Friday, November 29, 2019


There was discussion at TAG about the possibility of somehow using the treated water from the Elmira aquifers. It was suggested that as the treated water has had NDMA, chlorobenzene and ammonia removed and is being dumped into the Canagagigue Creek that it does not exceed the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS). My only response is fine, if you want to drink water that likely still has 100 different toxic chemicals in it, mostly below the ODWS, then have at it. No thanks for me though.

David Hofbauer of TAG rather cheerfully made the quote of the meeting as far as I am concerned. He stated that the Off-Site Pump & Treat has been "horribly botched up from 2015 until 2020" (i.e. now). He further added that the pumping results have been "nowhere near what the system had planned." This is the kind of straight talk that both needs to be made publicly but that also needs to be reported by our media. Exactly zero media were present.

There was discussion as to how unusual has been the years long attempts to get the Trojan UV System up and running for well W9. Tiffany feels that it has been extraordinarily lengthy. Eric Hodgins (Region of Waterloo) commented that they the Region have always had difficulties with their UV treatment systems.

Dustin Martin (hydrogeologist) discussed issues dealing with final cleanup as well as specific questions that had been asked. He did not think much of the suggestion by GHD that active remediation will stop after 2025 because he like everyone else understands that the cleanup to drinking water standards will not be obtained by the mandated 2028.

There was both discussion about the hotspot at well OW 60 on Queen St. near Park Ave. and about "excess" chlorobenzene in the Municipal Aquifers. I believe the hotspot may be no more than a backyard mechanic decades ago dumping oil and grease down a home made "dry " well to get rid of it. That might explain how localized the NDMA is. As far as the "excess" chlorobenzene that is either free phase DNAPL that flowed from Uniroyal over to beside the Howard St. water tower or it came from Borg Textiles. Either source could have been determined years ago if the MOE or anybody else wanted to know. They didn't.

Mr. Martin also suggested that the Screening for Enhanced Technologies for Off-Site Groundwater Remediation ended up with no alternatives being retained for large scale remediation. This appeared to be self-serving and simply promoting CRA/GHD's longterm reliance on old fashioned Pump & Treat technology.

Mayor Shantz made her concerns clear about any public drinking water system being run by Lanxess. That was good to hear. David Hofbauer clarified that he meant that Lanxess should be financially running the system, not physically running it.

Early on in the meeting Sebastian asked a question regarding on-site pump & treat remediation. He expressed the fact that they really never seemed to mention it much less talk about it. Eric Hodgins responded and to my surprise mentioned former wells (PW1 & PW3) as being the current pumping wells. While I assume the rest of the TAG members didn't notice the error (should be PW4 & PW5) that certainly bolstered in my mind Sebastian's comment about how seldom the on-site system is discussed at TAG.

David Hofbauer gave an excellent talk about the 2018 Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) and the serious criticism of it by Cynthia Doughty of the MOE/MECP. David advised of half a dozen issues in the report where Ms. Doughty stated that the report was "missing data". Ms. Doughty also criticized how decommissioned wells are not explained or clarified in the report. The rationale for decommissioning them is poorly done. Also evidence demonstrating containment in aquifers is poor as is constantly changing monitoring wells which causes plume diagrams to alter year to year whether or not there has actually been a change. Ms. Doughty further criticized GHD's claims of false positives whenever they appear to have an unexpected high concentration of contaminants in the groundwater. Lastly she was not impressed with quarterly surface water levels supposedly being adequate to prove hydraulic containment in the shallow aquifer. In fact as David pointed out it clearly appears as if hydraulic containment in the shallow aquifer (UA) was lost from mid April to May 2018 as well as in September and December of that year.

Linda Dickson discussed the most recent Monthly Progress Report (October). Groundwater pumping was awful and part of the blame only had to do with a major power outage on the Lanxess property. In fact I reported on this Progress Report here in the Advocate earlier this week. The last three years have generally not achieved the higher Target Rates that they were supposed to. Yes they are pumping more than they used to years ago but it is their calculations as to how much they need to pump in order to achieve cleanup by 2028. We've known for years that they were in big trouble but this neverending failure to make their own Target pumping rates is adding insult to injury.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for documenting this , sounds like an eventful one