Thursday, September 30, 2010


Both today's Elmira Independent and K-W Record have a story on Monday afternoon's chemical leak at Chemtura in Elmira. One new point which I hinted at yesterday was the distance the emissions travelled. "Human error caused a chemical leak that splattered cars and property up to 600 metres away, the Ministry of the Environment says." I had commented on the EDSS football team being exposed and clearly they are more than the original estimate of 300 metres away from Chemtura. Also repeated in the Record's story was the failure of Chemtura to notify Woolwich Township for 4 hours. Finally it seems that Chemtura are going the extra mile to soothe egos and ruffled feathers by holding another secret and private meeting with CPAC to explain their failure ...get this...
not in regards to their chemical discharge but in regards to their alleged failure to talk to CPAC on Monday. Apparently CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) are more interested in saving face in the community than in actually leading Chemtura on a more responsible path. These secret and private meetings must stop. I have lost all confidence in this committee of Council and this is but one of the reasons why. They are not to be making private "deals" with this company. All to often these deals are becoming less to do with environmental improvements and more to do with control, face saving and ego building for Mayoralty candidates and her acolytes.

Yesterday afternoon & evening in Woolwich Council Chambers a public meeting/information session was held. This dealt specifically with the proposed Cultural Heritage Designation for the West Montrose Covered Bridge and area. Two staff of Woolwich Township did an excellent job of answering questions and assisting the public. While I was there (early-4pm.) the folks who came in were discussing the big picture in regards to the proposed gravel pits and their negative impacts. The O.M.B. hearing is in regards to Woolwich's Interim Control Bylaw which puts development on hold while this Cultural Heritage designation process is underway. The hearing commences in Woolwich Council Chambers on Thursday October 28th and potentially runs through until Friday November 5.
Just a thought here. This O.M.B. hearing starts 3 days after the Municipal Election. Could our old Council be playing games? If for example a majority of them were reelected could this O.M.B. hearing be suddenly dropped in favour of the gravel pit applicants?

Two days ago I received a phone call from a Virginia , allegedly of the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.). It felt like a call from a telephone soliciter. She wants a $125 fee sent to her allegedly in regards to my referral of Woolwich Township's Official Plan Amendment # 15 (OPA # 15) to the O.M.B.. Back on September 14th here in the Advocate I described the strange phone message I received from the Region of Waterloo in regards to this referral to the O.M.B.. What the heck is going on? Does nobody deal through the written word any longer? Surely if you want money as a condition of democracy and access to official scrutiny, the very least you can do is put your request in writing. This phone call by the way was the first indication of an upfront fee being required that I've received.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


As described briefly yesterday there was an air emission from Chemtura which their neighbours did not enjoy. The story was carried on CKCO-TV , 570 News Radio and the K-W Record this morning. I trust our two local newspapers will also shortly have stories as well.Today's Record has a picture of Mayoralty candidate Todd Cowan examining damage done to one of a number of cars across Union St. from his business.

Here is what I have not read or heard in the media: Although Todd Cowan and colleagues noticed odours and damage at approximately 3:15 pm. Tuesday, within a few minutes of that, football players, outdoors at Elmira District Secondary School (EDSS), were experiencing both unpleasant odours and taste. I've been there vis a vis inhaled solvents being re-enjoyed via the taste buds. It's neither pleasant nor healthy. Clearly this compound is both a skin irritant and a respiratory irritant.

"Jane Glassco, a spokesperson for the ministry, said the product was released from a pressure tank and became airborne." This is what I suspected based on prior toxic releases from Chemtura. We were advised in the past that it is standard operating practice to have pressure vessels which are holding product, equipped with what are known as "rupture discs". If the chemical reaction goes out of control (ie. unacceptable pressure rise) then this disc is designed to fail and release the contents, under pressure to the natural environment, ie. up the stack. In this day and age of technical capabilities, this is 1900's (or 1800s) technology.

Last but not least, yesterday's problems were merely a symptom of a company which has never been under control, either by the M.O.E. , by themselves or by anyone else. All the authorities involved, including the Township, have been unable to do so primarily because they are unwilling to do so. It's always been lip service to the residents while applying their lips to Chemtura's backside. Will this only change after Elmira has sufferred another disaster?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Early last evening (make that mid afternoon) there was a fugitive emission of a chemical called BLE-25. This chemical is an antioxidant and an additive used in the manufacture of rubber including automobile tires. It is a skin irritant which I can readily believe after seeing first hand the damage done to the paint jobs of cars parked near Chemtura. Quoting Jeff Merriman, environmental engineer at Chemtura, the local schools were contacted this morning "out of an abundance of caution". Furthermore Chemtura staff and management were out in the rain this morning and last evening giving information as well as receiving comments and complaints from their neighbours in regards to damage done etc. All the media both Elmira and K-W are involved and interested in this latest spill/release from Chemtura.

As per the announcement in the Woolwich Observer and as reported here in the Advocate on September 4/10; there will be a public meeting tomorrow nite in regards to the proposed Cultural Heritage designation for the West Montrose covered bridge and area. This will run from 4- 8 pm. At stake of course are a number of upcoming gravel pit proposals and this designation could put a crimp in those plans. Also the Murray Group have appealed Woolwich Township's Interim Control By-Law to the Ontario Municipal Board. This By- Law puts a temporary hold on development decisons until after the cultural heritage designation is dealt with.

Monday, September 27, 2010


One day you hear on the radio, read in the newspaper or get a phone call from a friend that your community is contaminated. In the case of Elmira, Ontario you yawn and go back to what you were doing because we all know that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment have been pushing, begging, cajoling Uniroyal to clean up for twenty years.
But then this seems different. It’s supposedly not the drinking water. It’s the air inside your homes. Suddenly a few things begin to come together. The headaches and other physical symptoms that are lessened in the spring and fall when the windows are open and the furnace and air conditioning are off. The sheer number of serious illnesses that have occurred among your neighbours, including numerous cancers.
Quickly the Regional health department and the Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) take the initiative. They hold public meetings, respond to media requests for interviews and begin the process of reassuring citizens that they the appropriate authorities are on top of things. Firstly they tell the local residents, not to worry that the “system” has caught this glitch, this problem in time and that it can be fixed as good as new. Secondly they advise that there was no forewarning, no red flags years ago, that the first indications of a problem were immediately and professionally acted upon by your public servants. Finally they advise that if there was any negligence or errors by the parties responsible for the contamination, those parties will be held accountable.
In the case of the Bishop St. community in Cambridge, all of the above has taken place. And in the case of the Bishop St. community all three of the above claims are falsehoods. The groundwater which is contaminated right down and into the Bedrock will never be as good as new. The parties responsible were both negligent and indifferent to their fellow human beings living nearby and they will never be properly held to account. They will never for example face criminal charges of negligence or manslaughter. Finally the major point of this article deals with the prior knowledge of both the Region of Waterloo and the M.O.E.
610 Bishop St. is the address of the current owner Rozell Inc. By all reports Rozell did not use or handle either Trichloroethylene (TCE) or 1,1,1 TCA. They bought the property from Borgwarner Inc. in 1985 after renting the property for five years. Two Cambridge residents have verbally indicated to me that the owner prior to Borgwarner were Long Mfg. who are currently located on Franklin Ave. in Cambridge. To date I have no written backup for these two claims.
Both Borgwarner and Long Mfg. have environmental histories. Once again with the clear understanding that although I have confidence in the two individuals mentioned earlier, I do not have documentation as yet to back them up. Both the Region of Waterloo and the M.O.E. know and have known for years the environmental issues around Long Mfg. To further complicate matters, Long was purchased by Dana Corporation. Quoting from FindLaw for Legal Professionals “Dana Corporation is a manufacturer of automotive components. Sixty-three of its facilities , located in nineteen states, have become the subject of governmental or third party actions resulting in substantial environmental cleanup costs.” That is a lot of environmental issues ! Long Mfg. however right here in Cambridge have their own issues. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been present in the shallow and deep groundwater on their Franklin Ave. site since 1996. These have been the subject of two M.O.E. Control Orders. VOCs including TCE & TCA have been detected in the nearby municipal water well (G9) which the Region are responsible for.
Borgwarner in the U.S. have been naughty. I realize this is a subjective opinion, however when they have been named as PRPs (potentially responsible parties) at 35 different sites in the U.S. by both the EPA & state organizations , you can understand my opinion. A civil lawsuit by residents of South Hill New York alleges that Borgwarner and others “ In disregard of its legal duties, Defendants negligently , wantonly and recklessly , with conscious indifference and disregard to human life and the rights and safety of the Plaintiffs, released toxic and hazardous environmental contaminants into the air, soil and groundwater of the city of Ithaca and the neighbourhoods of the Plaintiff’s residences.” These contaminants included TCE.
Maybe the Ontario M.O.E. & the Region of Waterloo “forgot” to tell this to the Bishop St. community. Perhaps they feared for the safety of the owners/managers of Long or Borgwarner. Or perhaps they feared for their own safety if the citizens victimized by this disaster entering their own homes understood that both the Region and the M.O.E. had almost a decade heads up in regards to the likelihood of environmental contamination at the 610 Bishop St. site. This nine year warning could probably have saved lives and lessened horrific health issues if action had been taken then.

Standby for an upcoming announcement dealing with information and the abuses of it by government. Misinformation is intolerable and standard operating procedure but sometimes simply not sharing information which the public have a RIGHT to know is even worse.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


"The Elmira Bio Fuel Citizens' Committee has been holding weekly strategy meetings at the Woolwich Memorial centre. On Wednesday night, more than 80 people showed up to hear Bio-En Power Inc. president Chuck Martin's take on the proposal." This quote is from today's Woolwich Observer, written by Katie Edmonds. In my opinion both Chuck Martin in favour and the opposition have done themselves proud. Maintaining the time and energy for weekly meetings is indeed what citizen activism is all about. The only question I have concerning the article is the reference to a suggestion that a truck bypass route be created around downtown Elmira. I was of the understanding that that was the reason for the extension of Union St. right down to the south end of Elmira & the #86 or Listowel bypass as I call it.

Today's Woolwich Observer advises us on Page 3 that OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agricultue, Food and Rural Affairs) are about to designate giant hogweed as a noxious weed under the Weed Control Act. My last posting here in the Elmira Advocate in regards to giant hogweed was back on August 25/10.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Both the Hamilton Spectator and the Kitchener-Waterloo Record have run stories on the Annual Report done by Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Hopefully most other major newspapers in Ontario have also done so, because this information on our environment is desperately needed by the public. Although personally a huge skeptic in regards to environmental authorities or decision makers in this province, nevertheless I must admit to at least some hope when I see this provincially appointed Commissioner coming out and calling an environmental spade a spade.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The title of the article in the K-W Record on Tuesday Sept. 21/10 was "Manganese in tap water affects kids IQ" written by Cheryl Ubelacker. I believe there was also a second followup article yesterday . The Region of Waterloo unfortunately have had manganese in their tap water for decades and the most obvious symptoms have been discoloured water and stained laundry as a result. The Region through swabbing of pipelines have attempted to remove both manganese and iron from our water. What is most interesting to me is the Region's long time stance that manganese is strictly an aesthetic issue not a health issue in it's own right. Apparently this may not be accurate. Please read my postings in the Cambridge Advocate (my nom de plume is agm).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


6:30 to 8:30 pm. at the Woolwich Memorial Centre. You can totally be against the proposed location of this facility in Elmira and still admire Chuck Martin for appearing in person, probably in front of a hostile audience, giving his opinions and facts in support of this proposal and it's location. Too bad others in town have forgotten that free speech is the essence of democracy. Kicking people out of an organization because they don't blindly believe everything you say, is an act of cowardice by a control freak, not leadership.

Gord Miller in today's K-W Record "Wildlife, forests feeling the impact" has a message for us. Although the Elmira Advocate has clearly focused on environmental issues specific or relevant to Woolwich Township, nevertheless sometimes we will stray and sometimes in this case, the broader issue of global warming is as relevant to Woolwich as to the rest of the world.
The E Commissioner gives several examples of wilflife impacts that we have most certainly seen here in Woolwich. Opossums are now common and plentiful in Woolwich whether in the woods or dead alongside our roads. I'm sixty years old and the first live one I saw was in West Montrose just over ten years ago. Lyme disease from deer ticks is no longer rare in Ontario. They have also expanded their range northwards as the winters have warmed up. Gord Miller sums up " The new conservation ethic must take into account the cumulative impact of our activities, use a precautionary approach every time a decision is made, and ensure we don't penalize future generations."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Once again we have received our euphemistically titled monthly Progress Report. Perfect progress forward with nary a backstep, even at a snail's pace might be called "Progress". This unfortunately is not the case. There are backsteps (leakages) ongoing constantly and the Pump & Treat methodology certainly is at a snail's pace. Even with the M.O.E.'s & their partner in pollution, Chemtura's scheduled restoration of the Elmira Aquifer by 2028, it is at a snail's pace. On pages 3 & 4 we learn of exceedances in the effluent discharges to the CanagaGIGue Creek of NDMA. These potentially went on from August 5 until corrective measures stopped them on August 20, 2010. Fortunately for the creek and aquatic organisms, the Certificate of Approval issued by the M.O.E. defines exceedances via a rolling average method (ie. a loophole) such that an exceedance of either the limits or objectives isn't necessarily an exceedance for legal purposes. Again I repeat, how fortunate for both Chemtura and the aquatic organisms in the creek.

Table A.3 lists the chemical detections at on-site well UA655. These are no surprise as there is no on-site cleanup underway, hence high detections of benzene, chlorobenzene, NDMA, toluene, aniline , benzothiazole and more are to be expected forever.

Table B.1 lists the detections and discharges to the "GIG" from surface discharge point 0400. Lindane which hasn't been used on site for years is still finding it's way from contaminated soil and groundwater into this surface water discharge point. Along with it, discharging to the "GIG" are aniline, carboxin and xylenes.

Appendix D 's lack of MU (municipal upper) aquifer groundwater contours can probably be laid directly at the feet of the co-opted CPAC members who blithely insist that giving concessions to this polluter is somehow a good thing. They are correct in that it is good for the company and their shareholders but a sellout to the trusting citizens of Elmira.

Section 7.0 in the text reminds us that in regards to Remediation of Former Operating Pond Area "no new activities were undertaken for this item during August 2010". Meanwhile source removal of DNAPLs is ongoing in Cambridge in the Bishop St. neighbourhood, a mere five years after their discovery. Perhaps the M.O.E. & Northstar Aerospace would like to import some of Elmira's "sellouts" to slow their progress.

Monday, September 20, 2010


"More than 300 people are gathered for the daylong conference at Grand River Conservation Authority headquarters on Clyde Road in Cambridge." as per Saturday's K-W Record, written by Kevein Swaze. This is an excellent and thought provoking article in regards to our common water supply and needs. I was also glad to see a number of persons panning the Great Lakes Pipeline as an appropriate solution to either water quality or quantity issues. That which I did not care for was an apparent reliance on water treatment technologies or as it's also known as "end of the pipe" solutions. Far better to stop contaminants from entering either ground or surface water in the first place rather then focusing on how to remove them once they are there. That being said I would also suggest that we have long had greater technology for example to clean sewage than we've had money directed towards that end. How many sewage treatment plants in Ontario and Canada still only use Primary or Secondary treatment versus Tertiary treatment of sewage? How many of these plants routinely, once or twice a year, discharge raw sewage into our waterways including the Grand River? Unfortunately politicians and bureaucrats still excel at puffery while falling short on followup. Please also note my earlier postings here in the Elmira Advocate re: raw sewage discharges.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yesterday's K-W Record indicates that Nestle Waters Canada is on track to continue making money at the expense of the general public and the environment. Nestle is currently allowed to pump 2,500 litres of water every minute. And make money from it. It being OUR water, not their private stock. Members of the Wellington Water Watchers are awaiting results of low flow tests to determine if there is an unacceptable reduction in the water table and or surface water (Mill Creek) due to this pumping during dry conditions. I can understand people losing faith in tap water due to politicians unwillingness to force business to either avoid polluting or to clean up properly afterwards. But when business and industry then further profit from their pollution by creating a market for bottled (solvent free) water is dispicable.

The next public fluoride forum will be Oct. 7 at the recreation centre in Waterloo, from 7 to 8:30 pm..

Friday, September 17, 2010


The 10th Annual Grand River Watershed Water Forum runs today as per last Wednesday's Elmira Independent. The title of the Forum is "Inspiring Grand Transformations: Our Preferred Future". Attending at this Forum which will "examine how we are managing and conserving the water resources of the Grand and their importance to oue economy and quality of life", will be Joe Farwell of the GRCA, noted painter Ken Kirkby and Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller. The timing of this Forum in relation to my posting in yesterday's Elmira Advocate is interesting. Clearly the weakness in any provincial legislation regarding water protection, lies in the implementation. These "forums" do little harm in that they raise awareness of the problems. Ten of them in a row however, and the Grand River is still the fourth most polluted river in Ontario. I believe that our citizens have long ago embraced the ideas and principles of environmental stewardship. Now if only our local politicians could get past talking about it and into making decisions that put the environment first rather than business, industry and monied interests.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


For the last several years as a result of provincial legislation following the Walkerton disaster and scandal there have been ongoing source water protection plans & meetings including public participation. Unfortunately however it isn't the public who make the decisions. Wednesday's K-W Record advises us that Kitchener Council have decided that a gas bar in a Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) is O.K. Well it's not. The area that Council have approved for the gas bar is adjacent to Strasbourg Creek and it's flood plain. As it falls within a WHPA obviously there are public drinking wells nearby.

As always we hear the drivel about strict regulations and strict monitoring by the "authorities". If that were even half true, then gas stations in environmentally sensitive areas wouldn't even be considered. Supposedly the lack of repairs and maintenance at this gas bar "mitigates" the problem. Not true. Gas stations buried tanks are the problem and always have been. Just look to Elmira for leadership. Voisin Motors at the north end of Elmira left behind contamination that needed remediation when they moved to the south end of Elmira. Oh and by the way, where exactly are they now? I'm not joking, our Council located them in the south industrial zone right beside the closed south wellfield. The closed south wellfield allegedly being reopened in 2028. Sure, when hell freezes over.

As per yesterday's K-W Record there is a public meeting tonite from 7 to 8:30 pm. at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, room 200.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Last month (Aug. 4/10) I posted a story in regards to three gasoline contaminated sites in Elmira namely, the old Gord's service centre at Church & Snyder, Voisin Motors old site at Arthur St. by Church St. and finally the Steddick Hotel property courtesy of the adjoining gas bar & submarine shop. Lo and behold while tearing up the street at Church and Snyder gasoline contamination was found underground. Apparently the original "cleanup" was on a par with other Elmira "cleanups".

Remember the recent demolition and alleged "cleanup" at the Steddick Hotel on Arthur St.? Did anyone in Elmira either see or smell gasoline or diesel while this site was being excavated? A little birdie told me that they watched carefully and the excavation never even went as deep as the footings to the foundation. Three or four summers ago I worked across from Martin Pet Foods, beside the Woolwich Observer, remediating the former Strauss Fuels site. Yes that is indeed the same Strauss as in Mayor Bill Strauss. Anyhow gasoline and fuel oil contamination normally sinks down to the water table where it often forms LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid). This is very odourous and distinctive. I too wondered when I went by the Steddick at the lack of odour or even visual clues. I suspect that somewhere down the road further cleanup will be "discovered" to be necessary. This crap I expect from the M.O.E. but was Woolwich Council, in private discussion, also aware of one more pretend cleanup? The proof is in the pudding. If there was a real cleanup, there will be a paper trail. Contaminated soil can only (legally) go to so many places and it must be documented.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Very strange this process. I received a voice mail yesterday from Bridgit Cody of the Region of Waterloo requiring some information in regards to the upcoming Ontario Municipal Board hearing into Woolwich Township's OPA (official plan amendment) # 15. She apparently needed to know if I would have any expert witnesses at the hearing and what their area of expertise would be. I responded last evening by fax and advised her the answer was yes and their area of expertise would be hydrogeology. My question is why am I dealing through the Region of Waterloo and not directly with the O.M.B. Also as I'm currently working business hours without ready telephone access this makes things awkward. More importantly the Region have never been the least bit helpful in regards to Safety- Kleen, over the last fiftenn years so what's going on?

Monday, September 13, 2010


You the reader make up your own mind on the following. Ten months ago I sat in a meeting with the Region of Waterloo's hydrogeologist, Eric Hodgins. He had been requested by Woolwich Township to attend a meeting with them and myself to discuss other sources of contamination within the Elmira Aquifer. The other sources were of course above and beyond Chemtura (Uniroyal) and Nutrite. Eric flatly denied the possibility while at the same time claiming that no he had not looked up the very accessible refernce I sent him that showed Free Phase DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid) below ground behind the old Varnicolor Chemical plant.

In Cambridge (Preston) a municipal well was shut down in 1999. This well P7 was shut down allegedly due to "performance issues", whatever that means. In 2006 a study of the Dumphries Conservation Area (DCA) where both P7 and P6 were located indicated chemical contamination in both the Upper Aquifer and the shallow Bedrock Aquifer which supplied water to wells P6 and P7. This contamination included Hexavalent Chromium, TCE, TCA, Benzene, Toluene and Xylenes. The next year (2007) a report was issued and is currently online which indicates that the Region of Waterloo overdrilled numerous Bedrock wells in Cambridge for the purpose of going deeper into the Bedrock and hence avoiding shallower manmade contamination. The example they used of this manmade contamination was road salt.

Now here's the rub. Throughout the Northstar and Bishop St. disaster in Preston, the Ministry of the Environment and the Region of Waterloo have steadfastly maintained that although there are vapour intrusion issues (TCE) into homes, there are NO drinking water problems from the same chemicals. I'm not buying it. What do you think?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Today's Woolwich Observer has two Letters to the Editer on our local big issues namely Woolwich Bio-En and the West Montrose gravel pit. Also the front page story is "Biogas opponents hear from the candidates". I'm not sure whether to applaud Mayoral candidate, Pat McLean's political instincts or her stubborness. The last election cost her her job because she would not bluntly endorse twin ice pads. Now she is waffling on fighting against Woolwich Bio-En because she feels that the Province have given her that option. Bad decision. Take a position, one way or the other and then be prepared to defend and debate it. Waffling is for career and professional politicians, neither of which are needed in Woolwich.

Lynn Hare of West Montrose is still not satisfied with Councillor Weber's response to lowered property values in West Montrose or Conestogo/ Winterbourne. Also Michael Purves-Smith's Letter focuses on increased truck traffic and safety in regards to Woolwich Bio- En.

I am most disappointed to have an ongoing Wednesday evening commitment in Kitchener and thus have been unable to attend the Biogas meetings. The next one is scheduled for September 22/10 at the WMC at 6:30 pm. and Chuck Martin of Woolwich Bio- En has been asked to attend and present.

Friday, September 10, 2010


A report was written in December 2006 examining the Dumphries Conservation Area (near Northstar Aerospace) and municipal well P6. The report gave information in regards to a Sentry well which was installed near well P6. "On the basis of the findings of the April 2006 investigation, AMEC recommended that the Sentry Well be installed near existing well nest MW267 (Upper Aquifer)/ MW272 (Shallow Bedrock)."

During 2006 and probably earlier, low levels of TCE and 1,1,1 TCA had been found in both the Upper Aquifer and the Shallow Bedrock nearby. This is absolutely to be expected under the circumstances of the massive groundwater contamination found just north along and downgradient of Bishop St.. The Region of Waterloo apparently on a routine basis pump drinking wells using "well management" practices. This concerns me as it could be interpreted as playing musical wells. In other words stop pumping a particular well when you've drawn nearby contaminants into it, "rest" it for a few months or more until the cone of influence has dissipated and then go back to pumping it again. I don't care whether they have Ministry of the Environment approval or not; they do not have citizen approval for any such practices with our drinking water.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


What happened? Both are supposed to be supportive and beneficial to each other. When did govermnent become a roadblock, a quagmire, in effect the enemy? The incident that first brought this home to me was the Ralgreen Cres. disaster in Kitchener. It was a disaster for the families living there. It was not a disaster for the majority of citizens living in Kitchener. It was but a mere nuisance for Kitchener Councillors. This former City owned dump was but one of many long forgotten legacies of our industrial past. It like the Ottawa St. dump was an example of horrible city planning gone awry. Yet the innocent citizens were supposed to bear the total burden, financial and healthwise. They eventually had to sue their own municipal government to get justice and even then not all citizens were so lucky. The other eye opening I received was the fact that every single municipal councillor wasn't shown the door at the next election. Our politicians count on our apathy and inattention. It is cases like this and the ongoing one in Cambridge (Bishop St. /Northstar/Rozell) that feed our contempt of politicians in general . They have earned it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Many years ago, I approached the Ontario Ministry of the Environment with information and photographs concerning a commercial site in the Doon area of Kitchener. This location was in the business of removing old underground gasoline and diesel fuel tanks. The photographs clearly showed a number of these tanks propped up, with their open spouts downwards and indeed evidence (stains etc.) that they had been permitted to drain onto the ground. The ground was not protected by concrete or any other impermeable surface. Furthermore the site was located beside Schneider's Creek. The M.O.E. advised me that they would do nothing as this was not a big deal compared to other issues they were dealing with.

Flash forward to the present and we have an individual who spilled some heating fuel on his property and allegedly it flowed into the municipal drain. This individual reported this himself to the Ontario M.O.E.. He was charged, convicted and fined and his name put into the local paper. Clearly there was no intent to dump involved and yet he was dumped on. Perhaps my headline should have read PLAYING FAVOURITES?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


In Elmira we have Nurite, Varnicolor and Uniroyal guaranteed, with Borg or Sanyo as maybes. In Waterloo we have Canbar and Sunar. In Cambridge we have Northstar and G.E.(Rozell) with the possibility of at least one more. Do birds of a feather flock together? Apparently so. In Elmira their mini chemical valley was a magnet for dirty, stinky industries who were confident that their big neighbour, Uniroyal would get all the blame. In Cambridge where TCE and 1,1,1 TCA are the biggest toxins in the groundwater, one of the consultants, believe it or not, are attributing 1,1,1 TCA found both shallow and deep near drinking well P6 to another source. Absolutely no hint as to whom. Just another source.

Monday, September 6, 2010


We've earned it and we deserve it!

Firstly a reminder of a couple of upcoming meetings: This Thursday 7- 9 pm. at 1010 Erbs Rd. Waterloo and the following Monday 7- 9 pm. at the GRCA headquarters on Clyde Rd. in Cambridge. These meetings are in regards to Source Water protection in the Grand River watershed. I did a posting about them here in the Advocate on August 16/10.


I am confused. I have often indicated my opinion/position that the environmental authorities look out for each other's interests versus those of the public. The following is old news, unless of course you missed it the first time. April 18, 2005 the K-W Record carried a tiny story which had been in the Guelph Mercury : "They were charged, convicted and fined $25,000 Ministry of the Environment spokesman Mark Rabbior said friday." This speaks to CRA (Conestoga Rovers & Assoc.) repeatedly discharging from their client's plant (GSW) in Fergus, Trichloroethylene above the maximum limit, into the Grand River.
Secondly the Region of Waterloo were fined $10,000 on January 6, 2009 for discharging untreated drinking water into the distribution system. It appears that human error was the cause and that remedial measures, after the fact, were taken by the Region. Nevertheless the M.O.E. charged the Region of Waterloo with a drinking water violation that occurred at well G7 in Cambridge.

It would be easy to suggest that both CRA & the Region are deserving recipients of these charges but keep in mind that the body laying the charges (M.O.E.) does not remotely have the moral high ground. Thus these two scenarios have me confused. Was there a temporary breakdown in solidarity? Was this a little payback for hard nosed bargaining by the Region of Waterloo? In Elmira, regarding Chemtura (Uniroyal), the M.O.E. take more BS and nonsense without retaliation than you can imagine. Again was this payback? This is one of those instances that don't follow the pattern and thus you file in the back of your mind for future thought and reference.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


This announcement is in today's Woolwich Observer and the public meeting is focused on "Potential West Montrose Cultural Heritage Landscape". The meeting is on Wednesday September 29/10 , 4- 8 pm. at Woolwich Council Chambers in Elmira. The Interim Control By-Law giving time for this potential designation is the one being appealed by The Murray Group to the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.). The Murray Group are the next gravel pit in line after Capitol Paving who are planning to destroy (develop) the West Montrose covered bridge and residential areas.

Well I seem to have missed the boat on this one. I thought a week or so ago that the water at the Woolwich Dam was getting better however the Elmira Independent in last Wednesday's paper state that warning signs are being posted up there in regards to blue green algae and the toxin, microcystin.

Both the Woolwich Observer and the Elmira Independent have excellent information in their respective weekend papers. I am of course specifically referring to environmental news to wit the Biogas proposal. "Woolwich to push province for biogas meeting" is the headline in the Observer. As has been stated I believe by Gail Martin, municipal politicians are by far the most responsive to public pressure. Elmira citizens have made it clear that they expect more effort from their Councillors on this matter and lo and behold it's happening.

Similarily the Independent have an excellent Letter to the Editer by Alastair & Patricia Rickard giving detailed contact information for citizens to pass on comments to three different significant people within the Ontario M.O.E. I apologize for not having a link here directly to that Letter to the Editer, whether the Independent don't put them on line or I simply can't find it. So go get the paper, it's well worthwhile.

Friday, September 3, 2010


The title in yesterday's K-W Record was "GRCA gets go ahead on two projects". What I'm beginning to notice however are changes between the morning edition of the Record and what ends up on line. Nevertheless this is a feel good story which serves the secondary purpose of enhancing the image and reputation of the Grand River Conservation (Construction) Authority. I suspect that this is one of the drawbacks of being an activist in any area. One learns to see past the gloss and glitz and the reality seldom matches the fantasy especially in government.

Value for money is what government programs should be about. The value however should not include public relations or public self presentation. What many citizens don't understand is who actually is the GRCA. The voting members are primarily municipal politicians from the various towns and cities up and down the Grand River. They have a huge conflict of interest in that however much they espouse love for the environment, the reality is that they love themselves and their elected positions far more. They receive legal campaign donations (mostly) and they receive perks and they receive donations to municipal projects which reflect back upon themselves and help get them re-elected. When was the last time you or I, or bald eagles, fish or other critters directly gave something to any politician? And that folks is what politic is all about.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Well this is interesting. It seems that the environmental damage done to the property (and beyond?) is no secret in the community. Since the very brief blurb in the K-W Record in regards to environmental issues, followed by my comments here last Friday, I've talked to three people who were all surprised that I didn't know. It seems as expected that solvents and the metal/steel industry are no strangers. What is also unfortunately of little surprise is the attempts that will be made to minimize the whole thing. Now one of these sources did suggest environmental damage affecting nearby residential areas. I hope they are wrong because the vapour intrusion issue in Cambridge (Bishop St. community) is horrendous and we certainly don't need more.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


The following article was in yesterday's K-W Record , yet I can't find it in their on line version. Page A8: "Diabetes now top disability for veterans of Vietnam War." Agent Orange was of course manufactured both in the U. S. as well as right here in Elmira at Uniroyal. The toxic ingredient which did all the human damage was Dioxin ie. tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD). What I didn't know were the links to Diabetes in particular and to a much lesser extent erectile disfunction, heart disease, Parkinson's and leukemia.The Dioxin was in fact an unintended contaminant within the Chlorophenols that were used in the manufacture of 2,4 D and 2,4,5 T.