Monday, October 31, 2011


Last Saturday's Woolwich Observer carrys this story: "Gravel foes look to new MPP for support". Our former M.P.P. Leanna Pendergast had come out in support of the two local citizens' groups opposed to the proposed gravel pits in West Montrose and Conestogo. Michael Harris the new M.P.P. (Conservative) has also indicated strong interest in the issues and wishes to become involved. Mr. Harris has also been named as Environment Critic by Tim Hudak, leader of the Conservative opposition in the Legislature. It appears that the Conservatives will support the governing Liberals' pledge to review the Aggregate Act. Tony Dowling of Bridgekeepers is hoping that the Liberals go beyond a mere review and legislate protections for farmland and communities against intrusive gravel pits.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I have included a photocopy of a June 11, 2004 article in the Elmira Independent the only local Michener award winning newspaper. As a further plug to the Elmira lndependent, let me say that they are the only media in the world to regularily attend and report on the activities of the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. The only purpose for including the top half of this attached page is to show the date and name of the newspaper. I will now read this article which refers to both the fuly 2003 Request For Action AND a CPAC Motion passed a year later '..
Cleanup to be monthly meeting at cpac by Gail Martin m CPAC's soil and water sub-committee is interested in making cleanup of the Crompton site happen more quickly. At this month's meeting, Alan Marshall, representing the soil and water committee, tabled a motion that would require clean-up of the Crompton site to be discussed at each and every meeting.

The motion was presented because of the slow pace of the site specific remediation assessment (SSRA), said Marshall. "I'm fed up to here with the SSRA", said Marshall.

He noted that CPAC has a motion on file that had been approved by the committee that seeks action on the crompton site- actual cleanup and remediation, not just studies.

The motion was seconded by Henry Regier, and passed by CPAC. Art Fletcher had attempted a motion to defer this item to the next meeting, but that motion failed, for the lack of a seconder.

Later, when CPAC members were taken on a tour of the crompton site, Susan Bryant noted one of the major areas of concern that prompted the motion.

On the southeast side of the creek, high levels of DDT have been discovered, in a deposit of approximately 53,000 parts per trillion.

The soil and water sub-committee contends that this deposit of contamination should be removed, especially considering the close proximity of the creek said Bryant.

"It's just too huge to leave here,"said Bryant. "And it's easy, as far as remediation goes."

Neither the fuly 2003 Request For Action nor the CPAC Motion mandating cleanup discussion at each and every CPAC meeting has ever been rescinded or amended . Both of them however have been ignored, forgotten and or repudiated informally and unofficiallywithout public debate or discussion. I commend this CPAC and all their voting members for bringing this groundbreaking document back to the forefront. I condemn the past CPAC and their fellow travellors for manipulating stickhandling and using political trickery to deflect, delay and destroy the long overdue cleanup of Elmira Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment represented here today have repeatedly advised CPAC that they the M.O.E would like CPAC's list of priorities. I believe that our M,O.E. have hearing problems. Perhaps their ears are full of background noise courtesy of CRA and Chemtura. Perhaps tleir ears are full of contaminated soil, DNAPLS and Dioxins. Perhaps they are desperately looking for a way out . They are caught between a rock and a sweetheart deal . You the new improved CPAC are the rock. The sweetheart deal is of their own making twenty-one years ago.

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

Friday, October 28, 2011


Now that title above is certainly taking literary license. I am slowly getting the feeling/impression that our Mayor (& Chair) Todd Cowan has created a monster that he wasn't expecting. I readily admit that at the moment this is speculation on my part but a number of factors including his erratic (aggressive) behaviour, strangely edited Minutes of meetings (see my posting of October 12/11 item #8), and the pronouncing of Agenda Item vetoes by the Chair give me concerns.

As far as a "monster" I mean that only in the best imaginable way possible. This new CPAC must seem like a monster to both Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Once again all CPAC voting members contributed and contributed strongly. Ron Campbell and David Marks, the environmental professionals on the committee both made pointed remarks concerning other sources in Elmira. Ron Campbell mentioned that twenty years ago, the Region of Waterloo named three companies as defendants in their lawsuit, namely Uniroyal, Varnicolor and Nutrite. Dan Holt also commented that there could easily be seven or eight other locations in Elmira that are contributing to the contamination of the drinking water aquifer. Steve Martindale of the M.O.E. suggested that the plumes indicated Chemtura was the sole source. David responded that the plume 'encapsulated" other sites such as Varnicolor Chemical and could simply be masking Varnicolor's contribution. For me it was business as usual as the M.O.E. clearly view their position at CPAC as being one of defending Chemtura and the status quo which means the increasingly difficult proposition that Uniroyal (Chemtura) alone did the deed 22 years ago. It is wonderful no longer being the voice in the wilderness in regards to "other sources" in Elmira. By the way I tore a strip off of both Chemtura and the M.O.E. for their absolute refusal over the past TWO YEARS plus to confirm, deny or even RESPOND to my information, publicly presented at CPAC, from a Conestoga Rovers Report, detailing free phase DNAPL found behind Varnicolor Chemical near the Elmira water tower.

This is where the Mayor's erratic behaviour once again surfaced. First off let me say in his favour that as Chair he is continuing his appropriate acknowlegement and recognition of questions from the floor. He gives CPAC members first kick at the can and then allows questions from the floor (public) including myself. This is to his credit and to the credit of CPAC overall. This is what public consultation should be. To his discredit he is inserting his personal comments (damn it, afterall he is the Chair and should be nuetral unless things are becoming outrageous) into the mix when he feels a speaker has criticized Chemtura/M.O.E. too strongly. Well CPAC member Vivien Delaney took him to task for jumping on me and again I will give Todd credit for immediately backing down and apologizing to her.

Garth Napier of the M.O.E. inserted some humour into the meeting with his whining about the government having a HARASSMENT policy. Good God! His comments were after I suggested that the M.O.E. weren't clearly listening to CPAC. I also suggested that perhaps their ears were full of either background noise from Chemtura or else they were full of contaminated soil/Dioxins from the site. My attempt at humour at the expense of the M.O.E. was NOT harassment of any one individual.

Chemtura continue their well established delay tactics. We were told that it took a two week turnaround time to get soil and water results from samples. It's nearly November and they allegedly have just received the results from August and we won't see them until the end of November. Other delaying tactics include Chemtura presenting a report in regards to examining and updating their groundwater model of Elmira. I asked a straightforward question about high NDMA and Chlorobenzene in soil samples at Yara (Nutrite). Jeff Merriman of Chemtura suggested that he'd have to get back to me next month. Come on! I will include the M.O.E. in these comments on delaying. Varnicolor's Lot 91 was on the Agenda for discussion. Well golly gee none of the staff from the Guelph office were available to attend last evening so both the Lot 91 and the main Varnicolor site (62 Union) discussions are again postponed.

There was considerable discussion regarding financial support for CPAC's work including hiring consultants. The CPAC members all expressed their wish to accurately know where they stand financially. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach suggested that it only made sense for them to know what budget was available to them for the duration of their four year mandate. Financial statements and a budget were promised to them by the Township. Some of the concern revolves around CPAC's wish to hire Dr. Gail Krantberg to assist them and needing to know if they can afford to do so.

Once again a very solid CPAC meeting. Again I did not see advance Notices of the meeting in our two local newspapers. I hope this oversight will be remedied shortly by the Township. Afterall we want to involve the citizens of Woolwich and public notices are a must.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Yup, you got it, Jim Bradley is back as the Ontario Minister of the Environment. From my "Retread" headline above you might think that I didn't care for him as Environment Minister back in the 80's. In fact the opposite is true. He was excellent and ahead of his time, while in a party and Cabinet that were not. I sent him an e-mail yesterday advising him of the strong odour emanating from the M.O.E. here in Elmira regarding Chemtura (Uniroyal).

Back in 1991 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment laid a legal and supposedly binding Control Order on Uniroyal which among other things stated "...that remedial measures both in the form of containment well pumping and treatment, and removal of Uniroyal's source areas is needed in order to clean up the municipal aquifer and stop the migration of contamination, into the natural environment and, from the property.". This Control Order also said "Complete the remedial program for the elimination of DNAPL as a contaminant source by December 31, 1992.".

Flash forward to the present ie. yesterday (dated Oct. 24/11). The Township of Woolwich e-mailed myself as well as CPAC members with the THIRD attempt by the M.O.E. to justify their ignoring of CPAC's unanimous "July 2003 Request For Action". Both in regards to the south-west corner, home of free phase DNAPLS, as well as three other contaminated areas on site, here is exactly what the M.O.E. are now saying:
"ACTION: The area is actually being monitored every 2 years. Next report due March 2012, then determine next steps."

March ...2012. What happened to Dec. 1992 ??? What happened to "...removal of Uniroyal's source areas is needed in order to clean up..." I'll tell you what happened. Backroom deals between Chemtura (Uniroyal) and the M.O.E. . I also believe that backroom deals occurred between a few (or less) former CPAC members and the M.O.E.. You can call these private backroom deals "Tech Committee meetings" or whatever you want. They were not discussed or debated in public in front of the entire voting CPAC members. Minister Jim Bradley, you've got your work cut out for you to clean up this putrid mess.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The front page of the K-W Record, earlier this week, had both a color picture and an article about the claenup ongoing in Victoria Park. While I applaud the cleanup it is oh so familiar in that toxic sediments including heavy metals will be removed while the upstream sources are left untouched. Once again public funds are being used to clean up industrial pollution. That being said apparently there is also a large environmental impact courtesy of invasive species. These species are believe it or not, carp and goldfish. Both while ubiquitous to Canada nevertheless are not native species. Who would have thought it? This article advises "These invasive species actually ruin the habitat by eating just about everything, stirring up sediment and uprooting aquatic plants. The water becomes murky and sunlight can't penetrate." . All these decades I always thought of carp and suckers as more of a symptom of water pollution then a cause. They have a much greater ability to tolerate dirty water than other species such as trout in particular.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Last Thursday October 20/11 on page A17 in the K-W Record, Peter Shawn Taylor wrote an Opinion piece in regards to Waterloo Region's round about problems. Mr. Taylor writes regularily in the Record and I often don't agree with his opinions however this time he's struck a chord. I have long not understood the complexities of human behaviour. I often see the Region of Waterloo taking positive, proactive environmental decisions only to followed by three steps backwards on the next issue. What's going on? Well Mr. Taylor believes that the problem has a lot to do with status and egos. "It should be apparent to all area residents that both regional councillors and the bureaucrats who work for them put a high priority on achieving national status.". Secondly "Once again Waterloo Region seems intent on establishing itself as a national leader by going farther and faster than any other community.". Finally "Attractive as it may appear to be seen as a leader by your peers, however, regional councillors and bureaucrats ought to remember that their primary job is not to seek glory for themselves but to serve the public competently. The headlong rush to establish Waterloo Region as Canada's king of the roundabout's is what led to the mistake at St. Mary's." I believe that Mr. Taylor has accurately shone a light at what has been going on at Regional Council for a very long time. The egos are way out of control.

Monday, October 24, 2011


In the Woolwich Council Chambers on Church St. in Elmira the fifth CPAC meeting, since the new Council was elected, will be held. The Draft Agenda was released last Friday and there are a number of items which should be added. These include Odour problems in Elmira last week, and the excavations last summer and alleged work done on the old Varnicolor site on Union St.
Additional Agenda items should include the Chemtura Monthly Progress Reports. As indicated in my posting here of Wednesday Oct. 12/11, the off-site pumping of groundwater has been unacceptably low for most of 2011 with nothing but excuse after excuse. Also the 125 drum carcasses which were excavated and removed from the M2 area this summer should be discussed. There are significant issues and questions about those. CPAC member David Marks asked for a rationale from the M.O.E. as to why they have not pursued "other sources" in Elmira. This did not make the Agenda. It is long overdue for both the M.O.E. and Chemtura to respond to repeated verbal and written questions about the DNAPL discovered 100' below ground surface near the old Varnicolor site in 1998. Not a peep from them EVER on this item. Finally Upper Aquifer wells need to be installed between BORG Textiles and Sanyo Canadian to see if either or both of them are the source of high NDMA readings at monitoring well CH38 beside Sanyo.

Clearly both the Ontario M.O.E. and Chemtura are picking and choosing topics in their comfort zones to discuss. Any discussion of "other sources" which will directly impact on the Elmira cleanup they desperately wish to ignore. Any discussion of the Rationale for the M.O.E. not vigorously pursuing "other sources" they wish to ignore. The sweetheart agreement between Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment is going to become public knowledge.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


This used to be annual, now biannual, study is conducted in the Canagagigue Creek at Chemtura in Elmira. Essentially clams and leeches in separate cages are left in the creek for a number of weeks and then they are removed, counted for mortality, and the surviving ones killed and their tissues studied. Apparently both these creatures rapidly uptake certain contaminants from the water column. The clams tissues are examined for Dioxins/Furans as well as DDT. The leeches are examined for Chlorophenols.

There really aren't too many surprises. Chlorophenols which don't adhere readily to soil particles the way Dioxins and DDT do, were quickly diminished in the water column after the UACS (Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System) was implemented in 1997. Dioxins and Furans however were not so dramatically removed from the clams until after the excavations along the south-west portion of the creek in 2006.

There are a couple of surprises/anomolies however. Table 4.2 shows that the highest Toxic Equivalents (TEQS) for Dioxins and Furans were at Stations 6, 8 and 10 in 2011. When one checks the map (Fig 1.1) Station 6 corresponds with Shirt factory Creek which runs through Chemtura's property and 8 & 10 are immediately downstream from it. It is possible that these Dioxins are coming from either Chemtura's property or from upstream in Elmira.

Table 5.1 shows the expected distribution of Dioxins predominantly in the south-west (ie. Stations 10- 17). It also shows the expected decreases after the excavations of the creekbanks and island in 2006. One interesting point is the consistent detections of Dioxins in the northern half of the site (Stations 1- 8). 2011 results are higher than they've been for a number of years at three Stations.This is a little surprising as there has been some remedial work done along the creek in the northern half as well.

Table 5.2 deals with DDT in clam tissues. Table 5.3 deals with Chlorophenols in Leech tissues. Again as expected, SOURCE REMOVAL is an excellent remediation tool and these Tables prove that.

These biannual monitoring reports prove that Source Removal works. They do NOT prove that hydraulic containment is a permanent long term solution. For example Conestoga Rovers and Chemtura would have you believe that locking up illegal drugs in the household is a better solution than removing them entirely.

Friday, October 21, 2011


The third part in the "Trash" series was published today in the K-W Record. The title on page A10 is "Dollars and sense in recycling". This article gives the nuts and bolts including the challenges in recycling our garbage. A big problem is and always has been finding marlets for our recyclables. Other issues include citizens' underuse of the blue boxes . Thes last two issues seem counterintuitive but there it is. One of the points that I took from this article was the lack of but need for EPR which stands for Extended Producer Responsibility. This would require legislation from our provincial government to force manufacturers to take a greater responsibilty for the final resting place or end use of their products and packaging. To date this concept is used in Europe but not here. Also of the 3 R's namely Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, while all important, the first Reduce has not been receiving enough attention. EPR would address this but also consumer choices to purchase items with less volume of packaging would also help.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The K-W Record have done it again. Everytime my confidence in them as a supplier of important environmental news to the local community, is at a low ebb, they turn around and do something excellent. Starting yesterday they are publishing a three part series on Ontario's landfills and problems (some). Today's story is titled " Running out of landfill space".

How relevant is this to Woolwich Township? Where exactly do you think your trash goes? Yup it goes to the Erb St. Landfill in Waterloo, labelled in this article as #19 "Waterloo Waste Management Site". To further add relevance where do you think your tap water comes from? That's right it comes via a pipeline from Waterloo to St. Jacobs and Elmira. Woolwich's other community's generally get their water from local wells. Furthermore the source of the pipeline water includes wells near St.Agatha and the Erb St. Landfill. No this is not a good thing. That landfill operated for years with either inadequate or non existent leachate contol features and yes it has polluted local groundwater. Do you still think that restoring the Elmira Aquifer and regaining our own local water supply is some kind of academic exercise?

These two articles to date in the Record are excellent. They are informative and factual . The comments by Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, also have local relevance. He describes "...hundreds of aging landfills that threaten Ontario's water and air quality.". Here in Woolwich we have the Woolwich landfill north of Elmira which took just about everything thrown at it, including Uniroyal wastes and Varnicolor Chemical wastes. In Elmira we have the former Bolender landfill, First St. landfill, M1 landfill just west of Chemtura (Uniroyal) and the M2 landfill, now part of the Chemtura property PLUS lots of private landfills including gravel pits past and currently proposed. A few decades ago a gentleman in Kitchener (John Jackson) was speaking and writing about our addiction to garbage, both it's production and disposal. This is not remotely a new problem, merely one that our governments prefer to keep off the radar. Well done K-W Record.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Last month's "Progress" was similar to the preceding eight months of 2011. The off-site pumping continues to be below the computer targeted requirements to restore the Elmira Aquifer to drinking water standards. My belief is that even if they were able to pump, long term, as they have promised and modelled, they still can not achieve drinking water standards without off-site and on-site source removal. This year (2011) their off-site pumping (W5A/B, W3 & W4) has been consistently pathetic. The only thing that has changed are their excuses over the months. September's excuse is that there was a communications fault and a back ordered part.

Once again the Combined Groundwater Collection and Treatment System has failed to meet their Objectives for Formaldehyde and NMOR (nitrosomorpholine). As this also is ongoing you would think by now that they would have figured a solution to this problem but apparently not. NMOR, NDMA, Toluene and Ethylbenzene are all found at higher concentrations at the downstream end of the Canagagigue versus the upstream end on the Chemtura property. Strangely I can't seem to find any readings for Formaldehyde in the creek this month.

The MISA discharges (surface water drains) and their trends continue to be unimpressive. The majority of chemical indicaters have No Trend Indicated when these trends should be decreasing.

Figure D.3 is also a bit of a worry. it shows the difference in water elevation between the creek and the nearby shallow groundwater. As long as the Upper Aquifer Containment System is operating properly , the groundwater levels should be significantly below the surface water levels, thus proving "containment". Unfortunately some of these groundwater readings show extremely small reductions in the groundwater elevation compared to the creek level. This is problematic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Back in the 70's the U.S. passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Among it's weaknesses, it "grandfathered" 62,000 chemicals already in use . The TSCA also put the burden of proof on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prove that a chemical was unsafe rather than the burden of proof being on the manufacturer to show that his product was safe. As a result, to date the EPA has only been able to require testing on approximately 300 chemicals out of more than 62,000 known to be in use. This is ridiculous. Furthermore the chemical industry has followed in the footsteps of the asbestos and tobacco industries in defending their products alleged safety. They have all used a series of tactics nicknamed the "Four Dog Defense". It goes like this: " 1. My dog does not bite.
At first the company denies that its' product is harmful. This may include attempts to discredit scientific studies, or authors of studies, that show harm and generate its' own studies designed to show no harm.

2. My dog bites, but it didn't bite you.
Industry concedes that the chemical is potentially harmful, but insists that no one is exposed to it. This argument works best if industry doesn't test or monitor for the chemical- absence of data is often used as a reason to argue that there is no exposure.

3. My dog bit you, but it didn't hurt you.
Industry admits that people or wildlife are exposed to the chemical, but denies that the exposure caused harm. Industry concedes that the chemical is harmful at very high test doses or under unrealistic test conditions, but not at the lower levels or real- world scenarios to which people or wildlife are actually exposed. Or the argument may focus on differences between humans and laboratory animals, alleging that harm such as cancer observed in animal experiments is not relevant to people.

4. My dog bit you, and hurt you, but it wasn't mt fault.
Industry admits the chemical is making people sick, but tries to shift the blame to avoid regulation and liability. Possible culprits are improper use, use under past practices no longer followed (before we knew better), other chemicals, medications, smoking or poor health. "

These tactics are part of "The Delay Game". Politicians have drafted legislation with intentional loopholes. They want to give the impression of protection. The reality is that they want their cake and to eat it. They want to assure the public that they are being protected while in fact they are really protecting the interests of the chemical industry.

Monday, October 17, 2011


This is a very troubling report written by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) . The sub title is "How the Chemical Industry Ducks regulation of the Most Toxic Substances". It follows, in some cases, decades long attempts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the toxicity of common and ubiquitous chemicals used by industry in both Canada and the U.S. . The three examples used in this report are TCE (Trichloroethylene), Formaldehyde and Styrene. According to this report, various industry groups have formed for the purpose of intentional delay of both assessments and reassessments of chemicals with serious human health effects. This report by the NRDC names not only specific industry groups but also specific U.S. politicians whom they allege have run interference on behalf of the Chemical Industry. They are very blunt in their assessment that business and politicians are willing to sell out the health of citizens in exchange for continued profits.

On Saturday (Oct. 15/11) I had suggested that there was a local Waterloo Region connection in this report . Indeed, that is in the section describing the trials and tribulations of the TCE reassessment. There is an insert described as "Debbie's Story". This refers to Debbie Vitez of the Bishop St. community in Cambridge. Debbie is also the owner of the Cambridge Advocate website whose link is on the right side of this page, here in the Elmira Advocate.

As mentioned earlier the hole has been backfilled with gravel, compacted and levelled. Last Friday one excavater was loaded on a trailer for removal and it looks as if the work is just about completed. Months ago I had commented on a report that the excavation under the old Steddick Hotel was inadequate. This site (Becker's) next door certainly was in the vicinity of twenty feet deep and hopefully has removed all the contaminated soil. I was surprised at how little and how low the gasoline odours were from this contaminated site.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


O.K. O.K. I think you get the picture from the above title. I've long been unimpressed with corporate decision making that effects anything other than profits and share prices. Currently in the U.S. and spreading to Canada, citizens (99%) are loudly and publicly expressing their opposition to the 1% (wealthiest) and their economic and financially destructive policies. Financially destructive that is to everyone but themselves. Very shortly there will be new information released that will further demonize corporate America (& Canada). This new information will have a local twist (Waterloo Region). Stay tuned.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys this story: "Grants available to farmers to protect water quality". These are made available via the Grand River Conservation Authority (519-621-2761 or 1-866-900-4722). These grants can be used" upgrade existing wells, plug unused wells, develop a nutrient management plan, handle milk-house waste, control erosion, fence livestock out of water courses, plant trees, build manure storage facilities...". All of these proposed activities are to mitigate damage done to the environment from agricultural practices. It is an unfortunate fact of life that even with these improvements, agriculture is a necessary, albeit negative stress on the natural environment. To this day livestock can still routinely be seen grazing in the floodplain and along the banks of the Canagagigue Creek, Conestoga and Grand Rivers in Woolwich Township. They create manure and erosion effects, all of which end up in our rivers thus degrading them both for drinking and for aquatic life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This is almost an "elephant in the room" type of subject. We all need to eat so how do you go about throwing stones at the agriculture industry? Fortunately not so much right now as the article in today's K-W Record titled "Eat less meat to help double the world's food supply" is focusing on ways to increase the world's food production. Yes it also suggests that "...three -quarters of the world's agriculural land is devoted to raising livestock, either for grazing or for growing feed .". Also "...beef is the most resource intensive animal product of them all.". Some of the environmental impacts of these dietary decisions include deforestation to make way for farmland. The significance of the growing understanding of the problems associated with beef production can not be overstated for rural, agricultural Ontario including Woolwich Township.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The next CPAC meeting is scheduled for two weeks from tomorrow (Oct. 27/11) to be held in the Woolwich Council Chambers at 6 pm. The following important items have not been discussed at public CPAC meetings and desperately need to be.

1) The M.O.E. were politely and publicly asked by CPAC member David Marks to explain why they have not over the years followed up on "other sources" of contamination to the Elmira Aquifer.

2) NDMA & Chlorobenzene have both been found in the soil at Yara (Nutrite) at elevated concentrations. Did Yara contribute to the shutdown of the Elmira wells via NDMA & Chlorobenzene as well as by the Ammonia attributed to them?

3) This summer's excavations and alleged "work" at the former Varnicolor site (62 Union St.). Soil samples were taken .

4) DNAPL 100' down (subsurface) by the water tower behind (west) Varnicolor Chemical.

5) Name change for the Annual Monitoring Reports. eg. 2010 A.M.R. versus A.M.R. # 29

6) 125 drums (carcasses allegedly) removed from M2 this summer. Soil sample results etc.

7) Upper Aquifer wells should be installed from the former Borg Textiles to Sanyo Canada . These could potentially find the sources of NDMA to well CH38 on the Sanyo Canada site.

8) Important missing items in the CPAC Minutes. To err is human and no big deal. To find a way NOT to correct important errors is a big deal. Discussions of "other sources" by CPAC members as well as requests for action by CPAC members (David Marks) MUST be in the Minutes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The article in last Saturday's K-W Record is titled " Tannery District wins "Brownie" ". " The Region of Waterloo and the City of Kitchener provided the developer; Toronto based Cadan Inc., with $891,000 to help pay for the environmental cleanup at the site.". Isn't that sweet? What it should say is that you, I and the Regional taxpayers once again bailed out wealthy corporate polluters. This article states that this tannery was once "...the biggest tannery in the old British Empire". That being the case why didn't the owners of this corporation clean up their own mess at their own expense? Tanneries by the way have horrific waste streams including acids, dyes and various solvents. We the citizens will be paying for their ability to externalize their waste/discharge costs for decades. I would very much like to get my hands on the environmental reports, monitoring reports, soil analyses etc. as well as the remediation plan for this site. The chances of an honest to God, serious and well done cleanup at this site are about equal to the chances of proper cleanups at most sites that are off the public radar, ie. slim to nil.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Again these comments have to do with the Elmira Independent article published last Thursday Oct. 6/11. Gail Martin refers to "...removal of contaminated soil..." which is correct however included with the contaminated soils are DNAPLS/LNAPLS (free phase chlorinated solvents as well as floating Toluene & other petroleum hydrocarbons) as well as Dioxins. When Vivienne Delaney was referring to only one item on the 2003 list being completed she was referring to the excavation and removal of part of the south-west creekbank and small island due to DDT & Dioxins. References to GP1 & GP2 being underway are correct although the company as usual are delaying both the release of sample results and the physical removal of the Dioxin contaminated areas. Dan Holte's comments "Is Chemtura going to eliminate the sources of the contamination, all of the sources, or is it going to be a battle for each one?" pretty well hits the nail on the head. Based on the company's history, along with the support of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.), it's going to be a long battle yet . That being said this honest, rejuvenated and mentally tough CPAC are up to the job. Finally assigning a vice-chair (David Marks) to CPAC was a very good move.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Bluebird Man" Looking For Volunteers

Thursday's Elmira Independent carrys the following story " "Bluebird Man" seeks help from community". Ken Reger of Elmira has been building and maintaining nests for the Eastern Bluebird for many years. Ken's efforts have been very sucessful in reintroducing these birds back into our area. Currently he is finding the effort involved to be very taxing and is looking for volunteer assistance. He can be reached at 519 669-8865.

In a Letter To The Editer in the Elmira Independent a week ago Thursday, Arlene Slocombe, the Executive Director of wellington Water Watchers presented her case that watertaking permits are issued by the Ministry of the Environment prior to adequate knowledge of the volume of water available for all users. This group from the Guelph area have been active for many years in regards to both quality and quantity issues affecting our water supply. She mentions Nestle Waters, the Dolime Quarry in guelph as well as the proposed mega quarry in Melanchthon township. Overall her point is that we should be holding our politicians feet to the fire in regards to these serious water issues.

Friday, October 7, 2011


My "Delegation" to CPAC was in response to the M.O.E.'s attempt at clarifing their first inadequate response to CPAC's insistence upon following the July 2003 Request For Action. This second attempt by the M.O.E., while marginally better than their first, still has major issues with accuracy and credibility. Here it is:


Status of 2003 Action Item List (Additional Information) promised by Garth Napier, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, signed by Steve Martindale, M.O.E.

RPW-1 & RPW-2 “Oct 28/08 DNAPL Tech Committee meeting…” By this date all of these private DNAPL technical meetings were being held at Conestoga Rovers offices in Waterloo, by invitation only. Yours truly and the unwashed public were excluded. “OW89-22 at 440/410 ug/l which is over ODWS but not as high as other parts of the plume”. The ODWS (Ontario Drinking Water Standard) is 80 ppb. This is cherry picking numbers and I can do it as well as you can. 2006/2007 OW82-9 in UA3 of RPW2 had the highest UA3 readings of Chlorobenzene on the Chemtura site namely 7,800 (ppb.) ug/l. Criteria for the presence of DNAPL is approximately 4,000 ppb.
“OW37 pesticide/herbicide levels very high in 1991. Drums and RPE4/5 excavations reduced contamination in areas…” . I can’t really even speculate what you are doing here . This well and those pits are on the east side of the creek and have no relevance to RPW1 & 2.
P1 At the last CPAC meeting I indicated extraordinarily high levels of DDT in the soil in P1. Thank you for confirming that . Also thank you in your “Further Information” for indicating that there were “elevated levels here of DNAPL in UA3”. The P1 area may be hydraulically contained in the Municipal Upper aquifer but it is not contained in either UA1 or UA3. Both these aquifers discharge horizantly into Canagagigue Creek and are part of the reason for very high DDT and other contaminants originally in the creekbanks and sediments. Your further comments that “possible sources for the contamination (chlorobenzene) are leaks from UA3, or the movement of the northern contamination plume as it is drawn south to PW4 or Pw5. “ may have merit. This “…northern contamination plume…” would be the one coming from the RPW1 &2 area due north which you have dismissed as only needing further monitoring.

M2 You advise us that “M2 is priority area (UAT and UA2 aquitards thin) but not short term priority.” This is a wee bit of an understatement perhaps? Both free phase LNAPL and DNAPL have been found in M2. The LNAPL is from beneath Building 15 and at one point in time was estimated at 10,000 gallons or more. The DNAPL was found in 1991 by hydrogeologist Bob Hillier of the M.O.E.. in well OW88, and presented to UPAC publicly in a glass jar. Furthermore it was found again in December 1993 on the border of TPW2 and M2 and was left where it lay because David Ash & company (Uniroyal) said it wasn’t their problem in M2. I am certainly reassured that M2 is a priority area for the M.O.E. now.

RPW6,7,8 As mentioned by me on July 28/11 CRA, consultants to Chemtura/Uniroyal have long claimed that shallow aquifer containment in one quadrant only of the site is O.K., because 97.5% of the contamination is there. There being the south-west quadrant containing RPW5,6,7,8 and M2. In your “Further Information” regarding RPW6 you state “UA3 monitoring shows the UA3 area is impacted, but does not indicate a source”. Wow this is a real puzzler. Two sentences earlier you state “RPW6 was formerly a waste retention pond which was excavated to the top of the underlining clay liner in 1989”. Perhaps Steve or Garth if you had read our July 2003 Request For Action a little more carefully you might have noticed the following statement “3,400 litres per day estimated leakage of process wastes, downward , after ponds clay lined (CH2MHILL); more leakage before lined. “. For further reference CH2MHILL who were consultants to the Region of Waterloo in the early 90’s claimed that they got their figures from Brian Beatty of Morrison & Beatty, consultants to Uniroyal Chemical.

This will suffice for now. Maybe the Ontario M.O.E. for their third attempt would like to do a straight on, point for point critique of the detailed rationale included in our July 2003 Request For Action. This would be the first time that either the M.O.E. or Chemtura have done so.

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

Thursday, October 6, 2011



These above two headlines are my sustaining fantasy headlines in one or more of our local newspapers, including the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Woolwich Observer and the Elmira Independent. To date my bets are on the Elmira Independent being first as they are the only media to stay the course, regularily attend CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee ) meetings and diligently report back to the public. Today's headline in the Elmira Independent is "CPAC members push for action on buried wastes". This is in reference to CPAC's July 2003 Request For Action, which document is reproduced here in the Advocate in it's entirety on July 6/11 and can be accessed through the Archives on the right side of the page.

Regarding my fantasy headlines above, in fact both of these statements have been made publicly at CPAC but to date have not been reported via our local newspapers. My posting on Friday Sept. 30/11, here in the Advocate, attributed these comments to Ron Campbell of CPAC. Both he and David Marks of CPAC also made it clear at the July 28 2011 CPAC meeting that "other sources" besides Chemtura and Nutrite (Yara) have contributed to the destruction of the Elmira drinking water aquifer. The ramifications of both of these statements are huge including the long term cosy arrangement between Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The exposure of the 1991 sweetheart deal between them is finally within sight.

Please take the time to vote if you've been able to take the time to inform yourself about the issues. If you haven't done so you are not doing anyone any good by throwing your vote at the candidate or party your friends/parents have always voted for. Do not vote for Andrea Horvath (NDP) simply because she is a woman and allegedly more trustworthy than McGuinty or Hudak. Do not vote against her because she is a woman. Please do not vote if you haven't the slightest clue as to what you are doing. Thankyou

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Today's K-W Record (pg. A9) has an Editorial written by Mike Morrice, the executive director of Sustainable Waterloo. His editorial is titled "Vote will decide direction of our energy future" and refers to a 36 page document, authored jointly by the David Suzuki Foundation and by Sustainable Waterloo Region. He refers to their online report as non partisan and as I skimmed it this morning prior to posting here, I tend to agree. Yours truly was not non partisan prior to the Municipal Election, nor will I be so now prior to tomorrow's Provincial election. MY interpretation of this report mirrors my prior knowledge and understanding of four major parties namely Green, NDP, Liberal and Progressive Conservative. Again emphasizing two things: the following is MY interpretation of their report AND this ranking of four parties is in regards to their environmental policies not business, labour, education, financial, transportation or any other policies. I really don't think this will surprise too many people. Rock bottom environmentally are the Progressive Conservatives. All three of the other parties share significant credit in differing environmental areas. Perhaps the Greens are front and centre but again it is my interpretation that the NDP and Liberals are not that far behind. Feel free to read this report and make your own conclusions at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This past week's Elmira Independent has a story titled "Doctors seek closure of Ontario's coal plants". For decades I have bemoaned priveleged professionals and elites who did not use their knowledge and status to push for public health benefits. To my great joy both national and provincial medical bodies have indeed been going this route for some time now. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment is one such group. Their newspaper ads throughout Ontario against coal generated electricity are an example. Coal contributes to smog, acid rain and contains heavy metals. Many respiratory diseases are exacerbated by the use of coal fired generators.

Monday, October 3, 2011


As mentioned two days ago the comments of two CPAC members (David Marks & Ron Campbell) at the July 28/11 CPAC meeting did not make it into the minutes. I reread the CPAC Minutes of that meeting, yesterday, and they were a no show. These comments were in regards to "other sources" of contamination to the Elmira drinking water aquifer. One other item which didn't make those Minutes was the request by David Marks of CPAC for the Ontario M.O.E. to provide a Rationale at the next meeting as to why they have NOT pursued these other sources over the last twenty years. Thus not only did David's request not make the Minutes but the M.O.E. certainly did NOT provide any such Rationale at last Thursday's (Sept. 29/11) meeting.

Speaking of both David and Ron the time has come. Many months back, immediately after I got the boot from CPAC courtesy of the Mayor, I took some well deserved (although in hindsight not entirely accurate) shots at him. I also made the assumption that if he was being deceptive in regards to my membership on CPAC as well as with intentional and unexplained delays around CPAC meetings, than his recruitment of two eminently qualified individuals was also a sham. I believe that I suggested that they were on CPAC simply for their qualifications and to give credibility to the Mayor. Well we all know the old joke about assumptions and indeed hindsight has proven that both gentlemen are for real and that I was wrong. Both David and Ron over the last few public CPAC meetings have spoken unpopular truths and facts to the Ministry of the Environment and to Chemtura. They are the real deal and David and Ron I am sorry for my former negative comments about you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Last Thursday evening's numerous comments by Ron Campbell about the "other sources"of contamination to the Elmira drinking water aquifer mark a watershed because for the first time the media were present and heard them. On July 28/11 at CPAC both Ron C. and David Marks made similar comments however the editor for the only regularily attending newspaper (Elmira Independent) was on holidays out west. My writeup here in the Advocate for the July CPAC meeting was published on July 29/11 and did include Ron and David's remarks. Of interest to me is that my recollection is that the Minutes of the July CPAC meeting produced by the Township, which we received in late September, did NOT contain their astounding remarks. These Minutes I will later this weekend be rereading to confirm that my recollection is correct. If I am correct then again this is a major weakness in having Minutes of a meeting produced two months after the fact. But for my written notes and personal prior knowledge of these "other sources" I too might have forgotten their exclusion for longer than I did. All of the quotes from Ron Campbell at Thursday's meeting are reproduced in my posting about the CPAC meeting yesterday. For two years I brought this information, evidence and facts to the old CPAC and they refused to acknowledge it, discuss it or question it. What they did do was ignore it just like Chemtura and the M.O.E. did. This despite the fact that some of this information came from consultants to Chemtura. Clearly this knowledge was threatening to whatever accomodations were in effect between those parties.