site pumping didn't start until 1998, they had the benefit of an additional twenty-one years of groundwater flow and dilution. Maybe they expected lower concentrations of contaminants in behind the large building where W9 is located alongside Shirt Factory Creek.

Hmm. And exactly what is or was that building? Let's see now. At one time it was Park Avenue Textiles and before that it was the Elmira Shirt and Coverall Company. Also of interest is that Elmira's first municipal landfill was located on this property as well. Now this landfill was before Uniroyal Chemical's time but was it before say Roxton Furniture (across the road) or a number of other local polluting industries? Highly unlikely. As is common historical revisionism, Woolwich Township and the MOE would have us believe that nothing but wood ashes and a little municipal garbage went into this landfill. Horsefeathers!

Of course as is the usual answer to these allegations, industrial and political admirers of relatively inexpensive waste disposal will claim that no evidence exists to corroborate that likelihood. Well actually there are two responses to that. If any soil testing both shallow and deep has already been done in and around this property, building, and landfill, rest assured the results are a carefully guarded secret. Secondly if no testing has ever been done then shame on Woolwich Township, the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE), Uniroyal Chemical, CRA etc. The Elmira Aquifers are grossly contaminated and ALL sources of contamination should have been looked for and investigated thirty years ago.


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