Friday, October 18, 2019


The TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meeting as usual will be held in Woolwich Council chambers on Church St. Following are my comments on yet another recently received written response from GHD, consultants to Lanxess Canada. GHD are responding to Tiffany Svensson's August 20/19 comments regarding "Contaminants of Potential Concern" as well as her comments on the "Draft Conceptual Site Model for the Canagagigue Creek. This letter/report is part of the Agenda for next week's TAG meeting.

As an aside: recently a concerned citizen commented here in regards to Tiffany's (TAG Chair) character, ethics etc. I believe that I responded in a generally positive, supportive way while at the same time not wholeheartedly endorsing her either for sainthood or for the world's best hydrogeologist award etc. This is because I have known her professionally only for just over two and a half years. I will add however that I am fast becoming a strong believer based upon her written comments and criticisms to GHD including this one about to be discussed. In my opinion her comments and criticisms in this report are accurate, technically sound, persuasive and probing.

TAG Comment 2 references the Stroh Drain and GHD have responded that yes they will be further assessing the Stroh Drain.

TAG Comment 3 advises that 23 different chemicals in soil samples on the Lanxess site were found to exceed various criteria yet only one of them was retained as a Contaminant of Potential Concern. GHD while using the 30 metres from the Creek rationale then suggests that that is not the only reason for dropping the other substances.

TAG Comment 6 relates to the longterm use of Lindane on site. GHD have indicated that lindane will be resonsidered as a Contaminant of Potential Concern.

TAG Comment 7 is a humdinger as I quote Tiffany: "So the final concluding statement is not accurate." This refers to GHD statements that most of the historical waste management units (HWMU) have been remediated plus they are hydraulically contained by the Upper Aquifer Containment System (UACS). Ms. Svensson disputes this and she is correct. "Closing" a HWMU is NOT remediating it! Also the UACS only contains the South-west corner of the site and as recently advised by MOE hydrogeologist Cynthia Doughty the UACS doesn't contain even the south-west corner all the time as it is supposed to.

TAG Comment 8 is in regards to toluene (in particular) mobilizing allegedly hydrophobic compounds such as DDT and dioxins. GHD denys that, claiming that concentrations of toluene in groundwater would have to be in the tens of thousands per million parts of water. They do not back up that assertion with anything and then they state that the presence of NAPL (non aqueous phase liquid i.e. toluene) has not been reported on site in the last ten years. Yesterday I sent Ms. Svensson a detailed report showing data that contradicts GHD's assertions.

In regards to the second report Tiffany is commenting on (i.e. CSM for the creek) TAG Comment 4 has Ms. Svensson again emphasizing that the Stroh Drain soils and sediments need to be exhaustively examined. Essentially GHD are agreeing at least for the moment.

TAG Comment 6 is in regards to a 1999 study about dioxins found in sheep and cattle from farms along the downstream Canagagigue Creek. Dioxins were indeed found in tissues and were particularly elevated in the livers of these animals. As usual little or nothing happened. GHD have responded that they will not be using or referencing this report in their Conceptial Site Model of the creek.

TAG & Ms. Svensson then comment on the 2017 Canagagigue Creek Sediment and Floodplain Soil Investigation. 338 sediment samples were taken by the shovel method and only 24 by the more precise and accurate core method. GHD had claimed that the bottom of the creek was too hard to enable the superior coring method to be used. The problem with the shovel method is that it does not capture the fines of the gravel etc. as the coring method does. As the DDT and dioxins are attached to these fines they are lost via the shovel method. In my opinion this totally negates the value of this sampling and is shameful. Combined with the equally ridiculously high Method Detection Limits (MDL) it successfully has reduced the concentrations of contaminants found in the sediments. Junk science forever here in Elmira folks.


  1. Are these reports bring delivered to you automatically via email?

    Trying to make it in time for tomorrow's meeting

    1. Sometimes they are, other times not. I have been on a delivery list for decades however I keep an eye on the "Correspondence List" which is a part of the new Agenda and Minutes (of previous meeting). Sometimes I spot reports that I haven't received and I e-mail Lisa Schaefer at the Township to have them sent . (lschaefer