Thursday, June 30, 2011


Today's K-W Record has this story: "$600,000 will fund Grand River research". There was a time when I naively believed that tax money spent on environmental or pollution issues was all to the good. This article admits that "We've got to be one of the most studied watersheds in Canada". It also states that river managers such as the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) are using research to learn " much more and what kinds of human interference the river can endure.". Studies which give us information as to the effects of climate change, dams and land use policies are a good idea. What I am more interested in seeing in the Grand River is more cleanups of contaminated sites along the river such as Safety-Kleen, Canadian General Tower and even Chemtura (Uniroyal) which is five miles upstream (Canagagigue Creek). In other words all the studies in the world are useless if the politicians either ignore them or block their conclusions being implemented.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The following was presented last evening by yours truly to Woolwich Council.
Good evening Mayor Cowan, Woolwich Councillors, Staff, media and fellow citizens:

Yesterday morning I had the privelege of attending a meeting here at the Township Building with Staff in regards to a site plan for a proposed expansion of an industrial facility. Not for the first time I have been very impressed with the ability of Mr. Scarfone to clearly explain planning process and procedure to me. He and Mr. Miller took me through the proposed site plans for Safety-Kleen in Breslau. From what I was told and shown via the blueprints, I do believe that Township Staff are doing their utmost, on behalf of both Woolwich and Waterloo Region residents , to maximize the benefits of this expansion to the public. The problem is this: Councillor Bauman may recall during his last term on Council, publicly stating that he would not approve construction upon contaminated lands. I do understand from Mr. Scarfone and Mr. Miller that removal and replacement of contaminated soils SPECIFICALLY & IMMEDIATELY beneath proposed buildings etc. will occur. Ignoring for the moment other environmental concerns that this action will not address, I wish to point out to Council the issue of vapour intrusion into buildings built upon or near contaminated sites. This relatively new phenomenon is receiving substantial attention south of the border and here in Waterloo Region has caused massive health problems and deaths in the Bishop St. community in Cambridge. Therefore I am advising Woolwich Council to not approve construction on or behind the Safety-Kleen site without fully informing themselves as to the potential consequences . I also offer my services in regards to waste disposal history, hydrogeological studies, and past and present discriptions of the Safety-Kleen site, including the Ministry of the Environment’s reference to this site as being “grossly contaminated”.
My next comments are in relation to CPAC’s participation in Chemtura’s “Responsible Care” reverification this summer. While I strongly applaud CPAC’s intent by nominating Dr. Dan Holt to this team, therein lies the rub. CPAC as the alleged legitimate representatives of the public should be the ones doing the appointing, not the nominating. Instead Chemtura Canada under the process of the Chemical Industry Association are in charge of who they appoint to examine themselves. Have we ever heard the expression of the fox guarding the henhouse? Let me be very clear here. I have absolute faith in Dr. Dan Holt. I have less than zero faith in one of Chemtura’s other alleged community representatives . This other appointee is a member of the National Advisory Panel of the Chemical Industry Association. She is and has been paid for her time and expenses by the Chemical Industry and she chose not to advise the public of this apparent conflict of interest while being involved as a past member of CPAC. She has in the past promoted and endorsed Chemtura receiving the “Responsible Care” designation and I personally feel that is outrageous. Therefore I ask both Woolwich Council and CPAC to either demand that both community representatives be appointed by them or in the alternative to advise Chemtura that Woolwich Township is not interested in being involved in rubber stamping or assisting Chemtura in their public relations exercises.

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Last Friday I indicated that I would confirm if possible the change in starting time from 6 to 6:30 pm. I received yesterday my Agenda and Minutes and indeed the 6:30 starting time in the Council Chambers is there and highlighted. Similar to the Agenda of three weeks ago this one is extremely light as there will be an Orientation Session put on by Chemtura. Quite frankly I doubt that it can be much more of a waste of time than the one CPAC received from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment on June 8/11. Although that Orientation told us what the M.O.E. is supposed to be doing, there was a large gap between that and the reality. The next CPAC meeting is scheduled for July 28/11 and the one after that is on August 25/11. To date while not totally convinced that this new CPAC are permanently off the rails, I must still ask from what possible source is the Mayor receiving CPAC advice? He clearly wants nothing to do with the old CPAC and despite a couple of olive branches from my direction, appears to be charting his own course in stormy, dangerous and uncharted waters. I have posted here in the Advocate (June 6 & 11) various issues that should be on CPAC's agenda but to date have been ignored.

Monday, June 27, 2011


This morning I've been invited to a discussion with the Township of Woolwich Planning Department in regards to the proposed Safety-Kleen expansion. This was part of the agreement around my settling my referral to the O.M.B. over this matter. To date I've been very pleased with the cooperation and willingness I've seen from Township Staff. These discussions concern a zoning change and site plans. My concerns are in conjunction with building upon heavily contaminated lands that should have been remediated properly decades ago.

Tomorrow night I am a registered delegate at the Woolwich Council meeting (7 pm.). I will be addressing Council on at least one issue possibly two, namely CPAC's involvement with Chemtura's reverification under the "Responsible Care" program of the Chemical Industry Association. This program while promoting a more responsible attitude by chemical companies at the same time has become a rubber stamp here in Elmira for Chemtura. This company's behaviour including the air release of BLE-25 last fall and their ongoing refusals to to do source removal of dioxins etc. is a clear indication of their lack of responsibility locally. Should either CPAC or Woolwich Township, in any manner whatsoever, reward bad behaviour by allowing this "Responsible Care" designation without a fight or at the least a public declaration that they do not approve it?

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Today's Woolwich Observer raises the possibility of future lack of food due to ever increasing removal of farmland for gravel extraction in their Editorial on page 10 titled "Food security adds new layer to gravel pit debate". The bottom line is "Food security is a growing issue, extending well beyond Woolwich, and must be given more weight as the province adopts the review called for this week.".

There was another public meeting around this CHL designation for the West Montrose area last Tuesday evening in Council Chambers. This will directly affect both the Capitol Paving and the Murray Group applications for gravel pits nearby. Dr. Kim Cuddington and Tony Dowling spoke in favour of the CHL designation with a Murray Group expressing his concerns about it. The Woolwich Observer in today's issue has the following story on page 7 "Moving closer to CHL designation".

Friday, June 24, 2011


As of Tuesday evenings Committee of the Whole meeting, the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee now stands at five members with the addition of Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, an Elmira resident and professor at the University of Waterloo. While painfully slow nevertheless each new good addition strengthens the whole. Best of luck Sebastian!


This Thursday evening, June 30/11 in the Council Chambers is the second public CPAC meeting of this term of Council. According to tomorrow's Woolwich Observer (out today) it starts at 6:30 pm. rather than the originally announced 6 pm. I will try to confirm this different start time before next Thursday.

Yesterday's Elmira Independent has the following story "Local MPP calls for gravel pit review". This would be MPP Leanna Pendergast, backed by former Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield. This is a good idea but as usual it is citizens leading the charge and politicians following. The Conestogo-Winterbourne Residents' Assoc. and Bridgekeepers have been doing battle literally for years now. The politicians are Johnny come latelies.

Nevertheless Pendergast correctly pointed out that there are currently 86 active gravel pits in Waterloo Region with 8 active applications. Tony Dowling emphasized the need for gravel but not the need to impact farmland, drinking water or historical sites such as the West Montrose Bridge. What we also all know is that gravel pits and residential development do not make good neighbours.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Visually either from Woolwich Rd. #17 looking down onto the Grand River or from an aerial view, it looks like a moonscape. This view will never make one of Carl Hiebert's stunning photographic books. A huge part of the problem is the Forwell Sand & Gravel pit(s) along the river. Thay are massive. The other part of the problem is Safety-Kleen. This site is and has been for decades an environmental abomination. Five former waste lagoons have contributed to the toxic contamination of both the shallow and deeper aquifers. Some of these contaminants have travelled by groudwater all the way to the former Regional drinking wells, K70 & K71. The really nasty stuff includes benzene, P.C.B.'s, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, hexachlorobenzene and pentachlorophenol. Historical overland travel of contaminants via a small creek discharging into the Grand River can hardly be ignored. The Region of Waterloo have long claimed that the influence of river water and bacteria are the reason these wells were closed. That is strange considering that they were built as induced infiltration (river water) wells. It is also strange as there are a number of other wellfields along the Grand River of a similar design. Currently Safety-Kleen are in the process of expanding onto their contaminated land with a warehouse, safety-flare and storm water pond. Yours truly is in discussions with the Planning Department of Woolwich Township in regards to zoning and site planning issues around this expansion.

The meeting for yesterday at 11 am. in the Woolwich Council Chambers was adjourned until a later unspecified date. I found this out when I showed up for the meeting. This proposed residential development is for the corner of Union and First Elmira. The location is the former apple orchard owned by Regional Chair Ken Seiling's mother prior to her passing on. Provincial guidelines had intended for properties beside chemical companies to be zoned industrial possibly commercial but certainly not residential. That oversight may well come back to bite Woolwich Council. The presence of Sulco, Chemtura and the former Varnicolor Chemical mere yards away is extremely dangerous and buffer zones are a good idea and more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Every once in a while it happens and a lot of credit must go to Tony Dowling and the entire Bridgekeepers group. Today's K -W Record carrys this story "Kitchener MPP calls for review of Aggregates Act". We now have not only our Municipal government, Woolwich Township onside, but apparently the Provincial Liberals are as well. Keep clearly in mind that this review of the Aggregates Act is long overdue and it has been so while the Liberals have been at the helm. Better late than never however. Historically, considerations of farmland, the environment and citizens enjoyment of their property has been given short shrift at the alter of gravel extraction. An appropriate balance of everyone's needs is required.

I am now aware of two vapour intrusion (TCE) sites in Cambridge. If the Region of Waterloo are not careful they could contribute to the creation of one in Kitchener. Today's K-W Record has the story "Family with special needs gets boot". This is in reference to the proposed widening of Weber St. from College to Guelph St in 2015. With all due respect to the family in this article, for me the serious environmental issue is the pool of Trichloroethylene (TCE) below ground less than a couple of hundred yards away from Weber St. near Wilhelm St. There have been a couple of articles in the Record with concerns expressed from neighbours about the old, long abandoned, former Electrohome factory. Allegedly TCE was dumped improperly decades ago and the current situation is one of apparent minor concern. TCE is known as a DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid) chemical and DNAPL can gravity flow through the sub surface especially if it is disturbed. Obviously excavations and widening of Weber St. is going to be disturbing the sub surface. This story clearly indicates the need for an Environmental Assessment and it is my hope that it will be done with considerable attention focused on the nearby DNAPL and possible mobilization of it that could occur.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As usual I received this monthly report late last week via courier. Both the on and off site hydraulic containment pumping are going strong. I believe this is three months in a row of the pumping rates meeting the expected target rates.

Figure D.3 is a bar graph showing the difference in water levels between the surface water (Canagagigue Creek) and the nearby groundwater levels. As long as the groundwater levels via pumping are kept below the surface water levels, then in theory the Chemtura site is "contained" and not discharging into the creek. What I have trouble understanding is why some of these monitoring pairs (Ground vs. surface water) have a difference of between .3 and .7 metre and others as little as .05 metre. I'm skeptical that .05 metre guarantees hydraulic containment.

Table C.2 deals with surface water quality. Chemtura's consultants (CRA) have a statistical method which supposedly determines if there is a significant difference between chemical concentrations upstream and downstream of the Chemtura site. Usually there is little "statistical" difference however if one simply compares upstream to downstream numbers and ignore the statistical comparisons what one finds is that the following chemicals, all have slightly higher downstream than upstream concentrations. They are NDMA, NMOR, Ethylbenzene and Toluene. Certainly this could be coincidental despite the fact that these four chemicals and many more are all in Chemtura's groundwater.

Table E.1 lists the thickness of LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid) at various monitoring wells on the Chemtura site. The thickness of undissolved solvents floating on the water table vary from a trace up to .41 metres thick. That's right .41 metre or about 16 inches thick. A lot of this LNAPL will consist of the same Toluene as mentioned in the previous paragraph. This free phase LNAPL floating on the water table, decades after it's discovery, is but one more reason I am convinced that the "cleanup" underway is a joke and a sham. The technology exists to remove this LNAPL and is not being implemented due to cost considerations. This is not progress.

Monday, June 20, 2011


On June 7/11 here in the Advocate, I posted some ideas and opinions regarding Light Rapid Transit. Two recent but after the big vote comments have caught my eye. Steve Kannon of the Woolwich Observer (pg. 12) has in my opinion quite accurately pointed out tha lack of accountability of politicians when it comes to massive spending projects. As Steve says, rarely as in never, do politicians put anybody's money but yours and mine at risk. While they just about guarantee a project will be sucessful and are always willing to take the credit, the chance of them taking responsibility if it fails is unlikely. Similarily we have comments by Peter Shawn Taylor in last Friday's K-W Record. His focus is more on the possibilty of financial cost overuns and eventual failure than on any personal accountability. Apparently this scenario has occurred in other jurisdictions and literally after millions of dollars have been spent, the whole project has been scrapped.

Today's K-W Record again informs us that eradication efforts are falling behind. Apparently the most common method of removal is via digging them up and or removing the flowers so the seeds can't spread. As recently as yesterday while out walking on the Kissing Bridge Trail in Elmira with my family for Father's Day, we spotted an unusual looking plant. While only about four feet tall it had an incredibly thick and sturdy looking stalk. I figure this was probably Giant Hogweed. Most importantly is Do Not Touch. The sap is caustic and can cusae severe burns. It also makes your skin extremely sensitive to sunlight. Last summer I wore a beard because my face had suddenly become very sensitive to sunlight and I suspect that either directly or indirectly via the family dog I had come in contact with this plant. Well this summer while not as bad, my face seems itchy whenever I'm in the sun. Hard to be sure though.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


In the mid 2000's there was a cleanup of creekbank soils and sediments along the west side of the Canagagigue Creek. Although very high concentrations were found in the south-west corner of the Chemtura site nevertheless excavations were also done through the central part and up as high as the on-site dam. None of these Dioxins (& DDT) originated in the creek itself. They may or may not have occurred as a result of dredging the creek as we have been advised in the past. Again the Dioxins did not originate in the creek but instead were deposited there after years of groundwater flow through butied pits on the west side of the creek. Both Dioxins and DDT while somewhat hydrophobic, do flow in solvent contaminated groundwater which is plentiful on the Chemtura site. Similarily on the east side of the creek any subsurface Dioxins and DDT will flow via solvent contaminated groundwater into the creek. Therefore it is these known areas of Dioxin contamination that are the source of all the creek contamination that needs to be removed. These areas would include GP1 & 2 on the east side (most readily accessible) as well as P1 and M2 on the west side.

Friday, June 17, 2011


The above headline is from the K-W Record, written by Bob Burtt, on March 15, 1991. This article not only details the specific and extraordinarily toxic forms of Dioxin in the soil at Uniroyal (Chemtura) but also the fact that the concentrations at Uniroyal are the highest of any site in Ontario. One part per billion at that time was considered the maximum soil concentrations allowable. Nineteen parts per billion were found at that time at Uniroyal. Since then the toxicity of Dioxin has been upgraded via scientific studies and much higher concentrations have been found at Uniroyal (Chemtura). The expert being quoted, Brendan Birmingham, was testifying before the Ontario Environmental Appeal Board into the Uniroyal crisis. No excuse whatsoever is adequate to further postpone Dioxin removals at Chemtura.

Today's Elmira Independent has the report on the first public CPAC meeting since last November. This in fact, like the next public CPAC meeting scheduled for June 30/11, was actually an orientation meeting for the new CPAC members put on by the M.O.E.. I attended and was not impressed by the M.O.E.'s "orientation". Due to my presence as a delegation at the prior Woolwich Council meeting we were able to add a discussion of Dioxin removal from Chemtura's S.E. corner, namely the GP1 & 2 area. As I had written here a week ago yesterday, Gail Martin also concurred that it was Dan Holt and Vivienne Delaney who did the pushing of Chemtura towards Dioxin removal this summer. As per Wednesday's posting here in the Advocate; unless the Township step in firmly in opposition, I feel that Chemtura's reverification is a done deal, courtesy of the presence of former CPAC Chair Pat Mclean. Her participation as a community rep while being paid to be on the National Advisory panel of the Chemical Industry (C.I.A.C.) is an abomination and a disgrace.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I've received an acknowledgement from the Office of the Environmental Bill of Rights. This letter is thanking myself and Ken Driedger for our Application for Review in regards to public consultation and Chemtura Canada here in Elmira. We are advised that the Ontario M.O.E. will contact us by August 6, 2011 with an answer in regards to our request for review. We are promised that if a review is not undertaken then we "will be provided with a rationale for this decision..."

Last Monday I started a listing of the known (public) fires, explosions and spills into air or water at Chemtura/Uniroyal. Today is the end of my list only going back twenty-five years.

September discharge from Misa 0200 copper
..................................sulphate & copper hydroxide
April .........1 ........1994 ....oil leak and fire

March .........12 .......1994 ....Chlorine spill (air) used in production
..................................of sodium hypochloride
November ......12 .......1993 ....Fire in Bldg # 33 Toluene
..................................Diisocyanate was present in the building
December ......23 .......1992 ....Fire on roof of Administration building

May ...........22 .......1991 ....Toluene leak into sump ignited by a
..................................welder's torch
March .........19 .......1991 ....liquid ammonia spilled into the "Gig"
..................................Uniroyal fined $16,000
February ......3 ........1987 ....carbon disulphide cloud released
..................................$200,000 damage at Uniroyal
June ..........27 .......1984 ....Hydrogen Chloride gas escaped from
..................................a pipe local residents complained
..................................of "choking gas"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I've been warning Woolwich Council and the new CPAC for months that Chemtura were going to steal this reverification that comes around every three years with the C.I.A.C. (Chemical Industry Assoc'n of Canada). I even told them how they were going to do it. Former Councillor (prior to 2006) and former CPAC Chair Pat McLean was rewarded for her leadership in bringing Chemtura into the "Responsible Care" designation of the C.I.A.C.. She was rewarded by an appointment from the C.I.A.C. to their National Advisory Panel. This is a paid position involving at a minimum per diem expenses for attendance at meetings and at a maximun $350/day above and beyond expenses. This $350/day is based on Pat's allegedly bragging to one of her former colleagues here in Elmira.

CPAC and Council were informed by me that Pat Mclean was one of the supposed community representatives on Chemtura's reverification committee this summer. This is just so wrong on so many levels. Firstly she is already in the C.I.A.C. fold. It is my opinion that she is strongly biased in favour of Chemtura and this is further clarified by numerous monitoring concessions that she and two other CPAC members have led through CPAC the last several years. By the way one of those Ron Ormson is also on the C.I.A.C. National Advisory Panel and has been for years. I will at least credit Ron for being up front about that. Pat NEVER publicly informed CPAC about this gross conflict of interest of being Chair of a citizens committee while being paid to sit on the C.I.A.C. Natiuonal Advisory panel.

The new CPAC made efforts to appoint two representatives to the reverification committee. Chemtura however advised them that no, only one was required as two others were already appointed. One was from their West Hill facility and one from the C.I.A.C. Yesterday Dwight Este by e-mail advised the Mayor and CAO of Woolwich Township that Dr. Dan Holt from the new CPAC was the community rep along with, you guessed it, Pat McLean. Pat's appointment was justified by claiming that she is a member of a second community stakeholder group known as the APTE Chemtura Committee. How convenient is this? This new "committee" is nothing more than the old CPAC members playing. It is a private group (members only) talking to Chemtura. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Where it goes off the rails is the moment that Chemtura claim some community status for these private discussions. By the way I have long believed that the old CPAC were in bed with Chemtura. At least now their chummy status with the company is a little more obvious. The former watchdog is now a lapdog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This news was given to us at a CPAC meeting back in March 2010. These are of course the same wells first ordered in the original Control Order laid on Varnicolor Chemical in 1990. These deep wells then mysteriously disappeared when Philip Environmental took over the site later on. This most recent reincarnation was written about in the March 17, 2010 Elmira Independent. This is one more item that we should be receiving an update from the M.O.E. on at the next CPAC meeting June 30/11 at 6 pm.. The possible significance is that the Varnicolor cleanup was strictly a shallow one. There was some evidence of deeper contamination based upon a couple of deeper boreholes (including NDMA). The question for the site now owned by 3/8 Inc (Elmira Pump) is how many wells and how deep and exactly where will they be located.

Similarily I've asked for shallow boreholes and monitoring wells between Borg Textile and Sanyo Canada. This will aid us in determining if either of these sites are responsible for the historically high levels of NDMA in well CH38 at the corner of Industrial Dr. and Oriole Parkway. This was included in my proposed Agenda for the first CPAC meeting this year, which I sent to Woolwich township.

Monday, June 13, 2011


For those not in the know, "legal" air emissions are differentiated from "illegal" ones in that the former are ruled by Certificate of Approvals (C. of A.s) issued by the Ontario M.O.E.. Yes in my opinion C. of A.s are licenses to pollute. Yes attached to them is some wording referring to points of impingement and or below health standards but it is still air pollution by toxic chemicals. Following is a list of "incidents" at Chemtura (Uniroyal) over the last thirteen years. I was requested by a new CPAC member to do this weeks ago but have been very busy. I promised to go back twenty years so I have another six photograph albums of newspaper clippings to work my way through.


June 9 2011 vent stack fire
March 31 2011 fire, hot oil on insulation
September 28 2010 BLE-25 release
July 19 2006 explosion & fire localized evacuations done
March 29 2006 explosion & fire propane type container
April 10 2005 small welding shop fire
June 11 2004 explosion & fire and large black cloud
across Elmira
April 2003 thermal oxidizer caught fire
March 27 2002 release of chlorinated municipal water
kills minnows
January 2002 "thermal shock" from hot water release
kills minnows
October 15 2001 acid spilled into the Canagagigue ("Gig")
September 2001 spill of treted cooling water
August 22 2001 spill of Naugard or chemical waste water
kills fish
August 1 2001 spill of naclean 68
June 2000 small fire in ventilation ductwork
April 11 2000 carbon regeneration kiln -a leaking
dust collection bag "white specks"
February 10 2000 Toluene spill into Elmira S.T.P. & into air
heat exchanger failed the "pink spill"
August 17 1999 M.O.E. Field Order re: ongoing odourous
air emissions
September 16 1998 first M.O.E. Field Order re: ongoing
odourous air emissions

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Woolwich Township and Mayor Cowan are so incredibly up the creek without a paddle, a GPS or even a clue as to what they are doing, that it's gone beyond humiliating. Despite all my fact based criticisms of the last version of CPAC, they at least knew how to make CPAC look credible. What they are now is an embarassment. This is unfair to the citizens of Elmira and Woolwich as well as to the two CPAC members who currently want to do their civic duty, honestly and responsibly. CPAC and Woolwich Township are lucky to still have Dan and Vivienne as members but the Mayor and some Council probably don't think so after last Wednesday's first public meeting (see Thurs. June 9/11 Elmira Advocate). Mayor Cowan is so desperate for more members (currently 4 with 1 excellent prospect-Sebastien) that he's even gone back, hat in hand, to the old CPAC. This is a huge mistake for all the reasons he enunciated during and after his election campaign. In a nutshell, they've thrown in the towel on a source removal based cleanup years ago, without having the courage or honesty to inform the public.

Last Monday (June 6/11) here in the Advocate, I listed a number of important items that were not on the first Agenda and indeed which were not added to it. The list of issues which are either being ignored or swept under the rug or simply the Mayor (Interim Chair) doesn't even know of their existence and importance is unbelievable. Yes we had a discussion of buried Dioxins at GP1&2. We did not mention or discuss returning Odour Issues since last summer, Vapour Intrusion from Varnicolor Chemical into First St. homes or businesses, two ongoing air peer reviews concerning Chemtura and finally eight new shallow wells between Borg textiles and Sanyo Canadian.

What has been ignored by all the parties is that the Control Order while laid upon Chemtura, deals with the entire Elmira Aquifer. The 2028 deadline for the Aquifer(s) to be restored encompasses contamination outside of the Chemtura site. The Ontario M.O.E. and Chemtura know this and are desperately trying to ignore and avoid it. This is why I am so confident that the 2028 deadline is a sham. Speaking of shams, unless this CPAC starts sitting on a weekly basis to get caught up on all the other issues I haven't listed, they never will. The Township have intimated and hinted that they have the expertise themselves to do CPAC's work. Good luck with that because one you don't and two that kind of makes a farce of public consultation, now doesn't it?

Friday, June 10, 2011

WHAT DO THESE DATES HAVE IN COMMON (Sept.28/10, March 31/11, June 9/11)

These dates are the three most recent dates of illegal emissions, fires or explosions at Chemtura Canada in Elmira. I was asked weeks ago to produce a list of all the fires, explosions and emissions over the last twenty years at Chemtura in Elmira. I apologize for my tardiness and will try to get at it this weekend. The last event (yesterday) apparently was relatively minor if such a thing is possible at a chemical plant. Today's Woolwich Observer has the story "Fire brings crews to Chemtura plant".

The public meeting was held last Tuesday June 7/11 and was attended by about 50 people. There is a writeup in this week's Woolwich Observer (pg.1) with the catchy title of "Lots of love for the bus at public meeting". Overall opinions seemed to be strongly in favour of Woolwich Township keeping and paying for this service. This service has been going since April 2009 with slowly increasing ridership since.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Last evenings first public CPAC meeting since November 2010 was held. When I got home afterwards I advised my wife that in my opinion, the Chemtura representatives, once home, would immediately be applying icepacks to their groins and the interim Chair, Mayor Cowan, putting one on his head. It's not that Mayor Cowan has one headache, he has two. Their names are Dan Holt and Vivienne Delaney and they were spectacular. Not since Henry Regier and I were in our primes have I seen such a tag team . While outnumbered by the Ministry of the Environment and Chemtura, literally seven to two, this pair cut through the drivel, the excuses and the horse manure that Elmira is famous for. Both Mayor Cowan and CPAC member Ron Campbell appeared to be supporting Chemtura's measured (ie. slow) pace. CAO Dave Brenneman was awfully quiet especially for him. I still don't have CPAC member David Marks fully figured out yet. While not obviously taking sides with Chemtura and the M.O.E., nevertheless on a couple of occasions he expressed a desire to hear more of the M.O.E. and Chemtura Orientations before delving into Dioxins in the GP1&2 waste areas. This I find a little disappointing as it indicates to me that he has not been actively pursuing getting up to speed. Dan and Vivienne were both incredible in their focus and in their tone and attitude. Yours truly in the past has been known to get exasperated with intentional obstruction, deflection and delay. Dan and Vivienne were polite, courteous and respectful at all times but they would not be put off, ignored or shut down and Mayor Cowan tried especially hard to do that to Vivienne, unsucessfully.

As a formal delegation to CPAC I had started the ball rolling by asking the CPAC members to refuse their approval for Chemtura's upcoming Reverification by the Chemical Industry Association of Canada. I felt that until or unless Chemtura provided a written commitment that they would finally remove their buried Dioxins on site this year, that CPAC's approval must be withheld. Dan followed up with the July 2003 "Request for Action" document that had been passed unanimously by CPAC shortly thereafter. The M.O.E. on behalf of Chemtura tried to suggest that CPAC's priorities had changed over the years and thus both the Ministry (M.O.E.) and Chemtura were simply responding to more recent priorities. Yours truly as both the co-author of the July 2003 document and as the only unaffiliated citizen present tried to add my two cents, history wise, but was shut down by the Mayor until the "Public Forum" section of the Agenda. At that time I pointed out that the July 2003 "Request for Action" was unanimously passed by CPAC in the presence of both Chemtura and the M.O.E.. Furthermore that document had never been amended, repudiated or even criticized in the following eight years at any public CPAC meeting. I challenged any and all parties to come up with any CPAC Minutes which would dispute my facts. I also pointed out that if this document which includes the removal of Dioxins at GP1&2 was ever privately amended or renegotiated, outside of the public CPAC venue, then those changes were bogus and illegitimate.

A few more points. Based on the time frames for soil testing lab turnaround times (2-3 weeks) as well as the 2-4 weeks of actual excavation required, there is ample time to do the work this season. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura suggested these times and I must also advise that I was pleased that he was forthcoming in regards to the seriousness of Dioxins in the natural environment. Finally the next public CPAC meeting originally scheduled for next Wednesday June 15 has been postponed until Thursday June 30/11 at 6 pm.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Well I guess it should have been obvious. If old plumbing pipes in residential homes are made of lead then why not in old buildings such as schools etc.? Today's K-W Record has the following story "Fountains off limits after high lead levels found at two schools". My understanding is that lead pipes leaching lead into the drinking water has only been recognized as a serious health issue for the past thirty or fourty years. We all know about lead paint and how ingestion of it by toddlers can be serious. Similarily small toys made from lead have been banned for decades. It does lead one to question why the highly paid big shots at the local School Boards are just figuring out now that there could be issues in their older schools.

The other issue for me is this. How many other either natural (lead, asbestos etc.) or totally manmade building materials are out there that are health hazards that we haven't recognized yet? We do of course know what happens when PVC's in buildings burn namely emissions of toxic fumes. Manmade materials in furniture , rugs and draperies can emit fumes. I often suspect that our reliance on chemistry and new products may eventually be the end of mankind. Did I mention BEHP and pthalates in plastic bottles and on and on. Getting back to schools, especially for the younger students, wouldn't it be a good idea to proactively remove these lead pipes rather than just testing the drinking water and shutting fountains temporarily?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Light rapid transit, light rail transit??? $800 million dollars??? I've been torn over this issue. My family and I spent five years in Toronto in the mid 1980's. We parked our car Sunday night in the underground parking at our apartment building and there it stayed until the following weekend. Public transit (subways & buses) are fabulous in Toronto. As an environmentalist, anything that keeps people out of cars and puts them into public transit is good news. But the cost!!! And for me the politicians involved. I've been around long enough to no longer be naive. There is a lawyer's joke which I'm going to adapt here to politicians. "Its not fair that 99% of politicians give all the rest a bad name." My dilemna was in wondering if LRT is merely the "Legacy" project that all politicians want their names associated with.

I have a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Waterloo (1974). I've known for some time that our and the world's economic systems are not sustainable. Too many people (and growing) and too few resources (shrinking rapidly). This isn't rocket science. Well thank you Steve Kannon of the Woolwich Observer. Steve has nailed my economic and LRT concerns right on the head. Last Saturday's (June 4/11 pg.#14) Observer has the following story "LRT debate based on Ponzi-scheme economics." If you haven't already read this Editorial please do. If you have read it, please do so again. Simply put the Region of Waterloo are placing all their eggs in the unsustainable mantra that growth will solve everything. It doesn't! It causes huge and eventually overwhelming problems. People wake up and see what a mess we are leaving our children and grandchildren.

Monday, June 6, 2011


First off Thank you to Woolwich Township for continuing to send me Minutes and Agendas for CPAC meetings in advance. Not only in advance but in fact several more days in advance than occurred with the old CPAC.

What concerns me is that this Agenda for Wednesday evening is literally a skeleton. This is probably due to the fact that both this week (June 8) and next week (June 15) were initially NOT intended to be proper public CPAC meetings but instead were Orientation Sessions for the new CPAC members. I used to complain about the paucity of old CPAC public meetings when they occurred every couple of months. We now have a backlog of issues that need to be addressed and discussed such as Odour Complaints. These were raised both last summer and last November by Shannon Purves Smith and she and her neighbours deserve the courtesy of a response. Without this even being on the Agenda that could be difficult. Speaking of next week's public CPAC meeting, it appears that it may even be in doubt. Further information will be forthcoming.

At the moment Dioxin removal from GP1 & 2 is not listed on the Agenda however my presentation to Woolwich Council last Monday was included in the package so perhaps we can conclude that under Update of Agenda it will be added. Also literally Life and Death issues such as Vapour Intrusion in the area of First St. and Howard Ave. west of Union St., if not discussed, at least should be delegated to someone to investigate. Chemtura and the old CPAC were also investigating the NDMA plume east and south of the Chemtura site. This included a re-examination of the Lot 91 site monitoring wells, Control Order and provincial officer's Report. There are also two seperate peer reviews of air issues supposed to be in the works.

I am the first to agree that what I've listed plus everything else I haven't listed aren't likely to all be covered this Wednesday evening. This is why weeks and months ago I was submitting proposed Agendas to Woolwich Township. These proposed Agendas included eight proposed CPAC public meeting dates. One thing that is on Wednesday's Agenda is Item 7.3.1 Meeting Schedule. Please CPAC do not scrimp on these public meetings, do not as is custom, take the summer months off and do not only book two or three meetings in advance. If you want public attendance, not to mention your own very slim members attendance, then have the courtesy of putting out a solid schedule for at the least the remainder of 2011.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


These are all posted in this week's Woolwich Observer and all are environmentally significant.

1) Tuesday June 7, 2011 there will be a public Open House held at the Woolwich Memorial Centre from 7- 9pm. (Community Centre Room). This Open House is in regards to Grand River Transit- Bus Route #21. This of course is the bus route which connects Elmira/St.Jacobs with Constoga Mall and Kitchener-Waterloo. My wife has used this service perhaps a half dozen times, myself a little less however my son has been using it regularily to attend Wilfred Laurier University for the last two years.

2) Round 8 of the Community Lead Testing Program is starting imminently and consists of a water operator with Township of Woolwich ID. visiting homes in St. Jacobs, Elmira, Conestogo Plains and Maryhill. They will test for the presence of lead pipes or service lines into your house. Do not kid yourself, this is serious stuff and if the Township and M.O.E. are doing this work free of charge then you really want to cooperate.

3) Wednesday June 8, 2011 at 6 pm. in the Council Chambers, the first public CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) meeting in nearly seven months will occur. The evening time frame is new and is designed to make it easier for the public to attend. There will be an Orientation Session for the new CPAC presented by the Ministry of the Environment and whether or not it is slanted or biased to make them look good, it should still be interesting. The Agenda currently is very short although there may be some additions to it. Yours truly is a registered delegate and will speak to CPAC in regards to the "Application For Review" which I and former CPAC member Ken Driedger have filed with the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. The new CPAC may see a connection between their imminent behaviour and decisions and how it could affect their long term viability and credibility with the public. It is my belief and position that the new CPAC, currently consisting of only four members, face an immediate acid test regarding Chemtura's "Responsible Care" reverification.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Yesterday's Elmira Independent carries the front page story "Marshall pushes for removal of dioxins".
As well today's Woolwich Observer on page 9 has the following story: "CPAC to look into Marshall's call for dioxin cleanup". A few points need to be made in regards to the Independent's story." "They should discuss it at CPAC, and bring it back to Council for the June meeting" said Bauman." Are you kidding me Councillor Bauman? One I've been asking for a CPAC public meeting since the CPAC appointments mostly done last November were finally made public April 19/11. Two I've been both to Council over three weeks ago in regards to Dioxins at Chemtura as well as having a majority of the new CPAC on side in regards to Dioxin removal since late April, prior to Council (Mayor & 1 Councillor) totally mismanaging CPAC resulting in the loss of three members.

At the Love Canal in New York State, between 1974 and 1978, 56% of children born had birth defects. At most of the American Dioxin locations, health studies were undertaken. Despite community pressure here two decades ago they were consistently refused by local and provincial authorities. This is to their everlasting shame. Now in today's Observer Dwight Este of Chemtura has the nerve to suggest that they wish "to begin the consultative process this summer". What planet, what Universe are you from? The July 2003 Request for Action was UNANIMOUSLY passed by CPAC advising removal among other things of DIOXINS from Chemtura's south-east corner (GP1 & 2). Dwight also says "Input from CPAC specifically and the community at large will play an important role." Since when??? You and the Ontario M.O.E. have IGNORED CPAC and the community's input for twenty years. In conjunction with Woolwich Council you've run us in circles for two decades and now you think you're back to square one with a new Council and CPAC and you're going "to begin the consultative process this summer". OVER MY DEAD COLD BODY Dwight.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


The Chemtura (formerly Uniroyal) Public Advisory Committee currently is an embarassing puppet of Council. For many years it was a much more subtle puppet of Council as the Chair (a former Councillor) was on the same page as the former Mayor. In a nutshell CPAC and the former UPAC have been nothing but an arm's length extension of Woolwich Council's intent to do little or nothing while giving the appearance of solving a problem. This is precisely why the new Mayor was able to campaign on the need to reform CPAC, as the toxins including DNAPL and Dioxins are still in the ground and the Elmira Aquifer is going nowhere fast cleanup wise.

Hence I have sent an APPLICATION FOR REVIEW to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO). The new Mayor talked a good cleanup but his actions have been to date the exact opposite. When I say I have sent this Application to the ECO, in fact Ken Driedger and I together have done so. Ken is a former member of CPAC who withdrew his membership application to CPAC last March. Ken took his time and spoke to a number of people including myself prior to his carefully determined decision. In fact I had at that time been trying very hard to keep his membership application in, as I still felt that the Mayor was going to honour his promises to me and to CPAC. The final straw for Ken I believe were the new Terms of Reference. Again in fact the only persons who spoke at Woolwich Council with concerns over these proposed Terms of Reference were Ken and I. He was the more critical of the two of us and in hindsight he was correct.

This REVIEW is a request to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) through the ECO to examine and review legal and binding Control Orders laid upon Uniroyal/Chemtura regarding the cleanup of their contaminated propoerty. The review is to focus on the absence in these Control Orders of mandated public consultation through a public advisory committee or a citizens advisory panel. This is a huge gap or absence in the process and should have been put in these Control Orders from day one. If the M.O.E. review and agree then this will permanently enshrine the rights of local citizens to have an independent public advisory committee to push Chemtura into complying with their Control Orders. No longer will the citizens be ruled (and removed) arbitrarily by the Council of the day. No longer will Council appoint voting members who have financial considerations and duties to Council that could cloud their independent judgement of the right thing to do. No longer will CPAC through Council follow the golden rule of municipal politicians which is to never annoy the upper tiers of government, namely the province.

This REVIEW is not automatic and it is not guaranteed. Nevertheless the M.O.E. if they turn it down will have to respond to the ECO who themselves are an independent body with considerable influence, prestige and clout. It is my hope that the M.O.E. will seriously examine this REVIEW and decide that it is indeed appropriate to have these public consultaion rights enshrined in the Control Order(s).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Representing them at Monday night's televised Council meeting was Keri Martin Vrbanac. She did an excellent job speaking to the proposed Hunder gravel pit although the proposed expansion to the Kuntz/Jigs Hollow Pit was also shown on the overhead screen. Experts hired by the CWRA have carefully examined numerous issues allegedly taken care of according to the experts hired by the developers. These issues include noise abatement studies which the CWRA experts have deemed invalid. Dust abatement studies were deemed inaccurate and total aggregate quantity and quality estimates were deemed suspect. Also the proposed final rehabilitation has been deemed inadequate as well as the suggested height of the water table is still in question. That particular issue has always been of interest to me because it can fluctuate widely. Who could possibly deny that the water table right now isn't far higher than historically normal? Finally it was pointed out that indeed the Hunder Pit Application is going to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for determination and that the CWRA will be there as a party.