Monday, January 31, 2011


Saturday's K-W Record carried an article titled "Nestle Water stands by criticism of water group". Apparently Nestle Waters wrote a lettter to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, critical of a local environmental group in Guelph known as the Wellington Water Watchers. Oh this is so surprising. Does anyone think that corporate Canada or U.S. are going to be writing letters complimentary of environmental watchdogs? When this does happen as it occasionally does, it's because the environmental group are either totally co-opted or they've mistepped publicly and given the corporate polluter some free public relations.

In this case Nestle Waters have suggested that Wellington Water Watchers are "attempting to undermine public confidence in the Province's stewardship of water". Really and on what basis would that be possible? Perhaps in regards to deaths in Walkerton, perhaps based on the destruction of the Elmira drinking water aquifer or perhaps because of the cancers, illnesses and deaths in the Bishop St. community in Cambridge, courtesy of Trichloroethylene contamination. Perhaps even because of the financial exploitation of a dwindling essential resource such as water. It is dwindling both in security of supply and in quality and to date no government seems willing to reverse that trend.

As far as the nitpicking criticism by Nestle goes it's pretty small potatoes. It's not "nice" but expect in the future full scale public relations campaigns by industry in favour of the Ministry of the Environment and at the expense of either groups or individuals who they perceive as being threatening to their bottom line.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


This small article is on page 3 of today's Woolwich Observer. These grants are under the stewardship of the (GRCA) Grand River Conservation Authority and are to be used on properties near municipal wells and surface water intakes to drinking water systems. Capping of unused wells as well as upgrades to active wells to make them less susceptible to surface contamantion is part of the program. Clearly this would have been helpful a decade ago in Walkerton when Well 5 was contaminated from manure.

Friday, January 28, 2011


This is the title in "From the Editor" column in tomorrow's Woolwich Observer (pg. 12) Steve Kannon points out the relationship between global warming and water shortages that will result from it. He also quotes Donald Burn a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Burn seems to favour a pipeline to one of the Great Lakes as we continue to grow and because he feels our groundwater supplies are almost maxed out. Finally Dr. Burns feels that Canada as a whole will experience both more floods and droughts due to global warming and that Waterloo region will not be exempt from these impacts. Perhaps the biggest impact of Steve's article is the now obvious truism that we can no longer take water for granted. Secondly I would suggest that our groundwater can be maxed out both due to quantity as well as quality. We must continue to strive to restore our local groundwater here in Elmira to drinking standards or better.

The February 2011 edition of the Ontario Anglers and Hunters magazine reports that Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) have added their voice to concerns around Ontario's Green Energy Act. They believe that the process avoiding local input is flawed and have concerns that wind turbines will indirectly have negative effects on waterfowl. Furthermore they believe that there will also be negative effects "to butterflies, bats, raptors, species at risk and fisheries." Apparently direct effects such as bird kills are also under debate as a new higher threshold regarding "acceptable bird kills" is being considered.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Exactly three weeks ago (Jan. 6/11) I posted here in the Elmira Advocate a very short, concise item about a sucessful mediation meeting between Safety-Kleen, the Ontario Municipal Board, Woolwich Township, the Region of Waterloo and yours truly. Last Friday I received a letter from the O.M.B. in regards to a Settlement Hearing By Teleconference scheduled for Friday February 25, 2011. Also I received an e-mail from the Region of Waterloo with a Draft of the Minutes of Settlement . Monday of this week I replied by phone to the Region with a couple of suggested minor changes to the Minutes of Settlement. These essentially consisted of my receiving the promised and available reports from the Township or Safety-Kleen, sooner rather than later. Afterall it's already been three weeks since they were promised. Now the Region of Waterloo are on the ball and my suggested revisions were forwarded to the other parties the same day (Monday). As of early this morning I do not yet know if they are acceptable however my position is that if you make a promise to supply an available document, essentially that means timewise as soon as possible. I am still confident that this proposed Settlement with the O.M.B. regarding Official Plan Amendment # 15 is for the best, provided the Settlement terms are complied with forthwith or as soon as humanly possible.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Yesterday's K-W Record carrys the following story "Court hears risks of wind turbines". Once again it appears that NIMBY is rearing it's ugly head. Contrary to the acronym: Not In My Backyard I believe a more appropriate acronym would be NIMBY FIYBY which stands for Not In My Backyard Fine In Your Backyard. This has long seemed to be the attitude of authorities when siting landfills, hazardous waste sites, stinky industries and as well, wind turbines. Perhaps a Uniroyal Chemical on one side of the Ontario legislature and a wind farm on the other side might give our politicians an attitude adjustment. The following statements concern me: "...there is no credible evidence to suggest the turbines negatively affect health" and "... a World Health organization found no evidence that night noise below 40 decibels is harmful to health." My two concerns are the belief that the victims are supposed to be providing credible or scientific proof to the authorities and the statement regarding night noise. Most municipalities have noise by-laws, especially at night, specifically to discourage night noise while people are trying to sleep. Does anyone seriously think that disrupted sleep from noise won't affect health? Secondly we pay our authorities (politicians) to protect and take care of us. Are we then expected to pay for scientific studies on top of taxes to protect us? That is the very well paid job of these authorities in the first place. Sacrificing the rights of a minority for the benefit of a larger group is NOT what democracy is about. People have a right to their rest and their health.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


As per last Saturday's Woolwich Observer (pg.5), the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing are attempting to waterdown provisions in the Region of Waterloo's new planning document.The Region are attempting to make the requirements more stringent in regards to below the water table extraction of aggregate. Woolwich Township are also attempting to stiffen requirements around aggregate extraction courtesy of Councillor Bonnie Bryant. She would like three new criteria considered namely setback from settlement areas, financial impact on surrounding properties and an assessment of contaminants on sites proposed for gravel operations. Mayor Todd Cowan stated that these steps "... don't necessarily reflect an anti-gravel stance, but rather a determination to protect the interests of the township and its residents." Well it's about time that our local politicians have got it right. They are supposed to be working for our benefit and it's a nice change to see that happening.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Well, once again I may have to refocus my understanding and opinions of certain municipal politicians. I had always felt that Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr was a member of the good old boys network, very happy with the status quo and many of it's negative effects on the rest of us. Perhaps not according to today's K-W Record article titled "Planning Act loophole gives developers upper hand, Zehr says". I'm not surprised that he knows that the Planning Act is problematic, I'm surprised that he has a problem with that fact.

New Councillor Yvonne Fernandes is rightly upset that "...the question of whether development should even be allowed in the area was never debated and discussed in public meetings". The area in question is Doon South and it consists of woodlots, marshes, streams, ponds and recharge areas for aquifers that supply drinking water. This vital debate is completely behind closed doors courtesy of the Planning Act and the Ontario Municipal Board. Transparency and acountability are nil and this is exactly why we have been and continue to lose wildlife habitat, aquifer recharge areas and overall environmental sustainability continues to be comprimised.

This is not a loophole as Mayor Zehr suggests. This is intentional and it is the reward developers receive for ongoing political donations. Inherently flawed legislation is how criminals who despoil all our environments avoid prosecution and jail. This is why we have lost democracy. The financial control of our politicians and political processes long ago relegated politicains to the role of hockey players. They must stickhandle between public outrage and hence electoral losses and keeping their supporters happy and on board. The fact that their supporters are a tiny minority in numbers is made up for by their political and financial influence. This is what democracy has become and it is reprehensible.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


This is the monthly, optimistically titled "Progress Report" produced by Conestoga Rovers (CRA) on behalf of Chemtura. For the second month in a row, offsite pumping wells W3 & W4 are pumping well below their required modelled rates in order to allegedly achieve a cleanup of the Elmira Aquifer by 2028. For those of us who don't believe that this is possible even when they achieve their own pumping rate targets, then clearly the situation merely deteriorates further when they can't achieve even that. The Effluent Objectives of the combined groundwater collection and treatment system were exceeded by NMOR (nitrosomorpholine) and 1,1 dichloroethane. Hence these chemicals were found in the discharge to Canagagigue creek. Similarily NMOR and BEHP (bis ethylhexyl phthalate) were found above surface water Objectives directly in the Canagagigue Creek. The only surprising item to me is CRA's inability to hide these discharge failures better. The on-site pumping rates were better than the off-site and hence the limited on-site containment they are designed to accomplish was met. I am confident that the day will come when Elmira will be the showplace for Hydraulic Containment. This will be ground zero for all the other contaminated sites across Canada. Here I hope is where the failure of this technology as a permanent fix will finally be written in stone. Thank You Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers.

Friday, January 21, 2011


"DNAPL (also D-NAPL) is an acronym for Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid and describes a liquid (which may contain more than one compound) which has a specific gravity greater than 1.0, forms a separate phase in water and whose solubility in water is not infinite."

The specific gravity greater than one means that it is heavier than water and thus unlike oils, DNAPLS sink through surface and groundwater until they find a less permeable surface to rest upon.

The various Control Orders and Amending Orders issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment upon Uniroyal Chemical (Chemtura) all state that DNAPL must be eliminated as a contaminant source by December 31, 1992. This has not happened although there has been a deluge of technical reports by Chemtura's consultants constantly minimizing the presence and environmental effect of DNAPLS. These reports in my opinion share a common trait and that is that the technical data including groundwater monitoring all support the knowledge and understanding that Free Phase DNAPL exists in the subsurface in the former operating ponds namely RPW5, 6, 7, 8. These reports also generally come to conclusions and reccommendations which are counter to their own data. Two of the more recent publicly distributed reports are the August 2007 and April 18, 2007 reports. As per the allegedly legally binding Control Orders, until DNAPLS are removed as a contaminant source they will continue to contaminate our drinking water aquifers. This issue and the way it's been handled in private meetings with Chemtura, by CPAC over a period of many years, was the final straw in my complete break with the old CPAC. Even after I was initially given the boot by the old Woolwich Council from CPAC, I could not bring myself to believe that CPAC were co-opted. Hard critical reflection, including self criticism for blind loyalty has opened my eyes to the obvious. The old CPAC have long failed the DUCK TEST. If it quacks like a duck, if it waddles like a duck and if it looks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Both the DNAPL failure and CPAC's ongoing approval of neverending phoney "investigations" around it, combined with CPAC's refusal to honestly communicate publicly as to what they are doing about it, have convinced me. Some of them are co-opted and have been so for years.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Do join together. There is strength in numbers.
Do not delegate all responsibility/authority to only one or two members. Disaster lies in this route.
Do demand accountability and transparency of the other stakeholders such as M.O.E., local government etc..
Demand twice as much accountability and transparency from your own members. Outside dishonest forces can damage your group but inside dishonest forces can tear you apart.

The standard operating procedure for dishonest forces is mock or psuedo public consultation. The ONLY way they will agree to and participate in it is if they've got it rigged to start with. Why do you think Uniroyal/Chemtura came back to the CPAC table in 2000 after storming out a year earlier? They stormed out over criticism of their unacceptable air emissions particularily affecting the Duke St. residents. The CPAC Chair in private discussions convinced them that CPAC would be a happier place for them. At the time as a CPAC member I questioned why concessions or negotiations were necessary to bring them back. Why do you think since that time both Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment have publicly stated that CPAC is one of the best and most knowledgable public advisory committees in the province? Do you really think it's because CPAC have held their feet to the fire? I don't think so. Here is my prediction. Within six months of the first public CPAC meeting in 2011, Chemtura will either threaten to walk out or will do so. This for me will be a strong indication that we are on the right track to actually clean up Elmira and restore our drinking water aquifers. Chemtura will come back but this time without CPAC selling the farm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This article is in today's Elmira Independent. While I tend to disagree with some of the opinions expressed, I do so with the utmost respect. This respect however, for fear of being called a hypocrite, extends only to the position and opinions of Gail Martin, editor and Todd Cowan, Mayor. I am also in a quandry as to whether it is appropriate or not to reproduce here a letter to the editor, which I've just sent in a few minutes ago and thus it clearly isn't published yet. If the purpose of a Letter to the Editor is to communicate with the general public via newspaper and if the purpose of the Elmira Advocate is also to communicate to the public albeit via the Internet, then here goes. That being said I do extend apologies to the Independent if this is somehow disrespectful. January 19, 2011


Thank you Elmira Independent for raising a concern in today’s edition around the reappointing of a committee of Council, namely CPAC or Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. Gail Martin ‘s article is well balanced with comments and quotes from former Chair Pat McLean , from long time member Susan Bryant and from our new Mayor, Todd Cowan.
Personally I found the reliance on “continuity and knowledge” espoused by Pat McLean to be a little strange. Afterall it was Pat who led the charge three years ago to remove yours truly from CPAC. No one including the Ministry of the Environment have ever denied that yours truly through sheer hard work has informed himself on the groundwater issues and technical details far beyond any other private citizen on that committee. So much for “continuity and knowledge “ being important to Pat. Quoting Gail Martin’s Editorial , she is concerned that “…councilors are seriously considering removing key members of CPAC… - for reasons that remain unclear.” Respectfully Gail Martin made a similar comment three years ago when I was removed by Woolwich Council and she was correct. The smokescreen produced then by Pat and Susan was that they couldn’t work with me because I appealed a Certificate of Approval which Susan , hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland and after the fact Conestoga Rovers & Assoc. all admitted was using inappropriate monitoring wells. Gail Martin’s concerns and comments are all honestly presented. Let me assist with my opinion as to what the “…reasons that remain unclear “ might be.
Susan Bryant says “We’ve got work to do… and it needs to go forward.” Some examples of CPAC’s “work” include… sitting on a DNAPL technical sub-committee for the last six years. Also sitting on a sub-committee dealing with a Comprehensive Long range plan (CLERP) allegedly dealing with the long term cleanup of the site, since at least 2003. Neither of these sub-committees routinely report back at the public CPAC meetings.
The granting of financial concessions to Chemtura via agreeing to reductions in monitoring of groundwater wells. These reductions include less frequent monitoring of contaminant concentrations as well as of groundwater levels which assist in determining the success of hydraulic containment of the site. Further examples of CPAC’s “work” include approving reductions in the data presented in the Annual Monitoring Reports. This data includes entire Appendixes which may only be used by those of us who read and follow everything , nevertheless they are important. CPAC has also endorsed reductions in the data presented in the Monthly Progress Reports. Perhaps as Pat McLean states CPAC currently “ has no authority to make Chemtura or the M.O.E. to do anything” but under Pat’s leadership they seem to have “the authority” to endorse Chemtura NOT doing important testing and monitoring.
Susan feels that CPAC must be formally involved in the Hawk Ridge Homes proposed development discussions. I too share their concerns that this proposed residential subdivision should not be located across from Sulco and Chemtura . What is strange again is the number of times Pat McLean has pointed out that CPAC’s current mandate deals strictly with Chemtura. Other issues affecting the restoration of the Elmira Aquifer to drinking water standards are totally ignored by CPAC. These include DNAPL being found underground behind Varnicolor Chemical, in the Municipal Aquifer. Not CPAC’s business says Pat. Really? But Hawk Ridge Homes is?
Finally Pat informs us that changing the Terms of Reference for CPAC may be difficult or “complicated” because the current Terms of Reference have Chemtura paying all the costs associated with CPAC. Really and what costs would this be? Secretarial costs including phone calls, faxes, coorespondence? There is no way that changing the Terms of Reference should be complicated by the company who has caused the need for this committee. Is the tail wagging the dog here?
Both Gail Martin and Mayor Cowan have hit the nail on the head when they ask what is the status of the cleanup of Elmira’s water. Will it be completed by 2028? The answer is a resounding NO. The M.O.E., Chemtura and CPAC will not admit to this. Afterall it would be an admission of failure. The original 1991 Control Order issued by the M.O.E. upon Uniroyal (Chemtura) has been ignored. Source removal of DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids) has not occurred. Both CPAC and the M.O.E. have ignored and backpedalled from their original purposes and positions without publicly telling us why and without a clear , logical explanation. This in my opinion is but a small sampling as to why after more than twenty years of going in circles the new Council and Mayor are carefully reexamining CPAC. I believe that the wait will be worth it and am confident , after the fact, that others will also.

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This is the title of an article in today's K-W Record (pg. B2) by Terry Pender. Furthermore he also wrote a similar article last Saturday titled "Sewage pumping station upgrade to cost $8.3 million". Kudos to the Record and to Kitchener Councillors for properly prioritizing their expenditures. Last August 13 here in the Elmira Advocate I wrote an article in regards to the wastewater treatment upgrades planned for Elmira and St. Jacobs. I have also written here of the environmental degradation caused by repeated raw sewage spills and discharges locally (Saturday, May 29, 2010). This is where our tax dollars should be going ie. towards necessities which will improve the lives and health of our citizens. Apparently new Provincial standards are insisting on underground storage facilities for raw sewage during for example power outages or other emergencies which would otherwise force the discharge of raw sewage. This is a long overdue requirement and my only concern is why underground storage. History has taught us that storing gasoline or diesel fuel underground is the best way NOT to know when these tanks start to leak. Regardless, as stated it appears that the cost of new facilities to handle residential development will be charged appropiately to the developers and the cost of upgrades to old facilities will be shared amongst the taxpayers. No one likes paying taxes but for proper sewage treatment it is worthwhile.

Monday, January 17, 2011


First of all I am expecting this week in either or both the Elmira Independent and the Woolwich Observer to see a public announcement that the CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) public meeting scheduled for next Monday January 24/11 has been cancelled. This is due to the very obvious fact that to date the new members have not all been determined nor other than the Chair (Councillor Herteis) announced. I remain optimistic that the new CPAC (CEPAC) can and will get back on track and down to the business of cleaning up the Elmira Aquifer.

The mediation meeting chaired by the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.) between Safety-Kleen (Breslau) and myself took place eleven days ago. Although i am expecting the proposed Minutes of Settlement any day now, I am a little disappointed that to date I have not received the technical reports promised. These reports dealing with various aspects of the S.K. site expansion should have been made available to me in the first place and hence all the more reason to receive them in a timely fashion now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


It is my understanding that Stan Koebel the former General Manager of the Walkerton P.U.C. no longer lives in Walkerton. I do believe however that his brother Frank, a former foreman with the P.U.C., still resides in Walkerton. I truly don't know how to interpret this. While only part way through Part One of the Inquiry Report, I am appalled at the behaviour and conduct of both men. That Frank hasn't been tarred and feathered and run out of town and his brother Stan not shot on sight is a testament to either Canadian forebearance or complacency. The more I read, the more I become aware that the May 2000 disaster in Walkerton could have happened on a dozen occasions anytime in the previous decade. The human error, ignorance, apathy and overall lack of transparency and lack of accountability was truly monumental. The fact that both the Health Unit ordered a boil water advisory days before they had the formal lab data and that a couple of Walkerton institutions (nursing homes) instituted the same precautions a couple of days before the Health Units advisory is a damning indictment of their lack of confidence in the Walkerton P.U.C.'s reassurances. The fact that a current P.U.C. employee was anonomously phoning the M.O.E. Spills Action Center also days earlier to advise them of a failing water result is also a damning indictment of the Walkerton P.U.C.. The fact that Stan Koebel refused to pass on early May failing lab results to the Health Unit AND the Ontario M.O.E. also failed to advise the Health Unit of failing lab results in April 2000 is beyond comprehension. The people of Walkerton through their loss and suffering may very well have raised the alarm of incompetent water safety and treatment right across Canada. My concern is that this whole culture of complacency and apathy can and will return after sufficient time has passed. If and when the local water in Elmira is restored and back in use will we have any knowledge or control over the safety and protection of it, a second time around?

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today's Woolwich Observer dated January 15/11 (not on line till tommorrow) carries the story of Elmira Stove Works foray into green solar energy. As recently as Tuesday of this week in the Advocate I indicated my discomfort with green wind energy because of its' potential to negatively impact neighbours. Brian Hendrick of the Stove Works is quoted as saying " Solar is going to be the biggest because we've all heard about the controversy around wind turbines all over this region." There will be an information session at 285 Union St. Elmira (south end of town) on Feb. 15, 7-9 pm. to provide information to businesses and farmers who are interested in getting into solar energy.

Today's K-W Record follows yesterday's story written by Kevin Swayze describing critics who have applied to Superior Court to have the Cambridge municipal election run again. Today's brief titled "Election appeal stalled" basically advise us that Debbie Vitez and Thomas Vann were allegedly supposed to send a fax confirming the court date that they had received. Odd but I don't recall my dentist, doctor or anyone else ever making such demands. If the courts are worried that you won't show or didn't receive the court date then why don't they follow up with a formal request for confirmation? Sheesh!

Lest we forget a big part of Debbie Vitez's interest in municipal politics has to do with the refusal by Cambridge Council to meaningfully assist their citizens who have suffered horribly due to trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination in the Bishop St. community. All levels of government are remiss from the provincial M.O.E. to Regional health to municipal. At some point in time the media will also come to realize that this contamination and resultant human suffering dwarfs most other similar situations in Canada.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today's K-W Record carries the above headline in regards to expanding parkland in downtown Hespeler. I personally have always found the lines murky when it comes to public money being used not just for public benefit but as a sales tool for private developers. That may be but one issue in regards to the proposed Riverbank Lofts condominium project. The other issue has been discussed here in the Elmira Advocate on a number of occasions, the most recent being only three days ago (Kanmet Foundry). This issue to my surprise has been raised by Councillor Frank Monteiro who wants assurances the land being sold to the city is "completely clear of industrial contamination." While I agree with him I must add that firstly there will be no lack of assurances, whether honest or not, and secondly how about concerns regarding the proposed residential development being "completely clear of industrial contamination."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


6 pm. at Woolwich Council Chambers there was discussion on a number of issues as well as some resolutions from closed session. In regards to CPAC it was resolved that the new Chair would be Councillor Julie Ann Herteis with her term ending November 13, 2014. There would also be a review of the Terms of reference with some form of measureable benchmarks included. There was mention of an Orientation Session for Council with the exceedingly strange proposal that it be conducted by Wilf Ruland, alleged independent hydrogeologist. Finally the naming of the members to the new Chemtura Public Advisory Committee has been delayed until March of this year. Politically speaking I see a very narrow window of opportunity which has just gotten smaller. Although no mention was made of the next public CPAC meeting scheduled by the old CPAC for January 24, can we safely assume without the new members being publicly named that this meeting is also delayed?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Today's Kitchener-Waterloo Record (In Brief pg.3) advises us of an appeal of a wind farm in the Chatham area. I am still personally struggling with the whole idea of opposition and resistance to green energy projects. At present what seems to be the deciding factor for me is the belief that the opinions and position of the majority do not and should not overule the RIGHTS of the minority. If we as citizens have rights to peace, health and enjoyment of our property then they should not be trumped by the needs of the majority. There MUST be a path found that can satisfy both citizens' rights as well as their needs for electric power. This appeal is going to the Environmental Review Tribunal. Based I grant you on only one experience with them recently, I suggest that the local citizens are in deep trouble.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Today's K-W Record carries another feel good story allegedly about an environmental success. I have no doubt that well intentioned and experienced reporter Kevin Swayze is reporting the facts as presented to him. At issue for me are the facts. The story I'm referring to is "Kanmet foundry site now green with new housing".

This is not the first contaminated industrial site that I've seen redeveloped for residential use. The old Sunar (Sunshine Mfg.) site in Waterloo was somewhat cleaned up for redevelopment as a Seniors residence. Similarily Chateau gardens in Elmira was built partially upon the old Gord's service Station in Elmira. Neither of these sites was fully or properly cleaned up in my opinion. This is based on further removal of soil and gasoline contaminated water this past summer during the road work at Church and Snyder Ave. in Elmira as well as my reading of the cleanup of the old Sunar site .

Further stories on industrial "cleanups" here in the Elmira Advocate can be accessed through the Archives for the following dates: Dec. 24/10, Oct. 28/10, and Sept. 15/10.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Today's Woolwich Observer (Pg. 26) has this item on their Community Information Page. My understanding is that it is primarily older homes and buildings which may have an issue with either lead service lines or lead pipes in the building. Regardless, the removal of lead from gasoline, children's toys (paint) and other items are for solid environmental and health reasons. For your sake and the other inhabitants of your home/building, please cooperate when these water operators knock on your door.

This public meeting is in Council Chambers on Tuesday February 1, 2011 at 7 pm. The notice is in today's Woolwich Observer, on page 25. This designation of course is of great significance to the inhabitants both human and non human as it will affect the possibilities of one, two or three gravel pits being sited in the immediate vicinty, beside the Grand River and near the famous Covered Bridge.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Due to good work yesterday from the Region and the Township, a number of procedural and planning issues have been able to go ahead in regards to Safety-Kleen's proposed purchase and expansion onto the former Forwell property in Breslau.

Nevertheless there are still huge issues to be faced by both the Township and the M.O.E. regarding groundwater contamination. What I am about to write here is not mere opinion. It is the expert opinions of a number of hydrogeologists and engineers who have studied and reported upon this site. Firstly ever since the first load of oily wastes were dumped into the lagoons on site, both groundwater from beneath the lagoons and surface water from rain and runoff have gravity flowed overland to the Grand River as well as to the Municipal Drinking Wells K70 & K71. The shallow groundwater has discharged at surface into the onsite creek/municipal drain and then flowed to the Grand River. The shallow aquifer contaminants have also flowed vertically downwards through the silty aquitard which contains only minor clay and into the lower aquifer. This aquifer also flows westerly towards the Grand River and discharges to it.

The proposed cleanup will leave behind not only substantial amounts of residual LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid) but also in places up to .5 metre of free phase LNAPL. LNAPL can best be easily described as oils which float on the surface of ground or surface water. Although there is no argument that removing some LNAPL is better than none, there will be no reduction in the concentration of dissolved contaminants until after both the free phase (mobile & flowing) and residual (oil droplets held in the pore spaces between grains of sand/soil) are removed, dissolved etc. I would estimate another fourty to fifty years just to flush out the residual LNAPL AFTER the free phase is gone. If the free phase is left behind (.5 metre) then we are looking at a century or more. This is not acceptable to me nor I hope to the Township of Woolwich.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


O.K. It was confidential, without prejudice and private. As I agreed to that do I stop here?

Well........... I think it's O.K. if I'm very careful to which I apologize to my readers as I'm usually not reticent in communicating either facts, opinions or impressions. Here is what I can say about today without hopefully offending anyone at the meeting. 1) The Chair representing the O.M.B. was excellent. 2) All the parties present including Safety-Kleen, me, the Township and the Region were sharp, focused and kept their eyes on the ball.3) A meeting of the minds on the specific narrow issue of Official Plan Amendment #15 was reached. 4) Formal Minutes of Settlement will follow as well as a couple of technical reports.

Further congratulations go to the Region and the Township reps for their patience and abilities in explaining to me some fine points around planning issues. I am not and never have been conversant with the process or details in this area.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


He says he works for the Ombudsman's Office. He keeps phoning me with the most unintelligent, illogical drivel. It has taken all my willpower not to tell him to flock off and grow a brain. I haven't done so because I do have respect for the Ombudsman and various good things he has done for Ontario. This character (lawrence S.) however is a piece of work. He sends me nothing in writing, it's all verbal crap. I have written twice about him here in the Elmira Advocate namely on November 9 & 16/10. I can't figure out if he is unintelligent (as in extremely) or does he have his own agenda and he's playing a game with me. Yesterday afternoon, on the phone he advises me that Steve Martindale of the M.O.E. has sent him written responses to my alleged complaint but no he Lawrence won't send those written responses on to me. We'll discuss them on the phone now he says. Mr. Swartz also appears to be constantly trying to shift the focus of my complaint around to suit himself. He also keeps telling me that " I failed to provide this document or that response". This is a bureaucrat par excellence. I had enough of his bullshit and finally advised him that I was glad I hadn't put all my eggs in one basket; thank you very much and have a very fine day. I then hung up. This guy is rude, insulting, grossly unhelpful and a disgrace to the Ombudsman's Office.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


More than a decade ago I had a two page listing of all the hydrogeological reports that had been done on Breslube/Safety-Kleen. This listing I will estimate encompassed somewhere in the vicinity of fourty different professional studies of this site in Breslau, immediately upgradient of the Grand River and two Kitchener drinking wells. Here in Canada we are becoming famous for our professional technical expertise and studies. Unfortunately we are also becoming famous for our abilities to continue studying contaminated sites forever versus actually cleaning them up. Apparently pen and paper are much cheaper than backhoes, excavators, trucks and landfill or other disposal options.

The most recent report that I have is dated November 2002 by Cameron-Cole of Boulder Colorado. We are advised that the free phase petroleum hydrocarbon plume includes "low concentrations of PCBs and other chlorinated solvent hydrocarbons." These other chlorinateds would include for example, vinyl chloride a breakdown product of Trichloroethylene. The "low concentrations" of PCBs are up to 21 parts per million (ppm) in the soil and from 75 to 340 ppm in the oil. These are not "low" concentrations. Among numerous issues I have regarding the proposed remediation is the fact that the latest monitoring results appear to be going on nine years old. Although I don't expect much change from then, nevertheless more up to date results should be available.

Monday, January 3, 2011


The Ontario Municipal Board is holding a private (I presume) mediation meeting this Thursday, 10:30 am. January 6/11 at the Woolwich Township Hall. The idea is to see if we can find some common ground regarding the zone change permitting S.K.'s expansion onto the former Forwell's gravel pit property. S.K. are building a parking lot and a warehouse on property which has long been contaminated with oils and solvents. These oils and solvents (& P.C.B.'s) are courtesy of former waste lagoons both on and off the S.K. property. The P.C.B.'a plus other evidence may also indicate leakage from tanks and tank farms on site. The possibility of common ground is based on everyone having access to the same technical reports. They indicate the probability of some or all of these former lagoons not having been remediated. Also the testimony by S.K. at Woolwich Council was that while they believed that some of these lagoons had been remediated already, they do not have any data, photographs or other evidence to back up their position.

This site is approximately 750 yards up gradient from the Grand River as well as from former Municipal wells, K70 & K71 (K for Kitchener). Safety-Kleen used to be famous for the soothing odours which they discharged to the Breslau community.

Saturday, January 1, 2011