Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today's Elmira Independent carrys this story: "CPAC members withdraw applications". While technically accurate several points need to be raised. Firstly to date neither Sandy Shantz nor Ken Driedger have withdrawn their applications. Secondly the withdrawal of Richard Petrone's application is both a joke and an insult to both the citizens of Woolwich and the new Council. I sincerely hope that his application was immediately thrown into the trash bin based upon his own behaviour or rather his non behaviour at CPAC meetings. Basically he wasn't there, meeting after meeting. Then he undoubtedly with the assistance of those masters of deception Pat and Susan, had the unmitigated gall to claim he was withdrawing in protest. BULLSHIT ! My respect for former Councillor and CPAC appointee Sandy Shantz continues to grow as I learn that many former CPAC members including her and Dr. Henry Regier were interviewed either by Council or Woolwich Staff months ago. She agreed to this interview despite deciding at the end of the CPAC term last fall that she did not wish to rejoin CPAC.

I would also like to point out the high road that has been taken by our new Woolwich Council. On one hand Ron Ormson apparently believes that the new Terms of Reference "suggest a lack of trust for the work of the previous advisory committee." In line with that is the old CPAC's criticism now of these Terms of Reference and yet there were only two people who spoke at either the Committee of the Whole (March 22) or to Council (March 29) and that was myself and Ken Driedger. Both of us had suggestions and criticisms which we expressed and to which Council listened. Furthermore the withdrawals of their Applications occurred BEFORE the new Terms of Reference were enacted less than two full days ago. Council and the Mayor have been very patient and tolerant of the old CPAC's whining. They have taken the high road by not publicly disparaging or criticizing these former volunteers. If Ron Ormson's above opinion is accurate then the public should be asking the question what were the old CPAC doing which caused this alleged lack of trust. To that end, I have repeatedly advised readers of the Elmira Advocate of the old CPAC's failures.

Finally in her article Gail Martin of the Independent has suggested that no one with previous experience or knowledge of the history of CPAC will be sitting at the new CPAC table. Really? Isn't it just a little premature to suggest that? Afterall Mayor Cowan in his interview has suggested that the appointments will be made public on April 12, 2011 which is only 12 days away. On that date we will know the makeup, quality, and experience of the new CPAC.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Kudos to the following persons at last night's Woolwich Council Meeting: Mayor Todd Cowan, Township Clerk Christine Broughton, old CPAC member Ken Driedger. Ken was a registered delegate wishing to speak to the new Terms of Reference submitted by Staff the week before, to Woolwich Council. Ken's major concerns seemed to be Council's detailed and specific taking control of their committee of Council and their prohibition against routine or ongoing closed meetings. The first issue he felt was a reflection of Council not trusting the old CPAC. Although this motive was denied by Mayor Cowan nevertheless it is my submission that the new Council has every reason in the world to have exactly that opinion. The second issue for Ken is the one I wish to address more fully.

Both Mayor Cowan and Clerk Christine Broughton gave, in my opinion, a detailed explanation of the Municipal Act and how Woolwich Council are bound by it's specific provisions dealing with meetings of both Council and Committees of Council, such as CPAC. In a nutshell there are only a very few specific reasons why either Councils or Committees of Council can have closed meetings. They include dealing with financial issues, legal issues and employee issues whereby specific names of individuals would arise. Therefore it is very clear to me that the numerous times I publicly both verbally and in writing advised the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee that their ongoing private and closed meetings, including sub committee meetings, were improper, inappropriate and offensive greatly understated the reality. The reality is that the Chair and long time former Councillor Pat McLean's insistence on closed and private meetings was blatantly illegal. Either as a long time past Councillor she didn't know this which frankly is incredible or she intentionally has been breaking the Municipal Act for years. Either way the new Council clearly have done the right thing removing Pat from the CPAC Chair's position and expressly including this huge legal point into the Terms of Reference. This major revelation would not have been made public but for the concerns of the one old CPAC member, Ken Driedger, who has chosen to come forward in an honest and direct way asking for clarification and explanation. It is my hope that he has not been turned off by the very difficult and confrontational nature of this Committee and that he will let his Application to be a CPAC member stand.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This event is being held at the St. Jacobs Arena on Saturday April 16, 2011 from 11 am to 4:30 pm.. There will be workshops and discussions on everything from solar panels to energy saving ideas. There will also be a bus tour to an energy effecient home in Kitchener.

I found this latest release, on line, mixed in with tonite's Woolwich Council package. The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community taskforce (NDACT) are looking for support and assistance with their fight against a proposed quarry at the headwaters of both the Grand and Nottawasaga Rivers. The County of Dufferin is the highest elevation in southern Ontario and from there the Nottawasaga flows north into Georgian bay and the Grand flows south into Lake Erie. This isn't your ordinary gravel pit. This one will cover 2,400 acres and be 200 feet deep. Yes that's right, 200 feet. What they are excavating is Limestone which along with Dolomite is a major component of the Bedrock underlying the overburden clays, gravels and soils. It is very difficult to imagine an operation of this size not impacting the local environment, especially the headwaters of the Grand River. There is a public meeting at the Shelburne Legion in Shelburne this Saturday April 2 at 10 am..

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today's K-W Record story "Councils set to help fund cleanup of Waterscape site along Grand River" bothers me to no end. Once more our beleagured taxpayers are paying for the environmental contamination caused by for profit industry. Once again these industries, whether textile mills or former Gas Works operations, have passed their waste disposal costs and cleanup along to the taxpayers while their shareholders cheerfully have pocketed their profits. This is a perversion of free enterprise. This is a perversion of democracy whereby private business owners through lobbying and political donations have tapped into public funds for their personal financial benefit. Business interests have completely captured the political process to the point that they continue to ensure that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Here in the Advocate I have been posting stories regarding this use of taxpayer funds in order to bail out past businesses as well as assist newer ones. From September 15, October 28, December 24, 2010 and January 10 and 13, 2011 there have been numerous news stories on this matter. What dosen't seem to be asked is how and why are these former businesses permitted to walk away from their contaminated sites scot free. What isn't asked is the environmental damage done to our rivers and wildlife. What isn't asked is the extent of human health damage done by these industrial criminals who grossly pollute and then walk away unscathed. Finally what isn't asked is why our governments from municipal to provincial, sit back and let this pollution continue for decades and literally centuries after these industries close. The answer is that our governments are there to protect the interests of the wealthy and influential, not the public's interest. This is the reality.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Yesterday's K-W Record (Pg. B6) has the followiung story "Expert issues radiation warning". The expert is Dr. Helen Caldicott and her message is bleak: "No radiation is safe" as well as "Increasing background radiation is going to increase cancer". She also commented on the fact that males tend to store plutonium, courtesy of weapons testing days, in their anatomy. Also in this article was the fact that a community group which is pro nuclear energy has received funding to appear at the hearings. One member seemed to agree with Ontario Power Generation that Ontario reactors are superior to those in Japan, Russia and the United Staes. Personally, I'd really like to see some proof of that.

The opinion published in today's K-W Record by Derek Satnik has this title "Does any potential health risk from wind power even matter?" First off he has a very powerful argument in that the alternatives to wind power electricity are generally so much worse environmentally and health wise. Specifically he refers to 9,000 deaths per year in Ontario due to respiratory illnesses caused by coal fired generating plants. I still reject the headline, at least because it smacks way too much to me of tyranny of the majority. In other words if it's for the greater good then shafting individuals along the way is O.K. The big problem with this attitude is that traditionlly it is financially disadvantaged and ethnic minorities who get all the negative consequences of our modern society. Specifically studies have been done that clearly show that landfills and hazardous waste depots and sites never end up in communities such as Westmount or Beechwood in Kitchener-Waterloo. I've said it before and I'll repeat it now, modern science is not supportive of health issues from wind farms. There may be unproven health issues and there certainly are issues with hindering one's enjoyment of one's property and peace and quiet.

Friday, March 25, 2011


First of all call me naive. Call me Pollyanna but I believe that two local newspapers are a luxury that very few towns our size will ever have. I consider the K-W Record while a very good paper, absolutely not our local paper. Yesterday's Elmira Independent has the following story "New CPAC terms of reference approved" and tomorrow's Woolwich Observer (out today but not online till tomorrow) carrys this: "Council adopts new guidelines for CPAC". Whether these papers agree on an issue as they appear to on this one or not, the point is that the readers receive the benefits of two professional writers describing the news.

The Independent's article mentions " A proposal was put forward by councillor Mark Bauman, and accepted by his fellow councillors that, in the future, the term of CPAC would extend six months after the current term of council, to allow time for a new committee to be appointed without "having work come to an abrupt stop." ". While this suggestion certainly caught me by surprise, I must say that I too can see the merit in it. It would be nice if this Council gets it right, that future Councils won't feel the need for wholesale changes. But who knows. The Independent article also mentions my information that there are other below ground wastes in Elmira which need remediation. Specifically and obviously one of these is the underground DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid) behind Varnicolor, near the water tower.

The Woolwich Observer mentions that Mayor Cowan campaigned "...On a new role and focus for the organization" (ie. CPAC). Mayor Cowan also apparently suggested to reporter (& Editer) Steve Kannon that Council will appoint the new CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) members in the next two or three weeks. This is obviously a good thing. Steve Kannon also quotes yours truly at this Committee of the Whole meeting as supporting many of the changes in the CPAC Terms of Reference. Further he mentions my suggestions concerning CPAC having the right to censure parties (eg. Chemtura & their consultants) for serious non cooperation and again Steve mentions my assertion that Chemtura is not the only source of groundwater contamination within Elmira.

Huge progress on the Elmira cleanup is nearly here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Yesterday's K-W Record (Pg. A8) carried this story: "Nuclear hearing disrupted". There are several disturbing items in regards to this story. First off I am never impressed when Police respond to peaceful protests by handcuffing "suspects" hands, especially behind their backs. These protesters, men and women, are all wearing anti nuclear protest T-shirts, are unarmed and non violent. The purpose for their presence is abundantly clear and is not criminal. Secondly in light of the crisis in Japan who really can say that their concerns are overblown? Finally a joint letter to the panel co-manager from the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of the Attorney General makes it clear that they want control of questioning and preferably want softball questions only given to the assistant deputy energy minister when he is on the stand. This is ridiculous. This is supposed to be a public hearing not an exercise in public relations. There are four proposed new nuclear reactors for the Darlington site.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Wow if I ever doubted it before let me just say here that municpal Councillors don't get paid nearly enough. From in camera meetings starting at 4:30 pm. until 10:30 last night, it was almost non stop. The level of upset between neighbours was but one of the issues on the Agenda last night. Apparently drainage problems are front and center involving two properties and more at the intesection of Regional Road # 86 and Northfield Drive (# 22). This one may take the wisdom of a Solomon to figure out.

As expected the new Terms of Reference for CPAC were presented to Council by Staff. Clearly both Staff and Council are crossing their T's and dotting their i's on this matter as they indicated the extent of consultation with various interests. I made a brief presentation to Council regarding these Terms of Reference and will shortly be following it up with my written comments.

Also presented to Council by Staff were comments on the Region's Annual Drinking Water Report. These I also spoke to and pointed out that my study of these Annual Reports indicated that the main issues weren't occasional reported exceedances as much as the data and relevant information that simply is never included in these reports. This too, I hope to follow up with written comments to Council.

Boy is this ever counter intuitive! One of the fastest growing areas in Canada and we are lowering our water consumption. Seems impossible. Apparently conservation programs are indeed working combined with the loss of numerous local manufacturing plants. Whoa what is this? Economic activity is bad for our environment. Who would have thought it? Yesterday's K-W Record carries the following story "Region's water use dropping despite growth". Also implicated in this good news story are municipalities locating and repairing water main leaks. From stories I've heard, this may not necessarily include the city of Cambridge. There will be a celebration of World Water day at the University of Waterloo today and from 11:30 to 1:30 pm. there will be a "Soupfest" fundraiser for the Children's Water Education Council at Kitchener City hall.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


As mentioned three days ago (Sat.) there is a Committee of the Whole meeting this evening starting at 6 pm. Yours truly will be speaking to at least two of the items on the Agenda, namely the new Terms of Reference for CPAC as well as the Annual Drinking Water Reports for Woolwich Township.

The overall direction is one to be expected as Council essentially is taking control of a committee of Council through the Terms of Reference. This Committee has had very little direction or oversight from Council in the past and in my opinion far too much autonomy. The Staff Report being presented makes it clear that the dog should be wagging the tail, not the reverse. Council, it is emphasized in this Staff Report, has the absolute right to appoint membership to their own committees and to amend the Terms of Reference similarily. Also it is suggested that there be a major increase in transparency by holding all sub committee meetings of CPAC in Township facilities and open to the public. This was a huge criticism I had with the way CPAC were running their business and I see this provision as a major improvement.

As I read the Engineering Report concerning Woolwich Township drinking water it seems to me that Staff are merely presenting their conclusions for receipt by Council. With all due respect to both Engineering and Planning Staff involved with these reports, I believe that the Township need their own Hydrogeologist to interpret the Regional reports. It seems to be the case that the Township are completely dependent upon Regional staff in this matter. Township Staff do appropriately point out an issue with the water in West Montrose but there are other water issues in the Townships which also need attention.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water. Two days ago I posted here that I had sent a letter to Peter Clarke, Water Specialist with the Region of Waterloo. Naturally of course after so doing it comes to my attention that there is yet another large area of concern regarding chemicals in our water supply, that are untested (or at least unpublished) by the Region of Waterloo. These are PPCPs as defined in the title above. They end up particularily in our rivers and streams after passing through municipal Sewage Treatment Plants, essentially untreated. They end up in our STPs via either human excretion (toilets) or by direct dumping of left over prescriptions etc. down the toilet. These include birth control pills, antibiotics, pain killers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin etc..the list is endless. The direct implications are to our waterways and life within them. There are many documented cases of fish being adversely affected by pharmaceuticals in their habitat. The indirect implications concern our drinking water. The Grand River is a source of drinking water for Kitchener, Brantford and other further downstream communities. How incredible is it that we dump our human sewage into the same waterbodies that we draw our drinking water from? How counterintuitive is this? In the arguments in favour of mass immigration to Canada based on available space and land, do we ever even think about the carrying capacity of our rivers for the increased loads of human sewage? I think not. Add to direct drawing of water from the Grand River is the common use of river wells such as the Pompeii, Woolner and formerly Forwell systems in Kitchener. Similarily West Montrose here in Woolwich draw their water from wells in the floodplain of the Grand. The Middleton wellfield in Cambridge draws water from both upgradient groundwater and from the Grand. GUDI is an acronym for Groundwater Under Direct Influence of surface water. All the river wells just described are GUDI wells.

In a nutshell the whole point of this article is the failure of our authorities to include all chemicals from all sources in their testing and publication of drinking water quality results. Over the last few weeks I have given numerous examples of industrial chemicals commonly found in groundwater and drinking water. Today simply adds to the concern that we are being given censored information. I believe that we the public would be much more involved and active in our demand for safe drinking water and hence improved health if we had honest and complete information from our governments.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Starting at 6 pm. I am of the understanding that one of the items on the Agenda will be the CPAC new Terms of Reference. I believe that several weeks ago the Elmira Independent mentioned that they were to be presented at this meeting , three days from now. Although they will be hugely significant in their own right, they also are the precurser to the announcement of the makeup of the new CPAC. Again it was announced back in January that the new Terms of Reference were to be made public prior to the naming of the membership of the new Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). These Terms of Reference may very well indicate a major change in direction and attitude for CPAC. We shall see very shortly.

Over the last few weeks I've been posting comments and observations in regards to the 2010 Annual Drinking Water Reports published by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (RMOW). While it could be interpreted that I've put the cart before the horse by criticizing specific information in these reports before getting the Region to respond, in fact I don't believe so. Many of my criticisms have dealt with data not being put in these reports to start with. Also I've criticized information which is vague and unclear. While welcoming the Region's response by Mr. Peter Clarke the Region's designated responder, nevertheless I am satisfied that my comments have been appropriate to date. If in hindsight, after receiving his responses the fog is dramatically lifted on specific information, I will most certainly share this with the readers of the Elmira Advocate.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Several years ago at a public CPAC meeting, Jeff Merriman of Chemtura promised both the public and yours truly that the onsite pumping from two wells (PW4 & PW5) would total 6.0 liters/second. This was more than the three onsite wells at the time (PW1, PW3, PW4) combined. Being extremely literal, the last time the onsite wells reached 6.0 liters/second was December 2009. That being said I'm not complaining about the onsite wells during 2010. They were very close to 6.0 many times. However during all of 2009 they only were close two or three times and the rest of the year were pathetic.

Now we look at the offsite wells. These are the wells which are supposed to magically clean up the Elmira Aquifer to drinking water standards if only they pump as much water as their computer modelling indicates is necessary. The major lesson that time has taught us is that Hydraulic Containment is NOT sustainable. Going on twenty years of on and off site pumping and the trends are obvious. Uniroyal/Chemtura are NOT able to pump both on and offsite wells hard enough and reliably enough, over the long term, to accomplish either containment on site or cleanup offsite. This should not be a surprise. Hydraulic containment was never supposed to replace honest to God cleanup or remediation of buried wastes.

Incredibly since the municipal election (Oct. 25/10) Chemtura's offsite pumping of wells W3, W4, W5A & W5B has been reduced almost 50%. Well E7 at the extreme south end of Elmira has been generally solid while offsite wells W3 and W4, have been in the toilet. For four months and counting W3 and W4 have been in the toilet. Apparently there are sludge settling problems in the Ammonia Treatment System. Not to worry, whenever this problem is fixed there will be breakdowns, maintenance or a hundred other excuses for the inevitable next pumping slowdown. Please keep in mind two things: Every liter of contaminated water unpumped either flows offsite or if already offsite , spreads throughout the aquitards and aquifers further delaying any possible restoration of the Elmira Aquifer. The second point is that there is no penalty, legal or financial to Chemtura for their ongoing and never ending pumping failures. Over the last twenty years ,yes they have pumped and cleaned groundwater while at the same time, leakage from all aquifers into either the Canagagigue Creek or southwest into the groundwater or natural environment has been ongoing. This is their fallback plan. Let it spread and disperse into the natural environment over decades and centuries where it will eventually dilute enough to be unmeasurable and hence no longer their problem. Check out your local cancer centers and hospitals to see the results of this plan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Out of all the drinking wells in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the Townships, the following wells are the only ones routinely tested monthly for Trichloroethylene (TCE): Middleton Wellfield (thank you Cnd. General Tower), Well P6 Dumfries Conservation Area (thank you Northstar & Rozell (G.E.)), William St. Wellfield Waterloo (thank you Sunar & Canbar). The one other at a minimum that should be tested monthly is Well G9 (thank you Allen-Bradley) because it is annually detecting TCE and should be tested monthly like the others. Although three out of four wells in this list are Cambridge wells which speaks poorly for their water quality, the fourth is Waterloo which is of direct consequence to those of us in Elmira and St. Jacobs getting our water via pipeline from Waterloo.

Swinging back to Cambridge two wells there have unusually high Method Detection Limits (MDLs). These are Well P16 near the border between Kitchener and Cambridge and Well P6 again near Bishop St. Interestingly enough Well P16 was shut down for the entire year ie. 2010. Over the years I have been told by private hydrogeologists as well as M.O.E. employees that high MDLs are usually the result of substantial concentrations of other chemicals (contaminants) in the groundwater and apparently their presence makes it more difficult to determine the identity of the chemicals being tested for. Therefore a higher MDL is required to positively identify them. In regards to Well P6, although they to date aren't detecting TCE it makes we suspect that there are other contaminants from Northstar and Bishop St. present such as 1,1,1 TCA , NDMA which aren't being reported but are raising the MDLs for other chemicals.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


If the purpose of these reports is to reassure the uninformed public that all is well with our drinking water than they have suceeded. If on the other hand the purpose is to give an accurate, truthful presentation which encompasses a much bigger picture of our drinking water, than they have failed miserably. The following chemicals which are part of the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS) are NOT included in the Region's reports: Chloramines, Trihalomethanes, Cyanide, Dioxin & Furans, Lead, Microcystin LR, NTA, NDMA, Radiological Standards. Furthermore the following common and ubiquitous chemicals, incomprehensibly are Not in either the ODWS nor the Region's Annual Report: Toluene, Xylenes. Ethyl Benzene and Chloroform. As far as I am concerned any of these not being included render the whole process moot. It's similar to the Libyan government ordering the Libyan rebels to take their flu shots immediately prior to the government then bombing them. The whole "science" of Risk Assessments, behind the ODWS, is highly suspect to start with, but by ignoring huge health risks from very commonly present industrial contaminants, our authorities have turned this exercise from one of public information into one of public relations.

Following is a list of wells which have disappeared ie. Missing In Action from the Region's Annual Water Quality Reports between 2002 and 2010.
CAMBRIDGE: Middleton G22, Pinebush G28, Rahman's P14, Shades Mill G29, Turnbull G20, G27

KITCHENER: Mannheim K20, Parkway K30, Strange St. K9, Greenbrook K7,

WATERLOO: Erb St. Reservoir W22, William St. pumping station W12

Possibly the increased numbers of missing wells in Cambridge reflect the greater numbers of wells than Waterloo has but the same can't be said for Kitchener. My strong suspicion is that these either shut down or pumping to waste wells reflect groundwater contamination in each city. Detailed reports should be made available to the public each time a well is either out of service permanently or for more than a week or two. There is way too much flexibility in the Provincial Safe Drinking Water Act to allow municipal governments (eg. Region of Waterloo) to hide serious groundwater contamination issues from the public. An informed public might actually demand improved cleanup of contaminated sites if they knew the true cost to our drinking water supplies. I'll just bet that when the Lake Erie Pipeline is back on the table, then our municipal governments will be only too keen to tell us that they've just discovered the perilous state our groundwater is in.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Following are the five water systems in use in Woolwich Township (Elmira & St. Jacobs supplied by pipeline from Waterloo). All five of them, similar to the testing done for Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, are not tested for common solvents and contaminants such as NDMA, Dioxins, Toluene, Xylene, Ethyl Benzene, 1,1,1 TCA. I would suggest that this is less problematic in the Townships than in the urban areas as these chemicals are directly related to industrial sources.

The West Montrose system has issues with both Chloramines and Trihalomethanes. These are by-products of disinfection. These are not minor issues and need to be significantly improved.

The Maryhill Village Heights system has issues with Nitrates. This most likely is due to their rural nature and the result of nearby farming practices. While below the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS), nevertheless this system has the highest Nitrates in the Woolwich Township wells.

The Maryhill Water Supply System consisting of two different wells than the former one just mentioned has Chloramines, similar to West Montrose, above the O.D.W.S. This needs to be addressed.

Both water systems in Conestogo have issues with Nitrates. Neither are above the O.D.W.S. although the Golf Course system is the higher of the two. As the Golf Course system consists of "river" wells, greater influence potentially from Uniroyal/Chemtura upstream would not surprise me. NDMA and Dioxins especially should be tested for in these wells.

Monday, March 14, 2011


The reintroduction of wild turkeys to Ontario has been a sucess. Ten years ago I was seeing occasional wild turkeys over Guelph way and since then I've seen them twice at the Woolwich Dam and once on the western outskirts of Elmira. Reported sightings are now becoming commonplace. Today's K-W Record carries the following story "Wild turkeys making a comeback in the Grand River watershed". Turkeys like elk had been hunted into extinction in Ontario over a hundred years ago and although in the matter of toxins in our air. water and food, we are exceedingly slow learners it would appear that conservation of species is being taken more seriously and actually being remediated.

If you believe in coincidences then so be it. In the Wellington Advertiser (March 11/11 pg. 34), in the same issue that covered the march to Nestle Waters by Wellington Water Watchers; lo and behold we have a Community Open House being held on Thursday March 17/11, 7-9 pm. by Nestle Waters. According to this public notice "The company is committed to working with the community to generate sustainable solutions". Personally I'm not buying what Nestle waters are selling.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


The timing certainly is interesting. This fall we have a provincial election. Chemtura announces that our local supply of in ground Dioxins, courtesy of their Third World waste disposal methods, will remain (in)securely beside the Canagagigue Creek because gosh darn for the approximately fourtieth year in a row, they just don't have the funds in their budget to remove it. Today's K-W Record announces "Agent Orange probe chief picked". This probe headed by Leonard Ritter of the University of Guelph has about a year and a half's work ahead of them. "The panel will determine the scope and scale of the use of 2,4,5-T in Ontario and examine the potential health impacts". If during the course of their investigation this panel decides to examine where the 2,4,5-T and Dioxins came from (Elmira) it could certainly become embarassing for both Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. . This is due to their ongoing and long term talents and abilities to ignore the health hazards surrounding the sub surface Dioxins on their property, specifically in the GP1 and GP2 waste pits . Refusing to follow their own Control Order and remove DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids) is horrendous but refusing to remove buried Dioxins is nothing short of criminal.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Today's Wellington Advertiser has an excellent story as well as photos titled "Nestle, Wellington Water Watchers at odds over protest's effectiveness". The Water Watchers held a protest march on March 5 to the location of Nestle's plant in Puslinch. The major point of conflict is the application of Nestle to the Ontario M.O.E. for a ten year water taking permit at the rate of 3.6 million liters per day. Thank goodness both for common sense as to the lunacy of handing over OUR water to a private corporation as well as to the activists who are willing to go toe to toe with the powers to be to put the brakes on this nonsense. Recently here in the Advocate (Thurs. March 3) I posted another story in regards to bottled water.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today's K-W Record story "Oilsands contaminating Alberta's water, panel says" should clarify what I've been saying for years about technical reports provided to the public by one of our local polluters. "The six member, government-appointed scientific panel's task was to try to explain why official accounts of pollution in the area clashed so sharply with those of Schindler and his co-authors.". David Schindler of the University of Alberta had his studies of pollution of the Athabaska River published in the National Academy of Sciences. His conclusions were that air emissions from the oilsands were responsible for pollution of the river, in stark contrast to industry and government interpretations. For close to twenty years I have categorically been saying that the technical reports produced by Uniroyal/Chemtura's consultants are psuedo science, junk science and worse. Even reasonably technically sound reports they've produced have been butchered by their client driven, client paid for, self serving conclusions. These conclusions have consistently minimized the extent of the problems and especially minimized cleanup and remediation costs by promoting inexpensive and ineffective solutions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


At this point in time I've read the water reports for Cambridge and Waterloo in their entirety. I am currently in the middle of the Kitchener water reports. The following five points seem to be common to the vast majority of these reports.

1) The Summary Report with the details of Adverse Water Quality issues is mentioned in all these reports but is not included. This is the Report that I was earlier advised by the Regional water specialist (Peter Clarke) had to be approved by Regional Council before being released to the public. There is a smell in the air about this that I don't like.

2) The sheer number of wells either shut down for short periods (3-8 weeks) or shut down from 11 weeks up to the entire year. On top of this are wells missing in action entirely. Where did they go? Why are they no longer being used? Something is wrong when there are either no explanations or inadequate ones.

3) LEAD and THM's (Trihalomethanes). They are mentioned in the reports but there are no numbers included. Why not? There are numerical health standards for them and they are both huge issues. A partial report gives me zero confidence when it claims that all is well with our drinking water.

4) All the other common and ubiquitous water contaminants whose results are not included. Notice I didn't say which are not tested. NDMA, Toluene, Xylenes and Ethyl Benzene are just such a few of them.

5) Each well or series of wells have their water treatment described. Chlorination and chloramination are the common bacterial disinfectant methods used. What I'm having a little trouble with is the claim that UV (ultraviolet) is used as a disinfectant (bacterial) treatment. Here in Elmira, years ago, we were advised that UV was THE superior treatment for NDMA removal. Combine this anomaly with 4) NDMA results not being listed and you can understand my concern.

These concerns will all shortly be brought to the attention of the Region of Waterloo. Nevertheless they are obvious enough that they should all have been addressed up front in the reports themselves and not require further chasing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


All three wells in Hespeler (H3, H4 & H5) have issues. Well H3 was shut down for 37 weeks in 2010 and well H5 was shut down for 38 weeks. With the demand for water at all time highs clearly there are huge problems here. Well H4 which was only shut down for 3 weeks has extremely high sodium levels namely 226 mg/l and high nitrates namely between 4 and 7 mg/l.

Today's K-W Record advises us that the hotline set up by the province has been very busy. Nearly 650 calls have come in asking for clarification and more information since it was announced that Agent Orange had been used in Ontario as a herbicide. Also it has been noted that rail workers also used Agent Orange, in the past, along rail lines as a defoliant. This fact has been used formerly by Chemtura as a cause for some of the dioxin on their property.

Monday, March 7, 2011


The Regional water system is integrated to a certain degree. In other words there is piping for example running from Waterloo to Elmira as well as from Kitchener south to Cambridge. Similarily twin cities Kitchener and Waterloo have water flowing to and fro across their borders. That being said with the exception of Waterloo water travelling on a daily basis to Elmira and St. Jacobs, generally residents will be drinking water taken from the ground nearest them and or augmented in Kitchener with Grand River water.

Two days ago I mentioned that well P16 in Cambridge but on the border with Kitchener had been offline for all of 2010. Two other points need to be raised. Firstly the test results posted for 2010 are all dated 2003. Secondly the MDL's or method detection limits are considerably higher for many industrial chemicals than they are at the other wells in the Region.

Trichloroethylene was also detected at well G9 (Elgin St.) in Cambridge. This may be courtesy of the former Allen-Bradley plant. Well P6 (Dunbar Rd.) , near Northstar Aerospace has some anomalies in that it also has elevated MDL's for 2,4,5 T and some chlorophenols. Also of interest, it is the only well in Cambridge other than the Middleton wells tested monthly for TCE (Trichloroethylene). I believe that the Region of Waterloo are as surprised as I that it hasn't been found as yet, courtesy of Northstar.

Metalachlor has been detected in well G6. This is most likely from Ciba-Geigy. Well G5, part of the Pinebush system of wells has worrisome levels of Nitrates as well as 249 mg./liter of sodium. It is these strange combinations of either organics or inorganics which science has of yet been unable to determine toxicity issues. We are the guinea pigs.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


As promised last Monday there will be occasional ongoing reports and comments on these 2010 Annual Reports on the state of our drinking water here in Waterloo Region. Keep in mind that although Woolwich Township has it's own wells in Conestoga, West Montrose, Maryhill etc., all of Elmira's and St.Jacobs water comes via a pipeline up from the City of Waterloo.

Both the William St. wells in Waterloo and the Middleton wellfield in Cambridge have ongoing, longterm detections of Trichloroethylene (TCE) in them. The Middleton wells routinely have concentrations at and above 50% of the Ontario Drinking Water Standard (ODWS). William St. in Waterloo has concentrations at about 1/3 or 1/4 of the ODWS. However William St.(Waterloo) routinely has chloramines at greater than 50% concentration of the ODWS. In focusing today on Cambridge drinking water some disturbing patterns are again emerging this year. The number of wells that are offline for varying time frames without explanation, while all citizens are placed on various water restrictions is of concern. For example well P16 was offline the whole year (2010). Wells P10, P11 and P17 were offline for 21 weeks. Well G1A offline for 4 weeks and G38/G39 were offline for 8 weeks. There is also the issue of wells missing in action. G6 in Cambridge is one example as is W6B in Waterloo. What is the explanation for wells that are removed from the system as well as wells that are shut down for long time frames when we have a demand for the water? What is going on?

Friday, March 4, 2011


Today's K-W Record has another story regarding judicial challenges to wind turbines. The title is "Court dismisses turbine challenge". I've said it recently here in these pages and I'll say it again; currently science does not support health issues related to wind turbines. That being said I still also have no reason to disbelieve personal stories or anecdotal evidence of headaches or insomnia. I do not believe that people lie or make up stories without good reason. Therefore while honest opposition to wind turbines is legitimate I again counsel those who are so doing to be very careful in any claims of scientific support for their position. As far as the door opening to the Environmental Review Tribunal looking at local opposition to wind turbines, I am not very optimistic that that will be a particularily productive route.

Today's K-W Record advises us that the province are looking at options including bounties and contests to lower the coyote population in southern Ontario. The article is "Province set to target coyotes". It has been suggested that their population has tripled in the last seven years. Personally I've lived in and extremely near to rural areas for the last twenty years and am amazed at only actually seeing coyotes with my own eyes a total of three or four times. This includes once on the outskirts of Kitchener, once outside West Montrose and a year ago outside Hawkesville. My understanding is that although coyotes are certainly opportunists who won't turn down stray small pets, chickens etc. they generally subsist on mice, voles rats and groundhogs . Also from watching the Nature of Things on television it appears that attempts to eradicate or even seriously lower coyote populations through traps, shooting or poisoning have been unsucessful. Certainly the poisoning or trapping concerns me as it could easily target other species.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


In yesterday's Elmira Independent, my Letter to the Editer was published. Basically I am responding to the feign moral outrage over the last several weeks by Susan Bryant and Pat Mclean. My Letter to the Editer suggests that what they are outraged about is that the new Council did not automatically rubberstamp the old CPAC, the way former Mayor Bill Strauss and company did. Now I found the title put to my Letter to the Editer to be a little deceptive, whether intentional or not. The title "New township council is "cleaning house" at CPAC is not what I said. If the Editer of the Independent, Gail Martin, believes that to be the case then fine she is entitled to her opinion. Not wishing to be hypocritical I will state that if indeed a number of the old CPAC aren't reappointed then I certainly will not be unhappy. Also I am the first to admit that it has been a long difficult wait for the new CPAC to be announced.

This is obscene. Whether or not they pump this much or not, how dare our governments GIVE our groundwater away to a private corporation. It isn't theirs to give, it's everybodies. Today's Kitchener- Waterloo Record has the following story "Wellington Water Watchers opposes Nestle proposal". Nestle's are asking the Ontario M.O.E. for an unprecedented 10 year water taking permit. There will be a march this Saturday starting at 10 Carden St. at noon hour. The march will go to the Nestle Aberfoyle plant by 3:30 pm.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Today's K-W Record carries this story on page B4: "Agency says inactive sand and gravel sites may pose threat to drinking water". Apparently our Ontario Ministry of the Environment has been requested by the Lake Erie Source protection Committee to look into issues around closed gravel pits as to how they might negatively affect groundwater and thus drinking water. Of greatest concern would be gravel pits which go below the water table thus exposing the aquifer to potential contamination. Also mentioned were ponds in these rehabilitated sites. I'm thinking of Snyder Flats in Bloomingdale among others. Here the GRCA touts the enhanced beauty post gravel extraction and rehabilitation. This is nonsense. Ponds may look nice but they are direct conduits to the shallow aquifer and probably to deeper aquifers. Also mentioned in this article is the potential for contaminated fill material to be placed in the sites during reclamation work. This is more than just a possiblity here in Woolwich. Years ago I reported to the M.O.E. foundry sands (with phenolic resins in them) being used as fill in a gravel pit on Hwy # 86 outside Elmira. These sands were from the former Procast Foundry in Elmira. The evidence of this improper waste disposal in this gravel pit was indisputable as Procast conveniently sent along their paper office garbage with their letterhead on it. The reality is that at best the M.O.E. may print off some stricter regulations regarding gravel pit rehabilitation but the enforcement will be slim or nil.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Is there any chance that they could be a source of the contamination of the Municipal Aquifer that closed the drinking wells in Elmira 22 years ago? The simple answer is of course they could be. Is there overwhelming proof to back this up? The answer at this point in time is absolutely not. Due to, in my opinion, intentional non investigation of other sources (other than Uniroyal/Chemtura) the hydrogeological investigation in this area has never been done. It still could be and should be. The only reasons for being suspicious are the nature of the business and well CH38 located at Oriole Pkwy and Industrial Dr. Historically high readings of NDMA in this location simply don't match that which is coming from Uniroyal. Yes Borg is a possibility but keep in mind Sanyo are literally right there. In regards to the nature of the business, cutting fluids are a strong concern. Everything from straight water to solvents and or emulsifiers are routinely used in metal machining industries. Only an honest investigation will determine the truth. To date we've had no such thing.