Tuesday, August 31, 2010


These are the best ways to manipulate the outcome. Politicians learn this early. For the uninitiated, like myself twenty years ago, they seemed of minor significance. Yesterday's CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) was a perfect example. I could not attend. I still work for a living. I am not self employed, government employed or retired as yet. For the past twenty years through one long period of self employment and occasional unemployment I could attend the last Monday of the month from 9 am till noon. For this entire twenty year period I enquired, argued and begged for evening meetings so more of the public could attend and more of the public able to volunteer to sit on CPAC. I was continually shut down by the combined efforts of Susan Bryant and Pat McLean, Pat at least during the last decade. Again being trusting of my colleagues , although unhappy with their stubborness, I didn't subscribe any nefarious motive other than their own convenience. Now I'm not nearly so sure.

Henry Regier who also had appointments yesterday morning did attend for the first 3/4 hour. This was long enough to ensure that my Elmira Advocate post of last Saturday was handed out and discussed. Unfortunately and significantly CPAC members in fact did not discuss the two most important points namely the coverup by Pat and Susan regarding DNAPL information that should be made privy to the public and even more importantly my allegation that CPAC have abandoned trying to get source removal of Chemtura's buried contaminants. CPAC's silence was stunning and I wonder if Pat and Susan are now so confident of little or no opposition that they are finally willing to admit their long hidden agenda.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Last Friday I wrote about retrofoam in Waterloo Region and sure enough in Saturday's K-W Record the headline was "RetroFoam leaves Elmira couple afraid for their health". Indeed it is the former legacy come back to haunt us. Also it appears as if our government are being very slow to rectify this environmental situation that they are directly responsible for. Is there no institutional memory? Do our governments neither learn nor remember from their past mistakes?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

CPAC MON. AUG. 30/10

August 17, 2010

Delegation of Al Marshall to the Public CPAC Meeting of August 30, 2010

Pat McLean has often responded to criticism of CPAC’s lack of action and or aggressiveness by stating that the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee are an ADVISORY committee only, no more and no less. I will respond to that comment shortly.
Since 1991 Uniroyal (Chemtura) have been ostensibly directed in the environmental cleanup of their site by a number of M.O.E. Control Orders, including the 1991 one. It stated that DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid) shall be removed as a contaminant source. At the same time this Control Order also stated that there was to be hydraulic containment in all aquifers. Well we know how that turned out. It was never achieved and it wasn’t even attempted. Then literally years later CPAC was advised via my Appeal of a Certificate of Approval, that the 1991 Control Order had been amended to permit off site flow of contaminated groundwater.
To this day CPAC have NOT publicly responded to this outrage. Similarily they have not publicly discussed, clarified or explained a meeting at the University of Waterloo in January 2007 to discuss remediation of DNAPL at Chemtura. Finally CPAC’s silence has been overwhelming in regards to my revelation that Conestoga Rovers, Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. have known for twelve years that there is free phase DNAPL outside of the Chemtura site, smack dab in the middle of the Elmira Aquifer .
CPAC stands for Chemtura PUBLIC Advisory Committee. It does not stand for Chemtura PRIVATE Advisory Committee.
The 1991 Control Order expressly named the former operating ponds in the south- west corner of Uniroyal as the source of DNAPLS. These ponds are identified as RPW5, RPW6, RPW7, and RPW8. CRA, the consultants to Uniroyal tacitly did the same with their claim in 1994 that hydraulic containment of the south-west would stop 97.5 % of the discharge of contaminants to Canagagigue Creek.

Currently there is a contaminated site in Cambridge undergoing remediation. Although there is some pump and treat hydraulic containment involved, it is for the original and primary purpose of hydraulic containment, to wit short term stopping of the spread of groundwater pollution. In Cambridge source removal/ destruction is underway. The type of Source Zone Remediation being used in the Bishop St. community is known as ISCO, or in situ chemical oxidation. It was but one of many technologies which were examined for the purpose of removing free phase DNAPL (trichloroethylene) from the subsurface, both shallow and deep.
Speaking of source zone remediation , this is exactly what Pat, Susan , Wilf and I were advised 3 ½ years ago at the University of Waterloo. Source zone remediation of DNAPLs can and should be undertaken in order to remove or destroy as much as possible. This is the message that I’ve brought back to CPAC and the public and to date Pat, Susan and Wilf have refused to PUBLICLY comment. In private I have no idea what their story is . I do know that the disgraceful private technical meetings of the DNAPL sub committee are an outrage, and twenty years ago APT Environment would not tolerate private technical meetings concerning Uniroyal Chemical. Oh how things have changed!
Furthermore there are numerous studies online describing the limitations and advantages of source zone remediation. One of them is “Assessing the Feasibility of DNAPL Source Zone Remediation: Review of Case Studies “ . This study by GeoSyntec Consultants from Guelph Ontario looks at over 100 contaminated sites in the U.S. and concludes that with proper examination of the remedial alternatives, that over 80% of the mass of DNAPL can be removed from the subsurface.

The Elmira wellfields were shut down twenty-one years ago. Without source removal, both on and offsite they will never be restored to drinking standards. This alleged restoration by 2028 is the big lie promulgated by politicians and the Ministry of the Environment. This lie appears to also be embraced by CPAC. It is my opinion that CPAC have made good strides in lessening air pollution in Elmira. It is also my opinion that CPAC have turned their backs on their own July 2003 Request for Action report , which asked for source removal of specific areas. At the very least, CPAC are years overdue to PUBLICLY advise the citizens of Elmira as to where CPAC now stands in regards to Source Removal, DNAPLS and whether or not the Elmira Aquifer will ever be restored. That is my response to Chair, Pat McLean in regards to CPAC being an advisory committee. Start advising.

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

Friday, August 27, 2010


900 homes in southern Ontario including Waterloo Region received urea formaldehyde insulation between 2007 and 2009. "Urea formaldehyde insulation was banned by the Federal government under the Hazardous Products Act in 1980 because it releases a gas linked to respiratory problems" according to today's K-W Record. This latest reincarnation of this insulation goes by the name RetroFoam.

Yesterday's K-W Record reminds us of the hidden costs of past prosperity at Kitchener Frame (Budd). The following sentence isn't very explicit but still a little chilling. "The partners are also planning environmental remediation on the factory site". Under the contaminated sites program this could be little more than a surface cleanup or not. Time will tell the extent of the damage and the extent of the cleanup. An earlier article concerning this program was in the Elmira Advocate on June 24/10.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The good news is that to date , Chemtura are maintaining both their on- site and off-site pumping regiemes. Conestoga Rovers here and there (pg. 6 of 8) refer to typically and historically pumping at high rates to maintain hydraulic containment, but this is their usual puffery. The reality is that the sucessful pumping rates they've maintained for the last year or two are the exception not the rule.

In regards to the treatment of this contaminated groundwater which they then discharge to the Canagagigue Creek, they have been less sucessful. They exceeded their discharge objectives for NDMA, Dichloroethane, Formaldehyde and Lindane. This is not good.

Last month they had exceedances of NDMA in the surface water ("GiG") . This month they do not however despite allegedly using "best efforts" to sample the "Gig" (Canagagigue) at low flow, they took the sample when the water flow was 1,020 litres / second versus only 280 litres/ second in June. Dilution still is the solution to pollution in this province. Don't kid yourself otherwise.

Again with the high pumping, on- site hydraulic containment of the Municipal Upper Aquifer is good but apparently not perfect. CRA (Conestoga Rovers) claim that the groundwater contours show minor off- site flow but that the groundwater then flows back on site and is captured. If it's your property it's flowing off- site onto, you might not be too happy about this. Also the M.O.E. have stated in the past that this is not acceptable, however their flexibility (read contorsionism) means that they will probably roll over on this item as well.

There is a storm water drain referred to as SWS in the southwest of the site. This month as usual it's discharges include measurable quantities of Aniline, Benzothiazole, NDPA and Carboxin. This again is one of many dirty little secrets concerning alleged toxic cleanups in this Region and province. All of these sites leak like sieves. This is intentional. Therefore the longer the M.O.E. draws out so called "cleanups", the more of the contaminants have dispersed off-site, downstream and downgradient. None of this information in their monthly "Progress" Report addresses source removal of Uniroyal's (Chemtura) buried wastes and DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids). This monthly report hence is a smokescreen as it was meant to be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Now this is getting plain ridiculous. Back in June, I posted a story in the Elmira Advocate warning anout GIANT HOGWEED. This latest information came from a public safety warning posted at our local Elmira Police Station on Industrial Dr.. It warns about both giant hogweed, 1- 5.5 metres tall as well as wild parsnip which is 1- 2 metres tall.

Back on August 14/10 I posted a story in the Advocate in regards to blue green algae in Belwood Lake. Today's K-W Record advises us that "Warning signs removed from lake". I've also noticed that the green algae at the Woolwich Dam seems to be decreasing possibly due to cooler overnite temperatures. My lab Grizelda however warns other pets to leave the local muskrats alone as her bad behaviour occasioned a $114 vets bill after an encounter with one.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


These comments, while pointing out a current and ongoing situation in Cambridge, are for everyone. It turns out that most of the dumping at the Rozell site (610 Bishop St.) while probably decades ago with former owners, nevertheless was done outside in the back of their property which abuts several residential properties. This disposal (dumping) of Trichloroethylene and Trichloroethane should have been seen, smelled and heard by some or all of these neighbours. Next we have a property further west along Bishop St.(not Northstar, it's slightly east) which had abnormally high levels of chemical compounds downgradient of their site. When confronted by the authorities the owner angrily stated that no way he dumped chemicals onto the ground; his standard operating practice for years was to dump the waste chemicals down the drain, diluted with lots of water!. Whether this was the storm sewer or sanitary sewer they would all end up in the nearby Grand River. Again dumping however it's done, isn't invisible. Right now and for the past decades this community have been paying the health price for the greed and stupidity of the few. Our politicians do the public no good by keeping this quiet.

Monday, August 23, 2010

CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) ONE WEEK AWAY

Speaking of committees, the first public CPAC meeting in three months, is one week from today, in the Woolwich Council Chambers at 9 am. As usual I will be a delegation from the public and will speak briefly at the start of the meeting. While agreeing with Rich Clausi's comments below in regards to committees, let me also say that even "captured" committees can sometimes be forced into taking positive steps that they'd rather not.

This is twice within a week that the K-W Record have mentioned this ongoing study. It truly must be an election year! A week ago I quoted an announcement in the Record detailing dates of some of these public meetings. Unfortunately although the Record put their news stories on line I'm assuming that public announcements don't get the same treatment as I wasn't able to provide a link to it at the K-W Record's website. Well that is fixed and here is the link to today's story. "Significant threats have been identified at 6,000 properties across the Grand River watershed, including about 2,700 in Waterloo Region". Those numbers blow my mind. The next sentence in the article starts: "Letters will be going out to those property owners cautioning them about the risk of contamination from sources such as...".

Gee, letters sound awfully strong to me. I wonder if the letters will also state "Do not worry; even if you shut down municipal wells due to greed and negligence, we the municipalities and the Region of Waterloo will move heaven and earth to assist our industrial friends from having to bear the full wrath of the public ". The final problem with this entire exercise is that the foxes are guarding the chicken coop. In other words our elected bodies and politicians have long ago been "captured" by those they are supposed to be supervising. It is the municipalities which will develop and propose policies to the Lake Erie Region Source Protection Committee, formed by provincial legislation after the Walkerton disaster. Remember what my colleague Rich Clausi says about committees: "If you don't want to do anything about a problem, then form a committee."

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Now this is where the "owner" of a website or blog, if he so wishes, can play favourites. It is very tempting; however while I disagree with a lot of what Mr. Fahey has to say, nevertheless he does raise some valid issues. Therefore his Letter to the Editor is on pg. 8 of the Woolwich Observer and you the discerning reader can make up your own mind and or ask some pointed questions.

No this isn't in regards to a Labour /Union issue it's all about the Elmira Bio Fuel Citizens' Committee keeping the pressure on through on going public meetings. Today's Woolwich Observer carrys the front page story "Opponents continue to organize against biogas plan". The meeting last Wednesday seemed to focus on Traffic issues and there will be future meetings at the Woolwich Memorial Centre; the next one being Wednesday August 25/10 at 6:30 pm.

Friday, August 20, 2010


How else does one explain the inexplicable? Yesterday afternoon Council for the Region of Waterloo unanimously, without public discussion or debate, approved the referral of OPA #15 (Official Plan Amendment) to the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board). OPA #15 was passed by Woolwich Council last spring for the purpose of allowing Safety-Kleen in Breslau to purchase and build on six hectares of land between their property and the Grand River. Incidentally they were going to do a partial cleanup of their multi decades old, on and off site, ground and surface water pollution. Pollution which includes P.C.B.s in the natural environment. Further details were published here (Advocate) on August 10/10.

It is not possible to have such a grossly contaminated site, which is public knowledge, without a cleanup, over such a time period without the able assistance of multiple levels of government. Such is the case here with kudos going to the Region of Waterloo, Woolwich Township and the Province of Ontario (M.O.E.). These three levels of government have been in bed with Safety-Kleen for decades and I must assume that one or more of these partners has fallen out of bed; hence the above title.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


At the bottom of the front page of the on line version of the Elmira Independent is an on line poll asking citizens what their main concern is. Please respond. Thank You.

Mike Hicknell believes that the increased truck traffic has both been understated and secondly may cost lives. "Biogas proposal could put community at risk" is the title of the article in yesterday's Elmira Independent written by Gail Martin. Woolwich Councillors claim that they will be passing on citizen's concerns to the Ministry of the Environment. Those are hollow promises and the Councillors know that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This is what we should expect from all our candidates, whether for Council or for Mayor. In today's Elmira Independent, Mayoral Candidate , Todd Cowan has unequivocally stated that he is opposed to the current Bio-En proposal. "Cowan suggested that the township itself could have been more proactive in finding another location for Woolwich Bio-En, perhaps even going as far as being co-investors and providing land for the plant". I will provide a link to this story when it goes online today or tomorrow.

Tomorrow at 3 PM. Regional Council at their headquarters on Frederick St., near the Courthouse will decide whether or not to refer Woolwich Council's Zoning Amendment to the Ontario Municipal Board. Last week as a Committee of the Whole they decided to go ahead, so let's see. Further information regarding Safety-Kleen's site in Breslau is written up here in the Advocate on August 11/10 and June 28/10 as well as earlier.

A reminder that there is a meeting of any and all Woolwich citizens interested in stopping the proposed Bio Energy plant in Elmira at 6:30 pm. at the Woolwich Community Centre Room this evening.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Ralgreen Cres. was built on top of a former dump. Canada Mortgage and Housing built on and beside the Ottawa St. Landfill in Kitchener. The Elmira Aquifer was destroyed by industrial chemicals courtesy of Uniroyal, Varnicolor and others. The Safety-Kleen site in Breslau has had thousands of gallons of oil and P.C.B.s floating on the water table for decades.
Sloppy disposal practices at Canadian General Tower in Cambridge have impacted the Grand River and the Middleton Wellfield. Skipping over Ciba-Geigy and Allen Bradley (Cambridge) and Sunar and Canbar (Waterloo), let's get to Northstar and Rozell (G.E.), located on Bishop St. in Cambridge. Having read multiple technical reports in the Cambridge library I can tell you that the direct human effects, both in numbers of people (and generations) and severity of illness far outweighs any of the above mentioned environmental calamities.

Here are the common denominators: Since Elmira and Uniroyal, the MEDIA are in hiding.
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment
The Ontario Ministry of Health
Woolwich Council
Waterloo Council
Kitchener Council
Cambridge Council
Regional Council
Politics, Power and Money rule the day, and as long as they do, these environmental disasters will continue to unfold and the perpetraters will continue to hold each others hands while pretending shock and surprise at what has happened.

Monday, August 16, 2010


This announcement is on pg. B3 of today's K-W Record. I've just spent ten minutes with the Record's on line newspaper trying to find it so I could provide a link here to it. No luck at all. All public meetings are from 7 to 9 pm. and the two closest to Woolwich Township are Waterloo on Sept. 9 at the Waterloo Region Emergency Services Training and Research Complex, 1010 Erbs Rd.(it says Erbs Rd. but I suspect Erbsville Rd. is more likely). On Tuesday Sept. 14 at the Italian Canadian Club, 135 Ferguson St. Guelph.

Reports have been written for more than 17 different drinking water systems within the Grand River Watershed. They are on line at www.sourcewater.ca and I've read many of them, and they are an excellent source of information. That being said I just looked up that web address provided in the K-W Record and although it does take you to the correct location I couldn't quickly or easily find the drinking water systems reports. You may have to dig a bit. The downside of both the enabling legislation (Ontario Clean Water Act) and these reports may be a uniquely Canadian situation. We have top notch scientists. We have top notch legislation. Our government bodies (actually taxpayers) finance top notch research and publication of environmental studies. The problem is we have third world and third rate politicians who bury and ignore the results of these studies. Environmental enforcement of our legislation isn't even good enough to be called a joke. Please do yourselves and all of us a favour by attending one of these public meetings, asking questions and possibly providing comments.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


This really harmful algae has been identified at Belwood Lake and as per today's K-W Record "Precautions urged at Belwood Lake", it is nothing to fool around with. Algae blooms occur more regularily than they used to and unfortunately are also common each summer at the Woolwich Dam just north of Elmira. Those "blooms" are normally green in colour and will coat your pet's legs and body if you let them swim in it.

Interestingly enough the K-W Record have an opinion article by Jeff Gunderson , which blames farm runoff of fertilizers and pesticides for significant damage to the Gulf of Mexico. This story pinpoints nitrogen and phosphorus as the culprits causing a dead zone due to lack of oxygen. This is where my lack of study in biology shows up. I think (guess) that this dead zone due to a lack of oxygen is not only related to excess nutrients such as nitrogen but is also related to the first story about algae blooms. It seems to me that agricultural runoff locally is to blame for algae blooms which thrive in the warm, nutrient rich water in lakes. My guess is that these blooms themselves take oxygen out of the water for their own use. Now if any readers can clarify or correct, it would be appreciated.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Please excuse the inappropriate pun in the title. This post is in regards to an Editorial in Wdenesday's Elmira Independent titled "Clean water not essential". Our Canadian government has some serious explaining to do. What possible legitimate and appropriate reason could they have for not signing on to this United Nations resolution declaring that access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right?


The good news is that upgrades are planned for both St. Jacobs and Elmira STPs in the 2014-2018 time period. Tomorrow's (but out today) Woolwich Observer carrys the story titled "Region to review Woolwich's wastewater needs" on pg. 5. My concern is that these upgrades are solely for the purpose of increasing capacity ie. #'s of people & #'s of litres of wastewater. In other words are the politicians including Woolwich merely trying to keep the local developers happy or are they actually trying to improve the treatment of sewage effluent before it's dumped into the Canagagigue Creek and Conestoga River? Also security and reliability should be an issue as indicated here in the Elmira Advocate on May 29/10. Our waterways do not need, never ending spills and bypasses of either raw or partially treated sewage.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Most unusual but I didn't read yseterday's (Aug. 11) Elmira Independent until this morning. As a direct result I can't advise you in time for last night's 6:30 pm. meeting at the Woolwich Rec centre , put on by the Elmira Bio- Fuel Citizens Committee. For more information including lawn sign pickup, email stopthesink@rogers.com . My guess is that the Independent have a typo and that "stopthesink" should probably read "stopthestink".

The above notice was on pg. 2 as is the one concerning construction delays at Church and Snyder Ave. These delays are attributed to both a problem with an incorrect sewer connection as well as the groundwater and soil contamination I mentioned in the Aug. 4 /10 Elmira Advocate.

In regards to yesterday's posting, all is well. I received confirmation yesterday that the new school indeed is built without a conventional basement. This should, I trust, eliminate any issues of vapour (TCE) intrusion that would have put children's health and lives at risk.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


For fifteen years, off and on, the Region of Waterloo and myself have been butting heads regarding the Safety-Kleen site. Here is an exerpt from a fax received yesterday from the Region to myself. " Regional planning staff subsequently met with Mr. marshall to discuss the basis for his referral request and in further consultation with Regional legal staff have determined that the referral request has been made in good faith and does not meet the test of frivolous, vexatious or for the purpose of delay pursuant to Section 17(11) of the 1983 Planning Act". Wow compared to some of the things the Region have said about me (publicly), this is the equivalent of a Nobel prize. This certainly does not guarantee the Region's support (heaven forbid my system can only stand so much shock) at an O.M.B. hearing. The final vote by Regional Council is Thursday Aug. 19/10 (now at 3 PM. instead of 7 PM.).

I had been wondering how certain individuals in positions of authority were able to sleep at night, with the knowledge that they have aided and abetted the torture and killing of human beings in the Bishop St. neighbourhood. This has been ongoing for decades but the decisions in the last five years are the ones I'm talking about. Now it appears these same people are going to be putting more children in danger. Ryerson School is being rebuilt on Grand Valley Dr. in Cambridge. The Cambridge Advocate has postings regarding this outrage. I repeat my comments in that forum here: Is there any possibilty that the new school has been built without a conventional basement? If so then that is good; as well as they are acknowledging the dangers of in ground buildings due to Trichloroethylene vapour intrusion. If the school indeed does have a conventional basement then jail is much too good for these decisonmakers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've just returned from the Regional Council Chambers in Kitchener, after stopping for a fillup at the former Becker's in downtown Elmira. I was in the Council Chambers at approximately 9:50 am. and talked briefly with a Regional employee at the Audio Visual booth. She advised me that the Committee had already approved O.P.A. # 15 which is a Woolwich Township zoning amendment for the purpose of changing extractive (aggregate) to industrial. This O.P.A. # 15 I had discussed here in the Elmira Advocate back on June 28 /10.

Although I was advised verbally of some committee meeting for today I was not advised either that it was open to the public or the time of the meeting. As I am most probably the sole objector to this Amendment and have attended and spoken both at Woolwich Council as well as spoken to Mr. Eby of the Regionnal Planning Department, at a formal meeting, I thought that I would be formally advised of all necessary details regarding these meetings. Apparently not. The next public meeting is on August 19 at 3 pm. in Regional Council Chambers. This I confirmed today, including putting my name on the list as a delegate. The issue here is a 40 + year old , grossly contaminated site known as Safety- Kleen. By the way the "grossly contaminated" term is quoted from a M.O.E. employee in a written report.

I fully expect to be criticized next Thursday for missing the committee meeting (by approx. 3/4 hour) at which time I will accept full blame if the Region are willing to accept full blame for missing the cleanup of the Safety-Kleen site by 3 1/2 decades .

11:36 am. and I've just gotten off the phone after receiving a call from Mr. Kevin Eby of the Region of Waterloo. Mr. Eby offerred his sincerest apologies for my not only not receiving formal notice of the meeting but also for not receiving a copy of the Staff Report to the Regional Committee. He has promised to immediately fax a copy to me. Also Mr. Eby advises me that what the committee actually approved was staff's recommendation to refer O.P.A. # 15 to the Ontario Municipal Board. Clearly I either misunderstood the answer this morning from the Regional employee or she misunderstood my question or all of the above. I believe that that was an honest misunderstanding. Mr. Eby also made it clear that he does not forsee any issue with Regional Council turning down their own committee's recommendation, nevertheless I will be attending as a delegate.

Monday, August 9, 2010


This is why we here in Elmira as well as St. Jacobs have a strong legitimate interest in the quality of water being provided by the pipeline coming up from Waterloo. TCE (trichloroethylene) is incredibly toxic with a range of health issues which includes multiple cancers, birth defects, immune system disorders, severe nervous and muscular problems and fibromyalagia. The public drinking wells most exposed to this chemical are in Cambridge at the Middleton well field. This however may be about to change. The Region of Waterloo are adding AOP (advaced oxidation process) to their treatment of the Middleton wells. This is approximately thirty years too late for many citizens of Cambridge who through multiple, sadly normal routes of exposure to industrial chemicals, will succumb to the prior mentioned diseases.

Advanced treatment of the water coming out of the ground is but one solution. Another solution is the proper cleanup of contamination at the source. This is a rarity even in the cases where cleanup is done at all. In Cambridge, well north of the Middleton wellfield, a pilot cleanup will be attempted in the Bishop St. community, contaminated by Northstar and Rozell. This pilot cleanup is using a process known as in situ chemical oxidation. It like the AOP is targeting TCE. Waterloo will shortly have taken over the top spot as having the most TCE polluted water in the Region. Why not go back to Sunar and Canbar in Waterloo and take a huge bite out of their remaining TCE? This will help secure the health of Waterloo, Elmira and St. Jacobs residents.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Today's Woolwich Observer keeps up the pressure on the proposed new gravel pits in Woolwich Township. Steve Kannon's article is titled "No rest in fight against gravel pits". Essentially three speakers have crashed the numbers and come up with what certainly appears to be solid numbers showing the financial losses to both citizens' homes and hence the tax base which the Township uses to assess property taxes. There is however a sort of a rebuttal which I find very strange. It came from Councillor Ruby Weber and I have to wonder if her comment is taken out of context or otherwise misconstrued. Read for yourselves and see what you think.
At the end of Steve's article we are advised that "Councillors made no reply to the presentations." I suggest that this is in line with my posting on Wed. July 28/10 in which I predict that Woolwich Councillors will move heaven and earth not to commit themselves, one way or the other , in regards to these proposed gravel pits, prior to the October 25/10 municipal elections.

P.S. Today's Observer also has a tiny blurb regarding the two week delay being experienced at the intersection of Church and Snyder Ave. The "construction challenges" referred to, include the contamination problem I mentioned in last Wednesday's (Aug. 4/10) Elmira Advocate.

Friday, August 6, 2010


O.K. when it comes to governments they always leave themselves some wiggle room. This is a tough one however. In today's K-W Record Jeff Outhit has a story headlined "Waterloo City Hall filters its tap water". The sub heading is "Fluoridation critic says city being hypocritical". This is so wrong on a number of levels. First of all Waterloo residents have been guinea pigs for decades with levels of Trichloroethylene in their drinking water courtesy of Sunar and Canbar. These levels do not magically increase and decrease as the drinking standards change over time. Secondly as I have long suspected the City of Waterloo (and Kitchener, Cambridge) are indeed running interceptor wells. The purpose of these wells, based on their geographical positions, are to intercept the known industrial contaminants, thus keeping them out of the other nearby wells. These wells may also be called purge wells. W14 is the purge well at the William St. wellfield beside Waterloo City Hall.

All of this is merely in addition to the concerns of Robert Fleming mentioned in Jeff Outhit's story. I admit that I was biased in the beginning. I doubted there were health issues regarding Fluoridation. I was wrong. Why in the name of all that is incredibly stupid in this world would we INTENTIONALLY ADD anything to our drinking water? Removing contaminants makes sense, adding them does NOT. For any reason.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Chuck Kuepfer has incorporated all three in yesterday's (Aug.4/10) Elmira Independent column. The title is "We're all guilty of short term horizons". Chuck quotes a Cree prophecy: "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." Further Chuck asks "What good is the modern lifestyle if the tradeoff is lack of fresh air, clean water and safe food supplies?" Although all of us have fallen prey to the seductiveness of our consumer society, Chuck particularily points to corporations and "a profit- at- all- cost mandate with no room for moral implications." Seldom will you read such an insightful overview regarding business and our environment in a mainstream newspaper. My hat is off to Chuck Kuepfer.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I'm guilty of only a slightly misleading title above. Yes that is what I will be talking about, however the headline could be misconstrued as suggesting that somehow gas stations in Elmira are more prone to contamination than elsewhere. Absolutely not. I posted a report on this website, Tuesday July 27/10 which asked Woolwich residents about their knowledge of local environmental charges, control orders etc.. In that report I mentioned the former Strauss Fuels site at the north end of Elmira (NW side of Arthur St.). What I did not include are three more contaminated or former contaminated sites also due to gasoline or diesel spills and leaks.

What is of interest here are two issues. One is the difficulty of ever cleaning up a contaminated site to it's original condition. The other issue is whether or not the Ministry of the Environment or anyone else even comes close to that goal. Voisin Motors which was torn down and remediated was one of these sites and is now replaced by Shoppers Drugs. The other remediated site was the Steddick Hotel which had been contaminated by leaking gasoline/diesel from the former Beckers service station next door. Finally the third remediated site was approximately 6 or 7 years ago and was Gord's service station on Church St. It is now covered by the extension to Chateau Gardens seniors home. This third site is coming back to impact the current road and sewer work at the intersection of Church and Snyder Ave. Apparently evidence, including odours has been noted during the excavations and may delay the completion of the job. For me this just begs the question: Why wasn't a better cleanup done in the first place? My second question is: Will any of the other service station cleanups in Elmira come back to haunt us, down the road?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Twenty-one years ago, the east side of Elmira, along Union St. was referred to as Elmira's mini chemical valley. I believe this was in comparison to the Sarnia area of Ontario with their plethora of petrochemical industries. Our mini chemical valley at that time included Uniroyal, Varnicolor, Nutrite, Sulco, Borg and perhaps the Sewage Treatment Plant. Two of the reasons for this location of the mini chemical valley are environmental. The Canangagigue Creek is there for ready disposal of liquid wastes and the prevailing winds are from west to east, thus locating on the east side of town ensured that most of the gaseous fume disposal went unnoticed.

Are there other reasons for Elmira's good fortune in regards to attracting dirty industries? Professor Keith Warriner of the University of Waterloo definitely thinks so. His August 2001, published series of reports are entitled "Social justice and environmental equity: Distributing environmental quality". Both the opponents of Woolwich Bio-En and of the proposed Hawk Ridge Homes sub division should look carefully at Professor Warriner's thesis. Three reasons include pure market forces, the path of least resistance and the most contentious, environmental classism or racism. I believe the Professor settles on the last two reasons in regards to specifically Elmira with emphasis on class not racism as has been more prevalent in the United States.

Here I would sound a precautionary note to both the old and new Woolwich Council. Ralgreen Cres. residents in Kitchener sued the City of Kitchener and won a settlement. Duke St. residents of Elmira sued Uniroyal(Crompton) and won a settlement. The new Hawk Ridge residents and the old residents east (downwind) of Woolwich Bio-En could sue Woolwich Township for damages to the enjoyment of their property. As a resident of Woolwich Township I don't care for an increase in my taxes simply because either the old or new Council fancy developers over people, common sense and decency.

P.S. The City of Cambridge are currently experiencing complaints from a new subdivision at the south end of town, located near their Sewage Treatment Plant. As Elmira's population expands, does Council think the STP located 125 yards from Hawk Ridge will smell less?

Monday, August 2, 2010

NEXT public CPAC MTG ON MON. AUG. 30/10

Four weeks from today CPAC sit down publicly for the first time in 3 months. Over the last three years they have been violating their Terms of Reference in regards to frequency of PUBLIC meetings. Not so much so regarding frequency of non public meetings. Three and a half years ago, CPAC (including me) as well as Woolwich Council (including Mayor Strauss) endorsed keeping Pat McLean on as Chair of CPAC, despite her losing her seat on Council to newcomer Sandy Shantz. Boy I'll bet Mayor Strauss is regretting that now. He's given Pat McLean a further chance to show her stuff as a big league manipulater and protecter of the status quo. Under her Chairmanship, CPAC has commendably moved forward on air issues and sadly backwards on soil and water issues.

The high speed retreat on groundwater issues is despite new information and evidence during the last twelve months that has been presented to and ignored by both CPAC and Woolwich Council. Second major sources of NDMA have been indicated at Oriole Parkway and Industrial Dr., most likely courtesy of Sanyo Canadian or Borg textile. A second source of Chlorobenzene, behind Varnicolor Chemical, discovered in 1998 by Conestoga Rovers & Assoc., was not made public until I did so after learning of it last summer. The silence on these revelations by CPAC, Woolwich Council, Ministry of the Environment, Region of Waterloo and Chemtura is one of the biggest indictments of their credibility and veracity. More will come publicly at the upcoming Aub. 30/10 CPAC meeting.