Saturday, October 30, 2010


This includes environmental committees including TWEEC and CPAC. Apparently they are looking for five new volunteers for TWEEC and four for CPAC. Keep in mind three new citizen volunteers were appointed to CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) only a year ago. The suggestion has been made by Mayor Elect Todd Cowan that CPAC needs to be re- examined in light of what has and has not been accomplished, in the last nearly twenty years. I believe that this re-examination is long overdue. Similarly Dr. Henry Regier has been calling for a mid course correction for some time now in regards to CPAC and the alleged "cleanup".

This is this weeks' title of Spin Cycle by Chuck Kuepfer in the Elmira Independent. I'm enjoying his writing more and more. It's a report on the differences between old time farming and modern day factory farming. Apparently a recent documentary was produced on this topic by the name of "Fresh". Locally we are blessed with different markets for fresh produce from area farms.

In today's Woolwich Observer Pg.8 we have this notice of a public meeting in regards to the Biogas proposal. It will be held on Tuesday November 30/10 from 5-8 Lion's Hall 40 South St. W. Elmira. I find the timing to be a little strange. Our new Municipal Council are sworn into office a week later. This is similar to our current CPAC holding their meeting on Monday November 29/10. Again a week later we have a new Council on the scene.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today's K-W Record has the following story: "Safety-Kleen expansion to boost capacity". This expansion is to include steel pipes, support beams and processing tanks and will cost $26 million dollars. What I find very strange is that this announcement is taking place now; long after the announcement, zone change and Official Plan Amendment was submitted to Woolwich Township for the much smaller land purchase and warehouse addition behind their site, onto the former Forwell Sand & Gravel property. Did Woolwich Township Staff have any knowledge that this larger expansion would also be undertaken and built at the same time? Would this have affected their decisions regarding the warehouse purchase and construction? This article by the Record is essentially a feel good bit of local boosterism however they do mention that yours truly has appealed the warehouse & parking lot expansion to the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.).

Elmira Pet Foods are holding a town meeting on Monday November 8, 2010 at the Royal Canadian Legion on First St. in Elmira at 6:30 pm. The announcement was in Wednesday's Elmira Independent.

This is in regards to the Heritage Cultural designation of the West Montrose Covered Bridge and area which will affect the proposed gravel pits in the area. This hearing has been adjourned from yesterday until this Monday at 10:30 am. in Woolwich Council Chambers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Today's K-W Record (pg. C8) informs us that "Safety-Kleen to begin $26 million expansion". Furthermore Minister of the Environment, Jim Wilkinson will attend the groundbreaking ceremony at approximately 2:30 pm. today. Isn't that just swell? Unmentioned is the referral of this PROPOSED expansion to the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.) by yours truly. There are a number of stories here in the Advocate (Oct. 18, Sept. 14,30 & Aug. 20/10 etc.) in regards to Safety-Kleen building on contaminated land. Ironically two Woolwich Councillors, Sandy Shantz and Mark Bauman claimed they would not approve building on contaminated land and then went right ahead and approved Official Plan Amendment (O.P.A.) #15 permitting exactly that.

Today's K-W Record advises us "Urban planner wins award". This story is about old contaminated industrial sites that have been redeveloped in Kitchener. We have had similar cleanups and developments here in Elmira. Please see the Elmira Advocate September 15/10 and August 4/10.

The list of contaminated sites in Kitchener is truly awesome from factories to former gasoline stations. This article glowingly describes all the financial incentives that developers are given to "clean up" these properties prior to building on them. I have three questions. Above and beyond our Ministry of Errors and Excuses (M.O.E.); who independently determines the quality and extent of the cleanup? Secondly, who do you think is funding these financial incentives? I'll answer that one: You Joe Taxpayer. Thirdly whatever happened to the adage "Polluter Pays"? I'll answer that one as well. It's never been true, it's merely political rhetoric.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Today's K-W Record carries the following story "Fluoride weeks away from removal". The vote was extremely close but the NO side won by a sliver. This close tally was consistent throughout Waterloo, Elmira and St. Jacobs. I am personally very pleased with the result and give credit to Waterloo Councillor Angela Vieth, Robert Fleming and others. Perhaps this is the beginning for other Ontario communities to reconsider the wisdom in adding chemicals to their drinking water versus removing them.

Well it's long overdue especially in Woolwich. Today's Elmira Independent, front page has a story "Woolwich voters embrace change", in which Mayor elect, Todd Cowan states "We're going to do things differently. We're going to govern better. Finally somebody is going to stand up to the gravel pit people." This is the kind of leadership, on behalf of the people that has been lacking in this Township for a very long time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Councillor Mark Bauman has geography on his side. He alone survived the massacre (by all of 175 votes ) against a challenger with zero political experience. Geography saved your bacon Mark. St. Jacobs does not have a proposed Biogas plant nor proposed gravel pits beside residential areas nor finally a chemical plant of the ilk of Chemtura. But for that it would have been a clean sweep. Here in Woolwich township we are still small enough that three environmental issues pissed off enough of us that we threw out the apologists who have been defending developers and polluters literally for decades. THANK YOU CHEMTURA. My former friend and colleague Susan Bryant said it well years ago. Uniroyal (Chemtura) are their own worst enemy. Every time their public relations takes a step forward they screw up publicly and take two steps backwards. CPAC with the backing of Woolwich Council have led the charge for years to give environmental concessions to Chemtura. In exchange Chemtura have had fires, explosions and fugitive air emissions. Woolwich citizens due to the Biogas plant, the proposed gravel pits and Chemtura's timely reminder have said ENOUGH! Todd Cowan and the new Council have some hard work to do but we the citizens are on your side.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Please do everyone a favour. If you haven't bothered to inform yourself on the issues or the candidates, then please do NOT vote. The last thing we need are Councillors getting elected because they are Aunt Minnie's second cousin, twice removed. Nor do we need Councillors whose sole quality is that they have a good German, Mennonite, French, Scottish last name etc. Name recognition is a lousy way to vote people into public office. Thank You, and if you have bothered to get informed then I wish you the very best and please get out and vote today.

Perfect timing as we've just quit putting our foodstuffs into the composter due to colder tempuratures. The Green Bin was delivered this weekend and in it are the small plastic container for inside the house as well as paper bags (2 sizes) and the instructions. There is also a fridge magnet for a handy reminder as to what is O.K. and what is not. Overall I would suggest that it looks and seems like a good system. Now if I can just keep my hopes up that the Region will do their part. In the warmer weather the wife and I will still use our composter but the green bin is good year round plus it handles much more than the composter such as meat, bones, doggie doo doo etc.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This Progress Report again was received late, namely on Wed. Oct. 20/10. Late in order to discuss September monitoring results and changes at the Oct. 18/10 CPAC meeting. Normally during non public CPAC meeting months it comes out on the 15th of the month. The Minutes and Agenda for the Oct. 18 meeting were received by the voting CPAC members Thurs. evening Oct. 14/10 by e-mail giving them one business day plus the weekend to read and absorb prior to the 9 am. Mon. meeting. I received mine Friday nite by e-mail only by special, last minute request by myself. Normally I'm phoned when they're ready, to come and pick them up.

The on site Municipal Upper Aquifer (MU) pumping was fine during September and with the exception of W4 (behind Varnicolor by the Watertower) so were the off site pumping wells. On page 5 , the claim is made by Conestoga Rovers (CRA) that UA3 (upper aquifer level 3) has a zone of "static" groundwater and does not flow off site. This is sketchy.The admission is made that the MU flows off site in the north-west but this is allegedly O.K. says CRA. Also the admission is made that on site groundwater flows offsite further south but it appears as if CRA think this is O.K. as it then flows back again on site where it is captured by well PW4. The M.O.E. have indicated indicated in the past that this is not acceptable but I'm confident that they will come around to Chemtura's point of view as they always do.

CRA claims that well E7 in the south end of Elmira is containing NDMA (and so much more) in the Bedrock Aquifer (BR). I view this as extreme wishful thinking on CRA's part as well E7 is only screened in the Municipal Lower (ML) not the BR and furthermore there is the LAT or Lower Aquitard between the well screen and the Bedrock Aquifer.

Further problems with this Monthly Progress Report include the complete lack of analytical data for both the on and off site wells in Table A.1 . How can one possibly judge the effectiveness of treatment systems without a clue as to what the influent is?
Figure D.3 is also worrisome as the head differential between surface water and groundwater is extremely tiny. CRA claim hydraulic containment in the Upper Aquifer based on the flimsiest and tiniest evidence.
The Sentry wells (Fig. D10- D13) clasim decreasing trends for Chlorobenzene but not for NDMA. Why this discrepancy?
Fig. D17 while not conclusive solely on its own merits nevertheless should raise huge questions as to why Varnicolor Chemical is at the centre of the largest area of Chlorobenzene concentrations in the Elmira Municipal Lower (ML) Aquifer. This is especially so as the M.O.E. labs 19 years ago claimed no Chlorobenzene was on the Varnicolor site. If not a smoking gun then surely it is a at least a noisy, recoiling one.
Table E.1 should be an embarassment to CRA. While repeatedly claiming that LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid) is not present, nevertheless in the fine print we find that in fact it certainly is.

This site is a disaster and these monthly reports are a greenwash. Source removal is and always has been necessary both on and off site. The off site source removal has only been known by myself and the public for a relatively short period of time but everyone has known of the necessity of on site source removal for more than two decades. Our town Council has been of little or no assistance from day one. This shameful behaviour continues.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Do you think that it's coincidence that all the current hot issues are on hold until after the election? Saturday's Woolwich Observer attempts to pin down all the candidates on their positions regarding Biogas and gravel pits. Not surprisingly the incumbents from Mayor Bill Strauss, former long time Councillor Pat McLean, Murray Martin, Mark Bauman and Ruby Weber are all wimping out and saying that it's too early, it's still in process, we don't have enough information etc. Pat McLean does the most waffling of this group by saying "Making decisions such as these without complete information is reckless." She then decides to be exactly that ie. reckless: "at this time and without that information I would vote no on these questions". On the other hand the following challengers are unequivocally clear as to their positions : Todd Cowan (Mayor), Jim David, Julie Anne Herteis, Allan Poffenroth, Bonnie Bryant, Eric Schwindt. Our current Council and Pat McLean are unashamedly pro business and industry even when it involves developments contrary to the interests and good of the majority of Woolwich residents. Please vote appropriately.

This story is in tomorrow's Woolwich Observer (out today) hence I will put a link to it when it goes online. Clearly candidate Bonnie Bryant stole the show amongst the Ward 3 candidates with her no nonsense attitude and straight, unequivocal answers to questions "saying there should be no pits adjacent to the covered bridge or in cases where rivers and groundwater are threatened." Similarily amongst the three Mayoralty candidates Todd Cowan was the most direct saying no to gravel pits and no to the proposed Biogas location, while supporting it in principle. Pat McLean and Bill Strauss, both charter members of "the old boys club" waffled and talked about "communication" with the gravel pit companies. Not surprisingly the Conestogo-Winterbourne Residents Association are endorsing Bonnie Bryant (Ward 3) and Todd Cowan (Mayor).

Thursday, October 21, 2010


For three years plus I've been struggling with this issue. During that time I have repeatedly raised the question at public CPAC meetings asking for comments or feedback from Pat McLean, Chair of CPAC, to the public in regards to a crucial meeting held at the University of Waterloo. All during this time PRIVATE technical meetings were going on discussing these issues (DNAPL). I have also commented here in the Advocate over the last several months. Today I am posting an e-mail that I sent yesterday to five current CPAC members and to the media.

Dear "Tim": Background: The 1991 M.O.E. Control Order orders "removal of DNAPL as a contaminant source." The Control Order also specifically names the locations of this DNAPL (RPW 5, 6, 7, 8). RPW means retention ponds west. DNAPL is dense non aqueous phase liquid. Dense means it has a density greater than water (1.0) and thus sinks. Non aqueous phase means although it's a liquid it doesn't immediately or readily dissolve in water (groundwater). CPAC, unanimously passed a Motion approving the following document written by myself, Susan Bryant and Henry Regier: "Request for Action July 2003". This document requested/demanded source removal of contaminants most particularily DNAPL including the same locations as the M.O.E. Control Order had both named and ordered. Since 2003 however , without any credible conflicting or contrary evidence being presented, I detected a wavering on the part of Susan and Pat. In December 2006, Susan advised me of a meeting with Dr. John Cherry and Dr. Beth Parker at the University of Waterloo to discuss DNAPL. These two are literally world renowned researchers and leading edge authors on the subject, as is the University of Waterloo Groundwater Research Institute. I was invited, as for years I had authored numerous critiques of CRA's DNAPL technical drivel & babble . I did this on behalf of APT, CPAC's Soil & Water sub-committee and the Elmira EH-Team (Rich Clausi, Henry Regier, Esther Thur). The meeting was for January ? 2007. Myself, Susan , Pat McLean and "independent" hydrogeologist, Wilf Ruland were invited. Wilf was a former student of Dr. Cherry and on numerous occasions Wilf had advised against removal, excavation or treatment of DNAPL which coincidentally has been Uniroyal's/CRA's position for years. I suspected ahead of time that I was being invited along in order to soften my position (and ostensibly CPAC's) on removal or destruction of DNAPL. Prior to the meeting Wilf made it clear that the professional opinion of Dr. Cherry and others years ago had been to let subsurface DNAPL lie, that attempted removal could be counter productive. WELL! Both Drs. Cherry and Parker made it absolutely clear that that position had been reversed through their efforts and research and that where at all possible, DNAPL should and must be removed from the subsurface. The Doctors provided us with numerous scholarly articles and reviews that they had authored in the last few years on the subject. Susan , Pat and Wilf all gave me these articles at the meeting as Wilf was too busy, Pat admitted then and now that she is technically incapable and Susan conceded my expertise. After the meeting on the way home (we drove together) those three were absolutely stunned by this reversal and I was ecstatic. I read all the articles and gave Susan regular updates as well as offerring them back to her for her perusal. She refused. OTHER THAN MYSELF, NOT A DAMNED WORD PUBLICLY TO CPAC OR ANYONE ELSE ABOUT THIS MEETING. Instead 8 months later Pat & Susan are demanding my resignation over my Appeal of an Ammonia Treatment Certificate of Approval. In hindsight that was a red herring . I was kicked off CPAC (with major help from Bill Strauss) AND kicked off the DNAPL technical committee and publicly at CPAC refused admittance to any meetings of the DNAPL technical committee. It is my belief that privately Pat, & Susan may have falsely advised CPAC members about this meeting at the U. of W. but publicly they won't say anything for fear I will publicly call them liars if they do so.
OD: The significance of this in regards to the overall cleanup of the Elmira Aquifer is incredible. There is subsurface DNAPL both on and off the Chemtura site and as long as it is unaddressed , we will never have drinking water from the Elmira Aquifer. The M.O.E.'s refusal to enforce their own Control Order is prima facie evidence of a "deal" and a coverup involving themselves and Chemtura.

I still haven't completely got the hang of when or if our local newspapers post their stories on line. Here is the link to the Elmira Independent's story, in their Friday Oct. 22/10 paper which came out today and which was posted on line yesterday. The title is "Candidates address issues at St. Jacobs meeting". This story is considerably more detailed than what I printed here two days ago and has numerous additional comments from the candidates. One comment from Mark Bauman is of interest in that he states " I would like to see the OMB avoided as much as possible". I believe this is a very accurate comment and one shared by all the Councillors. The problem is that it leads to way too many approvals by Council of developments and changes which are not in the citizens interests but in the intersts of those bringing proposals to Council. One last comment is required here. At the moment we have three OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) hearings on the horizon in Woolwich that I am aware of. They are the Safety-Kleen expansion in Breslau, the Hawk Ridge Homes development in Elmira and the Murray Group are appealing the Township's Interim Control Bylaw concerning gravel pit development around West Montrose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My hat is off to the organizers of last night's public meeting. My estimate is that at least 100 citizens were present to listen and ask questions of the three Mayoralty candidates and the three Ward 3 candidates. The two citizen groups organized to fight gravel pits in West Montrose and Conestogo heard what they wanted to hear from all candidates with the possible exception of Mayor Bill Strauss. I'm not voting for him myself yet still have to admire his directness.

Mayoralty candidate Todd Cowan was the first to bring up "the elephant in the room", namely Chemtura and their environmental impact on the Township, both past and present. Pat McLean surprised me with her comment that she "has no way of knowing whether Elmira will have clean water by 2028". This is the alleged time frame for the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifer and as Chair of CPAC, Pat McLean has encouraged concessions to Chemtura while endorsing their doomed "cleanup" plans.

Yours truly was able to clearly ask the following question of Pat McLean: " Three years ago plus, myself and the Chair of CPAC, Pat McLean, attended a groundbreaking meeting at the University of Waterloo with the preeminent world authorities on DNAPL, also known as dense chlorinated solvents. Will you please advise myself and the public why you have never brought the staggering results of this meeting to the public's attention ?" Pat was spared answering this question by the moderator despite calls from the audience for her to answer it.

This article and title are in today's Elmira Independent. I will post the link to it as soon as it comes on line. A former friend and colleague correctly commented that Uniroyal (Chemtura) have a wonderful sense of timing as well as the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This is often referred to as the Richard Nixon syndrome.
Here we have the Bio Fuel Citizens Committee fighting a proposed BIOgas plant in town, partially due to odours and lo and behold, just in the nick of time, Chemtura's odours are back to haunt us. As I mentioned in my post on Monday we have more citizens who were personally exposed, through inhalation, to Chemtura's release of BLE-25. The immediate sounding of the town siren, may or may not have avoided the exposure of these two young children to the toxic release.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Last evening with a turnout of perhaps fourty or fifty people we were treated to very short speeches plus a question and answer session. The three Mayoralty candidates as well as incumbent Mark Bauman and challenger Eric Schwindt were present. Yours truly over the evening was able to ask three questions, all of an environmental nature. The first question to Todd Cowan was whether there was a way for Woolwich Township to have their cake and eat it. In other words could we benefit from this green energy plan (Biogas) without the negative consequences to our citizens. Todd said yes but that it meant lobbying Queen's Park for an approval to relocate the plant further away from nearby homes. Surprisingly to me , Pat McLean jumped on the same answer as Todd whereas Mayor Bill Strauss answered yes that Woolwich could benefit and avoid negative consequences but I didn't hear him specifically say that he would lobby to have the proposed Biogas plant moved.

My second question initially to Councillor Mark Bauman related to the possible/probable O.M.B. hearing around the Safety- Kleen expansion in Breslau. Councillor Bauman was surprised that it could be going to the O.M.B., which in turn surprised me. Regardless Mark Bauman reiterated his statement at Woolwich Council that he would not support building on contaminated land. Challenger Eric Schwindt agreed as did the three Mayoralty candidates, Strauss, Mclean and Cowan.

My third question was in regards to the proposed Hawk Ridge Homes development in the old apple orchard on Union St. in Elmira, across from Sulco Chemical and Chemtura (Uniroyal). Here the professional politicians showed their expertise by deflecting my question as to whether the Council many years ago should have removed the residential zoning as per Provincial guidelines around industrial and chemical facilities. Starting with Mark Bauman, followed by Pat McLean they ignored confirming my assertion that indeed the province had provided this direction and instead deflected the blame onto both the Region of Waterloo and as well onto local citizens whom they claim should have spoken up at the time the Regional Official Plan was being updated. I give them full marks for brass at least. It is my opinion that for some strange reason the Council of the time , which would have included Bill Strauss and Pat McLean missed the boat on removing the residential zoning next to Chemtura, Sulco etc. Pat McLean's excuse that there were homes further west (Arthur St. direction) that wanted residential zoning to avoid industrial zoning and hence more industry seems suspect. A buffer could consist of commercial or agricultural zoning but not residential.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The big issues at this public meeting this morning in Council Chambers were the return of FUMIGATIONS to Elmira and the call for a PUBLIC INQUIRY in regards to the M.O.E. coverup and sweetheart deal with Chemtura.

They say one should not laugh at one's own jokes but this was truly precious. Two new M.O.E. employees from the Guelph District Office, including the District Officer, repeatedly kept advising CPAC members that if they wanted certain data, already promised, that they would have to fill out all the forms and submit formal FOI (freedom of information) requests. Ten minutes later when I advised that I had all the old, original Varnicolor reports dealing with Lot 91 and 62 Union St., I was asked by these same M.O.E. folks if I would mind sharing my reports with them. My response was "Absolutely, but of course you'll have to fill out all the forms first and submit a formal FOI request to me.". CPAC burst out laughing and hopefully these M.O.E. personnel learned a little lesson in what goes around, comes around.

Shannon Purves Smith spoke eloquently in regards to Chemtura fumigations occurring both this summer and on the Thanksgiving weekend. Also a gentleman (Brent) spoke of his concerns regarding the exposure of his two children to Chemtura's release of BLE-25 last month. New CPAC members, Ken Driedger and Sandra Bair also blasted the M.O.E. for their poor response to information requested months ago by CPAC.

The request/comment that a Public Inquiry was needed was put forth by yours truly. This PUBLIC INQUIRY is in regards to the twenty year coverup and sweetheart deal between the Ontario M.O.E. and Chemtura. This coverup has resulted in an ongoing scam of the public by advising them that their destroyed Elmira Aquifer will be restored by the year 2028. Chemtura in exchange for non enforcement of an ordered cleanup (DNAPL etc.) accepted full responsibility for this destruction of the Elmira Aquifer. In reality Nutrite (Yara), Varnicolor Chemical and probably either Borg Textiles or Sanyo Canada also assisted.

I received a letter this morning that the Ontario Municipal Board will schedule a 1 day Mediation Meeting concerning my (complaint, appeal, deferral??) of this Official Plan Amendment that would permit the expansion of the Safety-Kleen site onto contaminated land (formerly Forwell Sand & Gravel). I will submit to the Board all dates that I am available between November and February inclusive.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I received these minutes last evening. That's right, going on two months later! This by the way is the first public CPAC meeting that I've missed literally in years. They will be discussed in about 44 hours from now at the Monday morning 9 am. public CPAC meeting. One this is outrageous to take two months to prepare these minutes and secondly these 9 am. meetings are outrageous as they effectively block normal working people from attending.

My absence permitted the most ridiculous and idiotic discussion possible concerning Varnicolor Chemical. Talk about the blind leading the blind. The errors, inaccuracies and falsehoods are rampant throughout these minutes which are discussing chemicals found or not on the Varnicolor sites. (Lot 91 & 62 Union St.) The information provided by the M.O.E. as reported in these minutes is self serving and the fact that it wasn't corrected immediately is due as much to ignorance as it is to maintaining the twenty year plus coverup of other sources of contamination to the Elmira aquifer.

This article was also in yesterday's K-W Record. It shouldn't be a surprise as sewage treatment plants are designed to treat just that: sewage. Hence cleaning products, antibiotics, perfumes and bisphenol A all are discharged into our waterways both for the "benefit" of the aquatic life and then for our benefit as we draw water for drinking purposes.

This encouraging headline is courtesy of Dr. Gifford-Jones in yesterday's K-W Record. This article makes it clear that whether rural well water , urban wells or urban treated water from rivers and lakes , we are in trouble. From disinfection (chlorination) byproducts to nitrates, pharmaceutical products, solvents and bacteria our drinking water is under attack.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Tomorrow's Woolwich Observer has a Letter to the Editor by Bryce Tettman titled "No excuse for lack of failsafes at Chemtura. This letter slams Chemtura for their record of spills and discharges , just over the last seven years alone. Interestingly enough he also suggests that the Biogas plant "should be fine as long as it is properly implemented. What will truly dictate this is how well the facility is designed and operated." Mr. Tettman last sentence is as follows: "But we as a community should also pass this message along to facilities that repeatedly cause problems like this: shape up or shut down." While I agree with Mr. Tettman's sentiments about shutting down, therein lies the rub. The Elmira community from past harsh experience knows only too well that once a stinky, unhealthy industry is up and running in town, it's almost impossible to either shut them down or to get them to clean up. In my opinion the strong, organized opposition from the citizens committee (BFCC) is also a strong indictment of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The M.O.E.'s credibility in regards to controlling and improving environmental issues including air is essentially nil. It's a whole lot more productive and effective to nip problems in the bud than wait until they are literally in your face and nose.

Tomorrow's Woolwich Observer (out today) has two articles and one Letter To The Editor about the spill from 2 1/2 weeks ago. These I will provide a link to probably tomorrow when they go online. The first article (front page) "Cause of chemical release still unknown" describes what I've formerly referred to as a rupture disc. Chemtura are now referring to it as a relief valve. Regardless Chemtura are finally acknowledging that this technolgy can and should be improved, as any system which intentionally allows toxins to escape to the natural environment, is hardly the best or ideal solution.

The second article titled "Cleanup can be a thankless task" gives details on the cleanup crews employed by Winmar Inc. Also their major cleaner is called Citrusolve and appears to be working well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Wow, that title undoubtedly will tee off the right wingers among us. Chuck Kuepfer of the Elmira Independent uses it in his column where he critiques the documentary film Dystopia. This film was produced by Dr. Garry Potter, a professor at Wilfred Laurier University. Chuck points out a number of economic, social and environmental issues which it appears rather than being solved by capitolism, in fact have been exacerbated by it.

Again in yesterday's Independent we have this announcement that the candidates from Wards 2 and 3 will be debating on Monday October 18, 7 pm. The location is the Woolwich Community Hall in St. Jacobs.

As per yesterday's Elmira Independent page 9, there will be a debate for Ward 3 candidates as well as mayoral candidates on Oct.19 8- 9:30 pm. at Foundation Christian School (formerly Winterbourne Public School) in Winterbourne. This debate is jointly being presented courtesy of Bridgekeepers and the Conestogo- Winterbourne Residents' Assoc.. Obviously a major issue up for discussion and debate will be three different gravel pit applications and or expansions.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

APOLOGIES Today's Elmira Independent gives us the following story: "Apologies offered by Chemtura, in wake of chemical spill". It is difficult to aggressively attack any wrongdoer who both apologizes and secondly makes restitution to the best of their ability. It would be easy for me to be forgiving as I personally did not suffer any health or property damage directly related to this spill.

This most recent article has jogged my memory in regards to a timing issue. The mutually agreed upon story is that Chemtura waited 4 to 4 1/2 hours before notifying the Township. Today's article mentioned that the Township began to notify residents through the Community Alert Network (CAN), seven hours after the spill, which would be in the 10 pm. and later range. HMM! So even after they were allegedly notified (approx. 7:30 pm.), the Township of Woolwich then waited ANOTHER 2 1/2 hours before activating the CAN system? SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF WOOLWICH here. Once again are the authorities and Chemtura making private agreements for the purpose of misleading Woolwich citizens?

The front page of today's K-W Record "Waterloo mayoral hopefuls face off" tells us about last night's debate. Incumbent Brenda Halloran is the only mayoral hopeful in favour of fluoridation. Her quote bothers me: "...It's all controlled. It follows strict procedures....I have faith in the system." I find her opinion somewhat ironic as Ms. Halloran came to public office as a result of her trials and tribulations in regards to the Ralgreen Cres. scandal. This scandal clearly showed both the incompetence of public officials and even more importantly their nastiness and resistance to doing the right thing once their incompetence had been exposed. Her three challengers all oppose mandatory Fluoridation although for different reasons.

Woolwich Township residents have a stake in this upcoming Referendum. We are on the receiving end of this forced chemical addition to our drinking water as our water comes up a pipeline from Waterloo. My position is that we should be removing man made chemicals from our drinking water, not adding to them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) are supposed to be all about communication with the public. What a pathetic joke. I personally have been a member of the public since their inception and I've been a voting member of CPAC as well, during those periods when they were either honestly pro the public interests or at least giving that appearance.

I have given them the courtesy of written comments presented as a delegation to their public meetings held in Council Chambers; four times during 2009 and another four times during 2010. Furthermore again in writing I have addressed CPAC on another half dozen occasions with my comments in regards to technical reports submitted to them by CRA, consultants to Chemtura. Henry Regier has also written and distributed his comments on three occasions during this time. To date their replies whether verbal or in writing have been essentially non existent.
The Ontario M.O.E. have been avoiding my questions and requests for information for years and years. Clearly CPAC have learned by example .

Monday, October 11, 2010


Next Monday October 18/10 at 9 am. in the Woolwich Council Chambers, there will be the last CPAC meeting prior to the Municipal Election. This is a risky proposition suggesting this because Chair Pat McLean has a history of either unilaterally or bilaterally cancelling these meetings at the last minute when it suits her own purposes and agenda. We will see this time. Pat is a master of professing competence and confidence in "process" while manipulating it to her political advantage.

If the meeting runs, clearly Chemtura's latest "OOPS" will be on the Agenda . Also yours truly will have my usual Delegation at the beginning of the meeting. Expect Susan Bryant & Ron Ormson to deliver accolades in regards to Pat's alleged successes and dedication to the environment. Unfortunately these accolades will not be accurate.

As per last Wednesday's Elmira Independent, the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Puslinch Township of Wellington County. "Up to date information on Emerald A B is on the County of Wellington's website: " .

As per last Wednesday's Elmira Independent (page 15) the warning signs have been removed advising people to be cautious in regards to this bacteria produced by blue green algae.
These algae blooms may be a natural phenomenon but they are exacerbated by both heat (global warming) and by nutrients from farm runoff in the water.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


This letter by current Councillor Sandy Shantz is an appeal for a more civilized approach to the disagreement in the community in regards to the Biogas proposal. It was published in both the Independent and the Observer. It is on page 15 in this week's
Woolwich Observer. I'm personally having difficulties interpreting Sandy's remarks. Maybe I'm overthinking things so I'll leave it to you the readers' to decide how much or how little you agree with her opinion.

There will be an Open House with displays and Regional staff to answer questions this Wednesday October 13 at the Woolwich memorail centre, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. For more information call 519-883-5100. These green bins will be for food wastes including meats, bones and more. This is excellent because meats etc. are not recommended for composting. My initial guess is that they will be going to a Biogas facility for power generation.
Hmm interesting!

Friday, October 8, 2010


There has been an ongoing discussion among a few commenters including myself over at the Cambridge Advocate website in regards to the proposed housing subdivision across from Chemtura here in Elmira. Feel free to skip the brief story at the start that is already posted here (yesterday) and check out the excellent information in regards to planning, zoning, buffer zones for heavy industry and the history of the former apple orchard and of Uniroyal (Chemtura).

This is the front page title of today's (actually Oct 9/10) Woolwich Observer. This story actually completely covers the first two pages of the paper. For me I am glad to fianlly see confirmation of three facts which I had previously advised Elmira and Woolwich residents of. Firstly on October 2 here in the Advocate I advised residents that the plume had actually travelled 1.5 km from the Chemtura plant. This the Observer notes on page one. Secondly on page two the Observer advises us that the cause of the fugitive emissions was an over pressurized vessel that had a "built in relief device" (rupture disc), designed to allow these emissions to vent to the atmosphere to avoid destroyng the vessel. This I advised my readers about on September 29. Finally in a Letter to the Editer by Kari Raymer, the information in regards to EDSS football players being exposed to these fumes has been published in print. This fact I also advised Advocate readers of on September 29.

This I believe is the strength of multiple sources and multiple modes of communication. I still hope that any future discussion surrounding this event includes an improved technical method of avoiding dangerous explosions of pressure vessels while NOT releasing their contents to the natural environment for the "enjoyment" of the neighbours.

This is the title of Louisa D'Amato's article in today's K-W Record. She briefly describes the pros and cons and then advises us that two of the Mayoral candidates for Waterloo are against Fluoridation and the other two are not taking a position. I appreciate the position of the two candidates who have come out against mandatory Fluoridation of our drinking water but the question which nobody really wants to address is the politics behind the Yes side in this debate. If this was either a Health issue or an issue of civil rights, there wouldn't be a leg to stand on for the Yes side. You don't force people to ingest foreign substances against their will (civil rights) nor do you force them to ingest substances which are controversial and potentially harmful at concentrations above .7 mg/l according to a recent Health Canada report (Health). This is contrary to the Precautionary Principle.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


First off my apologies to Jeff Outhit and the K-W Record. You guys are indeed doing your jobs. Two days ago I suggested that you were negligent in not reporting my question at the Regional Chair debate regarding Chair Ken Seiling and the Hawk Ridge Homes development in Elmira. Well you've come through today by your story in the Local section
"Homes should not be built next to chemical plant, critics say." Two points to consider: the critics include CPAC, myself, Chemtura. Sulco and others. Secondly whether or not Ken Seiling doesn't vote in the future at Regional Council, is probably moot. The development, I believe is long past Regional purvue (been O.K'd). It's at the Municipal (Township) level and even there might be bypassed , presumably in favour of the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.), as this article refers to a provincial tribunal.

Finally something in writing from the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.) in respect of Official Plan Amendment #15 (O.P.A. #15) and the Safety-Kleen expansion in Breslau. First item of interest is that there is absolutely no request for money upfront. Please refer back to my post of September 30/10 regarding this phone call request for funds. This letter I received has no written signature whatsoever on it, merely the typed name Virginia Domondon (Case Management Administrative Assistant). This letter states "Parties are encouraged to explore whether the case before the Board and the issues in dispute are matters that may benefit from the assistance of a mediation meeting conducted by a Member of the Board." I am not inexperienced in the strategyms used by unethical people. The last "mediation meeting" I went to Chaired by allegedly independent hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland, dealing with an appeal of Chemtura's proposed Ammonia Treatment System, was a farce. Nevertheless I as always will give the benefit of the doubt, in regards to sincerity, until it is proven otherwise. Therefore today I will be both phoning and faxing my agreement to this suggested Mediation. Unlike the O.M.B. , apparently, I will be putting my position in writing and I will be signing it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I enjoy receiving news from multiple sources. Even though my first phone call was received a week ago Monday evening from a local person, nevertheless I immediately read today's Elmira Independent and learned two more tidbits regarding Chemtura's spill of last week. Also of course I enjoyed the Woolwich Obsever's news and views on the same subject. On page 6 Gail Martin points out that Woolwich Township expanded the call area
(Community Alert Network) the next day "after it was determined that the release may have spread further than initially expected." Hmmm! Woolwich Township certainly had the right to criticize Chemtura for their late notice to the Township but I hope further thought and consideration also goes into this point for future emergencies. Better to err on the side of caution and call too many than too few.
The second point on the first page deals with the direction the plume took. It was WSW
(west south-west). This is not the usual wind direction . The majority of the time the wind blows from west to east. This is precisely why Elmira's mini chemical valley is on the east side of town in order to blow fugitive emissions out of town. The $64,000 question for me is how many other air releases have Chemtura had that nobody but a few chickens, pigs or cattle know about heading towards the West Montrose direction?

The following posts are from the Cambridge Advocate. agm is my moniker over there. Posts #5, 6, 7, 8 deal with conflict of interest legislation. I am reasonably confident that I wouldn't be so concerned about either a conflict of interest or undue influence if the proposed housing development was your usual mundane non controversial one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I attended the debate held last night at the K-W Record building in downtown Kitchener. It was a surprise on many fronts. Today's Record carrys the front page story " Trains endorsed at debate". In my humble opinion, Robert Milligan did a wonderful job and although Ken Seiling with more than a quarter century of political experience may have been slightly more polished, he lost ground on at least two occasions. Similarily in my opinion the K-W Record also lost ground on their lack of reporting these two incidents, which were clearly seen and heard by both the public present and the TV and radio in attendance. First off Robert Milligan in contrast to Seiling, clearly came out against Fluoridation, which was reported by the Record. However what they didn't report was Milligan's accurate comments that Fluoridation was being used as a cheap disposal method of toxic waste. The Record also didn't report Ken Seiling's overeaction and angry defence of the Medical Officer of Health. He referred to Milligan's comments as an attack on Dr. Liana Nolan. The second incident concerned yours truly and was not reported at all by the Record. My post yesterday, here in the Advocate, described a possible conflict of interest involving Ken Seiling. While last night I very carefully worded my question to Regional Chairman Seiling thusly: "Would you care to comment on the appearance of a potential conflict of interest involving a controversial housing development in Elmira referred to as Hawk Ridge Homes and yourself." Not only was my question and Mr Seiling's response ignored but also unreported was Ken Seiling's public threat of legal action if I repeated this question. This is negligent by the Record particularily as in his response Ken Seiling angrily confirmed the major facts of this situation, namely that yes the property in question had been owned by his mother(in law?) for a long period of time and that Regional staff had been involved in planning issues around this highly controversial and highly protested development. The appearance, at the least, is that our Regional Chair has a financial interest in the outcome of a proposed housing development that has been worked on and commented on by Regional Staff. Is there conflict of interest legislation relevant to this situation and was it followed to the letter?

Today's K-W Record gives us this total (4200 kg) weight of product which under pressure went up their stack and was released into the natural environment.The company's hotline for information about this spill is 519-669-1671 ext.313.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Back on both July 5 & 6 , I carried stories here about the Hawk Ridge Development on Union St. across from First St. These stories focused on technical reports (groundwater) as well as the basic horrible location for this proposed development. Finally the July 6 story also mentioned that I had received verbal information that this site (apple orchard) had been owned for along time by Regional Chair, Ken Seiling's, mother. It is my understanding that she has left us and this site was sold by her heirs to the developers. Here is where I believe things get sticky. The spokespersons for this development have at a public meeting indicated that they bought this site in good faith and that they had received clearance (approval?) at the Regional level and that all that was left was the go ahead at the municipal (township) level. Really? Who at the Regional level is giving this go ahead to develop residential housing surrounded by chemical companies, with a long history of toxic air and groundwater emissions? Just as importantly is this person(s) making this poor decision independently of the office of the Regional Chair, who apparently has a strong financial interest in this scheme? These questions deserve honest answers now.

Well this is interesting. This photograph and comments are at the top of page 2 of this weeks Woolwich Observer. Apparently they are endorsing Cowan for Mayor as well as councillor hopeful Bonnie Bryant "for their vocal opposition to the proposed Hunsberger gravel pit."

Apparently this story has "legs". This is an expression which indicates that a story will have a number of followups. Today's K-W Record , on the front page of the local section carries the above title. I hate to be a skeptic but is this due primarily to the municipal election on October 25? Are the ongoing and apparently never ending Chemtura (Uniroyal) spills only news at election time? David Ash the former General Manager at Chemtura must be laughing his head off. It was generally felt that his job was "consolidated" due to the last fire on his watch and yet these problems continue. One of the issues in today's article which got my attention was voiced by a nearby resident ".. who runs a child-care centre from her home,(and)is worried about letting the children out to play in the yard or rake up leaves."

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The news is still changing somewhat in regards to Chemtura's spill last Monday afternoon. Firstly here's what isn't public yet: Dwight Este (Chemtura) in a private communication has advised a specific Health and Safety Officer that the plume travelled 1.5 km in a south-west direction. The first reports stated 300 metres and later ones 600 metres. Clearly 1500 metres (1.5 km) goes almost to the south end of Elmira. Secondly the following schools will be inspected this Monday for damage namely EDSS, John Mahood and Park Manor. Thirdly the list of possible symptoms has been expanded to skin, eye. respiratory AND gastrointestinal irritation.

Today's Woolwich Observer has extensive coverage of the spill including both an Editorial and an excellent cartoon. Until one has been on the receiving end of an Observer cartoon, one can't really appreciate the full force of their humour. I was on the receiving end a couple of years ago and unlike the recent women public school teachers and their Principal, I didn't whine and carry on like a spolied five year old.

Chemtura are promising that the findings of their ongoing investigation into the incident will be shared with the public and media. Sharing with CPAC in a private meeting is NOT sharing with the public. At a minimum this information should be presented at the upcoming PUBLIC CPAC meeting on Monday October 18/10 in the Council Chambers. Of course the normal timing of this meeting is for the convenience of the politicians, government employees, self employed and retired, namely 9 am. Perhaps an evening meeting as I've been asking for, for years, would be more appropriate.

Lastly what I am looking for at this upcoming alleged full disclosure meeting is a technical alternative to releasing Chemtura's problem chemical reactions into the natural environment, to the detriment of all the residents of Elmira.

Friday, October 1, 2010


An excellent article in Wednesday's Elmira Independent titled "Proposed biogas plant "is not a dump" ". This article does what it should in that it gives both sides and both opinions on this local environmental issue. Chuck Martin, one of the proponents spoke at the Woolwich Memorial Centre last Wednesday and gave his opinions and facts on the proposal. In response were Michael Purves-Smith, Jerry Heideburt and others. Most interesting to me was the previous page in the newspaper (pg.5), namely the Opinion page . Here Gail Martin ,editor, gave her opinion "The sky is not falling". Gail while acknowledging the legitimacy of residents concerns regarding odours and while also expressing her concerns around traffic issues, has clearly indicated her opinion, that based on the facts she has seen and heard, that odours will not be a problem. I have considerable respect for Gail's opinions and herself personally. Nevertheless I must still lean to the contrary here. Yes, I too have recently received information on another operating biogas plant in Ontario, which apparently does not have odour issues or problems. For me it is the sum of the whole, and I'm personally tired of Elmira constantly being on the receiving end of allegedly green businesses (recycling/chemical etc.) whose downside is borne on the backs of the residents.

Again in last Wednesday's Elmira Independent there was a story titled "Local company launches Greenest School Contest". Now I know that companys like Ciba-Geigy (Novartis) and others with rock solid polluter credentials sponser things like groundwater festivals etc. but two wrongs don't make a right. Capitol Paving (think gravel pit beside the West Montrose Covered bridge) are promoting and sponsering this contest. This is greenwashing at it's most blatant and is using chidren to improve their corporate image. Shame on Capitol Paving and just as much shame on the Waterloo Region District School Board. For a paltry $6,000 bribe to the school you have sold out. SHAME!

Shocking isn't it? However those such as myself who are willing and able to criticize should also on occasion, when warranted, be willing to praise. Last Wednesday's Elmira Independent advised us that the Region has awarded a $3 million dollar tender for upgrades at the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. Well done!