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.

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