Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Following is the verbatim report regarding my take on CPAC's progress/sucess to date. This is based upon attending all six public CPAC meetings starting in early June of this year as well as having attended about twenty years of public meetings of the old CPAC. My purpose last night in praising the new CPAC had nothing to do with making them feel good and everything to do with bracing and preparing our Council for the push back from Chemtura and their partner in pollution, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. By loudly and publicly praising this new CPAC...APPOINTED BY WOOLWICH COUNCIL... I am hoping to dissuade Council from any knee jerk reaction or meddling regarding their CPAC.

Delegation to Woolwich Council November 29, 2011
Mayor Cowan advised CPAC last Thursday that either he or a CPAC member would be updating Council this evening in regards to CPACs’ activities. I believe that that is a very appropriate action and on the theory that if one is good two is even better, I also would like to give Council my take on CPAC’s success to date. There have been six Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC ) meetings so far with the new CPAC membership. They have ranged from merely strong and informative to what occurred last Thursday evening. Honestly if we get a couple more meetings like that one, I expect Council to start selling tickets and using them as a fundraiser to reduce taxes. Last Thursdays meeting was way beyond incredible and that opinion is shared by many of your CPAC appointees as well.
As an example , the Ontario Ministry of the Environment , who have been under pressure from your CPAC, publicly provided the following astounding information. When Varnicolor Chemical was sold to Phillip Environmental in 1993, Phillip received a legal Indemnity from the Province stating that they were not liable for currently undiscovered contamination on the Varnicolor site. The M.O.E. last Thursday then advised us that that very same Indemnity has now expired and they are holding the most recent owners Three Eights Inc., liable . This liability includes twenty years late, deep monitoring wells to be installed and an additional excavation of 200 tonnes of contaminated soil. Am I the only one who finds this both unreasonable to the latest owners and perverse and hypocritical overall?
Your new CPAC and your new Mayor must share the credit for this expose’. Both the old CPAC and the old Council were given the same opportunity to look at the evidence and face the truth. The problem wasn’t the clarity of the evidence either then or now; it was the clarity and vision of certain politicians then versus now.
Your new CPAC are working in an incredibly politicized environment. There are Municipal and Provincial Staff present as well as Regional Staff involved. CPAC are attempting to work with a multinational , multibillion dollar company. This company is also a multinational polluter facing lawsuits over Agent Orange (Dioxins) and Diacetyl (butter flavouring). Both of these products were manufactured here in Elmira.
Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment appear to be very unhappy campers at these public CPAC meetings. I believe that they have seen the future and they don’t like it. Back in 1998, David Ash and Uniroyal picked up their marbles and walked out of the middle of a UPAC meeting, not to return for nearly a year and a half. I recall the Chair of UPAC casually mentioning negotiations months later with Uniroyal, to bring them back. I believe that Chemtura and the M.O.E. are angry because they aren’t getting their own way. They may also be angry because the new CPAC are neither deferential nor intimidated by them. Unlike the old CPAC; this one does not feel bound by past agreements negotiated in private , out of the publics’ view. An example of Chemtura’s frustration is their attempt to conclude a site wide AIR Certificate of Approval, using the old CPAC members , who are much more agreeable to them than the new. The old CPAC do NOT represent Woolwich citizens and again that process is being done in private.
Yes there are problems with Public Consultation being under the purview of a Municipal Council. Despite the past and current model of public consultation being inherently a poor one, this CPAC is succeeding. They are honest, open minded and independent. This success is due to the individuals on CPAC AND because of individuals on our Municipal Council. I repeat , the model/process is poor. The individuals involved however are fantastic.

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

One of these missteps was described in my Monday posting having to do with Woolwich CAO David Brenneman. The other I have not mentioned to date but has to do with a CPAC orientation session being abruptly and improperly cancelled. I am happy to say that the CPAC members appropriately have jumped on both of these issues and they are being properly addressed. Although I have made clear my concerns around CPAC being a Committee of Council and hence liable to have little control or independence, at the same time there are some positives. It is my considered opinion that to date this Council is less likely to meddle inappropriately than the last one but the avenues are much too available. Specifically in regards to what appeared to be the Woolwich CAO attending a private meeting dealing with what clearly should be a CPAC and CPAC only issue, namely a site wide AIR Certificate of Approval from the M.O.E. for Chemtura; explanations and clarifications are underway. These will include direct communications to each CPAC member as well as some face to face discussions. Our CAO made a mistake of which he and all other parties are well aware. At this point in time I'm prepared to accept that it was an honest mistake which may or may not have been somewhat induced/promoted by third parties with an agenda. CPAC members and Woolwich Staff are now more cognizant of each others' areas of responsibility and the future will sort out whether a strong supportive relationship will continue to flourish and grow. Briefly touching on the meeting that was cancelled improperly, I will say that our Mayor stepped up at last week's CPAC meeting and took full responsibility. I am impressed that he did this even while I doubt that he was 100% responsible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Both the Woolwich Observer and Elmira Independent have stories this week in regards to the public meeting held to further give information and receive comments. "West Montrose CHL nears designation" was the story in the Independent. The Observer story (pg.5) was titled "West Montrose nearer to heritage designation for bridge area". Both of these articles mention citizens speaking both for and against this designation. Clearly this CHL designation which was initiated prior to any citizen knowledge of gravel pit proposal(s) in the area, will make the hurdles higher for these proposed pits.

This story is on the front page of last Friday's Woolwich Observer. The title is "Acquisition of regional land secures Elmira's Victoria Glen as green space". This is a downright victory for local citizens, the environment and the new politicans here in Woolwich. Our old Council seemed prepared to balance their books by selling off this jewel and Todd Cowan and others disagreed. Our new Council must continue to fulfill their other environmental promises as best as is humanly and politically possible. We are all still awaiting a solution (comprimise) for the Bio-En, in town proposal, as well as gravel pit woes.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Both Richard Clausi and myself specifically made a point of thanking Jane Glasgo (sp?) of the Ministry of the Environment for her presentation regarding "other sources" in Elmira which are under M.O.E. scrutiny. One of the reasons for this in my case was the deafening silence and non comment, even to date, around the DNAPL found by Conestoga Rovers behind (west) of Varnicolor Chemical. This find is the smoking gun to date and all responsible parties and authorities are making like an ostrich (head in sand) hoping and praying that it will go away.

We were advised Thursday night by CPAC Chair (and Mayor) Todd Cowan that he had a discussion with hydrogeologist Eric Hodgins of the Region of Waterloo, concerning the possibility of Varnicolor contributing to the destruction of the Municipal drinking water aquifer. As I understood Mayor Cowan's response, Eric's response at least in regards to the Lot 91 site at the east end of Oriole Parkway, was that the chemicals on Lot 91 "are different" and he Eric "can't comment". Well that's not too impressive an answer as far as I'm concerned.

The old CPAC, now renamed as the APTE-Chemtura committee are still playing behind the scenes. My personal opinion in regards to the name is that this originally wonderful citizens' group has been brought full circle. APTE- Chemtura are doing their thing once again privately and without any public scrutiny whatsoever. Currently they are discussing a site wide Certificate of Approval (Air) which will be of benefit primarily to Chemtura, possibly the M.O.E.. The chances of there being any benefits whatsoever to the public are in inverse proportion to the lack of public debate and transparency. Apparently Woolwich CAO Dave Brenneman attended a private meeting, without including an invitation to any CPAC members, to discuss this Certificate of Approval. This action went over badly when discovered at CPAC and Mayor Cowan has promised to investigate. Whether an honest mistake or misunderstanding, the Woolwich CAO is neither a member of CPAC nor a representative thereof. This must be made very clear.

Once again Dan Holt was like a dog with a bone , this time in regards to CPAC finances. I congratulate him on his persistence as his multitude of questions did elicit some very interesting information as to who controls the purse strings for CPAC.

Yours truly is planning on being a Delegation at Woolwich Council tomorrow night. CPAC Chair Todd Cowan advised us on Thursday that there would be a report given to Council in regards to CPAC. This is an excellent idea and thus I felt that an additional point of view would be helpful to assist Councils' understanding of the major significance of what is transpiring at CPAC these days. The extremely juvenile and mostly rude comments that the Elmira Advocate has been receiving (and mostly being deleted by moi) over the last few weeks may have a local polluter connection. Be that as it may, I am confident that persons who are only able to insult and totally unable to question, discuss or debate, will not have the courage to show up tomorrow at Council and express themselves intelligently. Neither will they ever show up at a public CPAC meeting to express their criticism. They only have the courage of their annonymity.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


High soil concentrations of both NDMA and Chlorobenzene have been found on the Yara (Nutrite) site. These are between 20 and 30 metres below surface. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura explained them as being due to groundwater contamination leaving Chemtura and moving through the Yara site and leaving Chlorobenzene particularily adsorbed onto the soil. Personally I'm skeptical and am pursuing this further.

Chemtura have dropped out of active participation in the O.M.B. hearing regarding the Hawk Ridge Homes proposed development across from their site. This is very strange and Dan Holt of CPAC questioned both Chemtura and the M.O.E. as to what would happen if Chemtura chose to depart Elmira suddenly. Dan also got a commitment from the M.O.E. that they would step in and at least keep the groundwater pump and treat system going.

My "Delegation" ie. presentation to CPAC was primarily about the DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid) found on the west side of Varnicolor near the Elmira water tower. I included the pages from the Conestoga Rovers report describing this contaminant. I also included plume maps clearly showing a plume of Chlorobenzene emanating from this DNAPL which is 100 feet below ground level. Another plume map included showed a source of NDMA just south of Sanyo Canada in Elmira. My belif is that this NDMA is from either Varnicolor, Borg textiles or Sanyo.

All groundwater and soil samples to be taken from 84 Howard Ave. (formerly 62 Union St.) are to be shared with CPAC and moi. This was promised by the M.O.E. and as we are all in the same boat regarding restoring our drinking water aquifer, this is appropriate.

We are still awaiting the peer review regarding the release over a year ago of BLE-25 into Elmira's air. This obviously is well overdue.

Friday, November 25, 2011


All the news can't possibly fit into one posting regarding last night's public CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) meeting hence it will be doled out in small doses over the next several days. Firstly a pat on the back to Jane Glasco (sp?) of the Ontario M.O.E. After months of CPAC pressure from multiple members (and one non-member ie. yours truly) she took the lead last evening and presented a report on the M.O.E.'s status and management of contaminated sites in Elmira. I am of course referring to "other sites". Other than Chemtura/Uniroyal. My opinion is that both Chemtura staff and Hamilton M.O.E. staff would have been happier to listen to a detailed medical report about colonoscopys. They were not happy campers as last night went further to expose their twenty year old sweetheart deal than anything before it. "Other sites" mentioned included the Strauss Fuels (Imperial Oil) site at the north end of town and the currently being remediated Becker's site on Arthur St. and a few others.

The two biggies were not surprisingly the former Varnicolor Chemical site on Union St. and Varnicolor's Lot 91 site at the east end of Oriole Parkway. 62 Union St. (Varnicolor) is now referred to as 84 Howard Ave. Something like changing the Uniroyal name to Crompton and then Chemtura. "A rose by any other name smells just as sweet". Please excuse the upcoming capitol letters but I am excited! THE INDEMNITY GIVEN TO PHILLIPS BY BOTH THE M.O.E. AND THE REGION OF WATERLOO WHEN THEY BOUGHT THE VARNICOLOR SITE IN 1993 HAS EXPIRED AND THE MOST RECENT OWNERS THREE EIGHTS INC. HAVE THE LIABILITY. This is the first time that either Rich Clausi or I had ever heard anything about a 15 year expiry date. One more tidbit that the M.O.E. kept hidden twenty years ago. 200 TONNES MORE OF THE STILL CONTAMINATED SOIL ON SITE WILL BE REMOVED. DEEP WELLS HAVE AFTER TWENTY YEARS FINALLY BEEN ORDERED.

Do not mistake my excitement as necessarily being approval or happiness. Yes this work should have been done long ago and Sebastian and other CPAC members appropriately asked that question. I personally am shocked that Three eights appears to be on the hook. I know they have professional hydrogeological expertise but I think what they really need is both legal expertise AND public support. Why should they be on the hook after the M.O.E. and the Region signed off on this site? In regards to the Lot 91 site it is now owned by Ingram Transfer. Again it was subject to a hydrogeological "study" whose conclusions did not follow either their own data and results, much less the soil samples and other data produced between the mid 80's and 1996. This site will be resampled shortly although the M.O.E. claim to have recently sampled it. Both myself and CPAC have publicly requested all this data asap.

Chemtura much to my and I suspect CPAC's disgust have reneged on yet another promise. They have had the lab results for GP1 & 2 in their possession for months and yet still claim they can't release them publicly. These are the former Dioxin & DDT contaminated areas in the south-east corner of their site. Finally again a variety of CPAC members probably including Ron C., Dan, Vivienne and Sebastian have expressed concerns about CPAC either being circumvented or at the very least left out of the loop regarding a peer review by RWDI out of Guelph. This peer review is in reference to a site wide Certificate of Approval (air) for Chemtura. This C. of A. is another self serving, money saving concession that the old CPAC are STILL attempting to give to Chemtura. This is unconscionable back door lobbying and meddling which of course Chemtura are all in favour of. Richard Clausi (Environmental Hazards co-founder & EDSS representative) spoke to this, comparing the old CPAC's ongoing private dealings with Chemtura, to the Vichy government in France during the Nazi occupation. More to follow on last nights' CPAC meeting.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today's K-W Record carrys a story about the proliferation of coyotes within the boundaries of Kitchener and Waterloo. The title is "Urban coyotes put scare into city dwellers". The picture included shows children and adults at Meinzinger Park in Kitchener looking at both deer and coyotes tracks , by the swing set. This picture brought back memories for me as my two children both used those very same swing sets a couple of decades ago. Coyotes have also been spotted at Westmount Golf Course and the Stanley park area of kitchener. Again two decades ago I saw a coyote just off of Victoria St. near the very old Blue Springs swimming hole. Also I've seen a couple while here in Woolwich Township. One was in a field near West Montrose and the other, one early morning outside of Hawkesville. Like deer I believe that they are now just about everywhere only they are even better than deer at staying out of sight. As far as safety, the authorities are suggesting that residents neither intentionally nor unintentionally feed coyotes. Unintentional would include leaving dogfood in bowls outside for your pet and also be careful about letting your cats and small dogs run loose in areas where coyotes may be present. Obviously with or without coyotes, small children should always be closely supervised.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Today's K-W Record has two stories which by their titles may seem contradictory at first blush, but really aren't. The first is "Sustainable energy can boost the economy" and the second is "Fossil fuels expected to dominate energy sector, board says". The first story, both of which are in the Business Section of the Record, uses Germany as an example of how government incentives have increased green energy from 6.3% to 20% of their power grid currently. Ontario's Feed In Tarrif program is complimented as far as it's concept although criticized for it's slow implementation. The second story is based on predictions from the National Energy Board of Canada. They believe that wind generation of electricity will increase from 1% to 6% by the year 2035 and that geothermal, biomass and solar will increase from 2% to 6% as well. While significant it is still the reality that oil and gas production will also increase dramatically and be the dominant source of power for at least the next couple of decades if not longer. One very interesting point for me is that in-situ extraction methods for oil removal will predominate in that industry, versus open pit mining methods. This technology surely could be used to remove both LNAPLS and DNAPLS (light & dense non-aqueous phase liquids) from the subsurface here in Elmira, Ontario.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting is being held at the Woolwich Council Chambers on Church St. in Elmira this Thursday at 6 pm.. I received a copy of the Draft Agenda last Friday and it is shaping up to be another interesting meeting. A week ago today I posted a proposed Agenda here on the Advocate and a number of those items are on the Draft Agenda. Missing are the following items which I feel are important enough to receive at least brief mention and discussion:
First and foremost my Delegation last month included a copy of a newspaper article from the Elmira Independent dated June 11, 2004 which recorded a Motion by CPAC to make source removal of contaminants a Standing Agenda item at each future meeting. Clearly this should be on this Agenda and all future items until or unless CPAC votes and amends this Standing Agenda item.
125 drum carcasses were excavated this summer from the southwest corner (M2). How much soil was removed with them? Were lab tests done on the soil? Was there any visbly stained soil? Were photographs taken? All these questions and more need to be answered.
The M.O.E. have yet to respond to David Marks request concerning their Rationale for not pursuing other sources in Elmira. Public Consultation does not mean that either Chemtura or the M.O.E. can pick and choose which questions they answer.

Monday, November 21, 2011


October's Report is the skinny version. There is no Appendix focusing on on-site containment. Hence there are no groundwater elevation maps to ostensibly show containment in the Municipal Upper aquifer nor is there the Figure showing the difference in water elevation between the Canagagigue Creek and the Upper Aquifer which under natural conditions discharges to the creek. These absences of vital information can be laid directly at the feet of the former CPAC who felt compelled to give undeserved concessions to Chemtura.

Last month here in the Advocate I advised that the on-site pumping on the Chemtura site, in the Municipal Aquifer, has been steady and solid for nearly two years. Well this has now ended. The real news however is the off-site pumping. This is allegedly where the rubber meets the road in regards to achieving the restoration of the Elmira Aquifer to drinking water standards. Jeff Merriman pf Chemtura mentioned it at last month's CPAC meeting and that the results have been disappointing for a number of reasons. Disappointing grossly understates the situation. Hypocritical is a better word. The whole premise for the off-site cleanup is flawed by the M.O.E.'s (& others) refusal to acknowledge and examine all the other off-site sources of contamination to our drinking water. Ignoring that for the moment and swallowing the premise that Chemtura acted alone in the murder of our drinking water, we are advised that Conestoga Rovers computer model has determined how many gallons of water need to be pumped and treated each month from the aquifer to clean it up. Coincidence or not off-site pumping has been in the crapper for the last year or since we turfed the bulk of our Municipal Councillors.

As bad as it's been, October 2011 is the prize winner. The average pumping rate for all off-site wells is supposed to be 53.1 litres per second. Last month it was 26 litres per second or less than half. Keep in mind that back in June 2009 after an extended period of time of being unable to meet their own pumping targets, Conestoga Rovers (consultants to Uniroyal/Chemtura) REDUCED their computer modelled targets from 64.5 l/sec to 53.1 l/sec. Now they can't even meet those REDUCED targets. I'm fed up to here with the neverending excuses. The old CPAC and the M.O.E. sold out Elmira citizens in regards to source removal, in favour of promises from Chemtura to use inferior and cheaper pump and treat technology. It's bad enough being sold an inferior product but Chemtura can't even deliver on that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I can remember as a kid hearing this comment when I lived in Waterloo and not understanding it. Adults around me laughed and said it was a joke. Years later when I began to get a glimmer of understanding as to how our wastewater, surface water and drinking water were all intertwined I began to understand. Like most jokes there is an element of truth or at least the perception of truth in the joke to make it "funny". A recent comment here in the Advocate (Nov. 5/11) mentions the extremely high rates of cancer and other health issues in Brantford. If these statistics are correct it isn't that surprising. Brantford's drinking water comes from the Grand River and while today's testing and treatment have improved, it's certainly not without weaknesses. In the past companies like Canadian General Tower which are located at the south end of Cambridge, right on the river, donated chemicals such as pthalates and worse to Brantford's source of water. The time may come when radical environmentalism and or violence results from peoples' understanding how their lives and health have been damaged for the sake of someone else's profits. Although I will have no part of that, I will have no qualms about providing facts and data. The guilty parties should be punished by the courts and rule of law but when those institutions are not up to the task, that is when vigilanteism breaks out.

Friday, November 18, 2011


First of all just to be politically correct the word "fairies" above is not a reference to anyone's sexual orientation. Secondly in the comments section from yesterday's post there are ten comments. There were twelve but the two most idiotic I have deleted. There are a few with names included in the text of the comment but then they were posted by "Anonymous". I am reasonably confident that the names Bethany Davis and Sharon were made up and I don't believe that Mayor Todd Cowan's name is legit in this comment section.

Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys the following story on page 8: "Local company earns B Corporation certificate". Enviro-Stewards has been in business for ten years in Elmira and they recently have received certification as a B Corporation. This certification indicates that while they are a For profit business nevertheless both environmental and social concerns are at the forefront of their business. The owner Bruce Taylor is a chemical engineer whose goal is to help clients reduce their environmental footprint. Essentially this means finding effeciencies in waste reduction, heating and electrical useage. Mr. Taylor has been able to combine a social conscience with business acumen and the result is good for him, his clients and society. Well done!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Public meetings are for show; debate and decisions are done privately. This is nothing new although it's taken me close to two decades to understand this basic human condition. Municipal Councils are a prime example as is our local Regional Council. How many years of studies, discussion and arm twisting went on behind the scenes concerning LRT (light rail transit) before word one was spoken publicly at Regional Council? How much lobbying/promises of support for pet issues of recalcitrant Councillors has there been to assure a majority in favour BEFORE the public even knew it was on the Agenda? This is the secret joy of politicians, namely being "in the know" before the rest of the masses ever have a clue.

Thus in hindsight it has become obvious to me that private discussions around the subversion of public consultation were ongoing before the very first public UPAC (Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee) meeting ever took place. These discussions would of necessity had to include the powers that be; namely the Ministry of the Environment, Woolwich Council reps, Regional Council reps, and Uniroyal. Not for a moment do I believe these private meetings were conducted in an atmosphere of blatant self serving partisanship. More likely they were promoted as we the voted representatives of the citizens are so clearly superior in our knowledge and understanding of the big picture that we mustn't let the hysterical public overreact to this crisis of the day. We will manage all aspects of pretend public consultation so that we can not lose control. We know best what needs to be done and public consultation is simply there to put the stamp of approval on what we've already decided. To this end we will give recognition, credit and honours on those who play ball with us and we will do our utmost behind the scenes to undermine and discredit those we cannot control. Subtlty is what the art of politics is all about.

This I am certain is what happened. The powers that be were terrifed of any organized, intelligent citizen activism and opposition to their control. APT Environment under the leadership of Susan Rupert were exactly what they could not tolerate. In the early days the Ministry of the Environment were intimidated by many APTE members including myself; not because we were throwing rocks but because we were throwing facts, information and truth at them. We could not be "controlled". This became their number one priority. It wasn't to clean up the water and the soil which half a century of neglect and complacency had destroyed in Elmira. It was to "manage" the opposition and they suceeded. It was done slowly and carefully and with subtlty. What human being would not be inflated by personal attention from Mayors, Regional Chairs, Councillors and Provincial Ministers and the media? Attention was carefully paid to which individuals seemed most susceptible to these kinds of attentions.

The powers that be including our old Municipal Council were extremely pleased with the results. It took private discussions and negotiations while publicly proclaiming the preeminence of public consultation. They sucessfully co-opted the public and APTE without the rank and file much less the "co-ordinaters" even being aware. Look at the goals of source removal of Dioxins and Dnapls. Look at hydraulic containment "in all aquifers". Look at the sucessful hiding of off-site contamination of the Municipal Aquifer by Nutrite for a decade and by Varnicolor, Borg and others to this day. The wholesale removal of the old Council (less one) has destroyed the status quo and harmony of the power structure. They are not amused and they are reacting. What is amusing is that those they have propped up and supported secretly are now publicly getting into bed with them. They are all back lobbying privately including at the Township level. Our new Councillors may or may not know it but they are being approached to see if they are malleable or flexible. Are they really green or merely "pretend" green? Thus the circle continues.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This program came about due to the provincial Clean Water Act which was in direct response to the Walkerton tragedy in 2000. Waterloo Region and area's surface water flows south into lake Erie via the Nith, Conestoga, Speed and Grand Rivers. Both yesterday's K-W Record and today's had articles on this subject. Yesterday's was in regards to the Region (Eric Hogins) speaking at Cambridge Council and today's is titled "Report finds drinking water remains vulnerable".

Today's article in the Record while highly critical of efforts across Canada with some specific examples included, is actually complimentary of the overall efforts in Ontario. It does point out problems with pharmaceutical chemicals showing up in Ontario drinking water however and indeed there is a seperate article about a study showing higher rates of prostate cancer in men in jurisdictions where there is a high rate of oral contraceptive useage. The estrogen is ending up in both sewage plant discharges and eventually into drinking water supplies. The other problem as enunciated in yesterday's article is that these Source protection plans are looking at current and future land uses near municipal drinking wells. They are not addressing past toxic contamination already in the aquifers. Regarding the first problem (pharmaceuticals) yours truly has long complained about the hundreds of common chemicals that the Region of Waterloo for example do not test for in our water supplies. Regarding the second problem, here in Elmira is a perfect example. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the past citizens' Public Advisory Committee have intentionally ignored and avoided dealing with other sources of toxic contamination in the Elmira Aquifers, other than Chemtura (Uniroyal). These other sources continue to contaminate and render useless the current pumping regieme which is ostensibly going to restore our local drinking water. The good news is that the new CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) have publicly demanded examination of these "other sources" but the M.O.E. continue to deny and resist.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I’ve gone back a month to October 12/11 and looked at my posting here in the advocate titled “Lost In The Shuffle/Additions To The Upcoming CPAC Agenda”. Lo and behold those important items which needed to be discussed publicly at CPAC then either haven’t been at all or were put forward to the November 24/11 meeting. Following are suggested Agenda items for next Thursday evenings CPAC meeting. Overdue Agenda items are marked OVERDUE.
CPAC members are to receive a financial status Update to let them know where they stand in regards to CPAC’s budget.
David Marks request for a rationale from the M.O.E. regarding why they didn’t pursue other sources. OVERDUE
Update regarding the hiring of Gail Krantzberg.
Responsible Care Update.
Jeff Merriman (Chemtura) has promised a response to me regarding high NDMA & Chlorobenzene soil results at Yara (Nutrite).
Lot 91 & 62 Union St. excavations (Varnicolor). OVERDUE
DNAPL 100’ below ground by water tower & behind (west) Varnicolor. LONG OVERDUE
125 drum carcasses removed from M2 area this past summer. OVERDUE
Lab results from GP1 & 2 OVERDUE
Next spring’s excavations starting with GP1 & 2 followed by RPW 6 & 7
Less presentations from Chemtura such as Annual Work Plan, Plant Activities Summary, Five Year Assessments etc.. Hand out written reports days in advance of public meetings and CPAC members can ask you questions if they wish. These are fillers and a waste of time at public meetings.
Less from M.O.E. such as Monthly progress Report

Monday, November 14, 2011


First off the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting is set for Thursday November 24/11 in the Woolwich Council Chambers, Elmira at 6 pm. This venue is where Chemtura Canada (Uniroyal) will do their best to put a positive spin on "improvements" in Elmira's contaminated groundwater. The problem is that twenty-two years after it was suddenly discovered to be grossly contaminated by multiple toxic chemicals, it is still so with no reasonable date for cleanup. Keep in mind that the proposed date for the supposed thirty year cleanup is 2028, nearly fourty years after the wells were shut down. This date allows Chemtura and their partner in deflection and distraction, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, another seventeen years of talking, wiggling, delaying and bafflegabbing Woolwich citizens.

Our new CPAC members have appropriately put Chemtura's and the M.O.E.'s feet to the fire over Source Removal. Do not be guilted by Chemtura's current chief spokesperson Garth Napier of the M.O.E. whining about being harassed. Why shouldn't the M.O.E. be harassed? When they do either of the following two things then and only then should they be treated with respect: 1) Enforce their own past decisions and orders regarding source removal 2) Tell the public the truth. If you can't or won't do 1) then stop lying to the public and explain yourself honestly.

In regards to the title above, Source Removal is THE major Agenda Item. This fall has been very mild and the Dioxins could easily have been removed from GP1 & 2 since the latest test results came back. Instead with the M.O.E.'s acquiesence Chemtura have done nothing again this year. When your neighbour's cat or dog craps in your sandbox do you put a hose into the bottom, allow rainfall on the top and then suck on the hose to remove the contamination? I think not! You physically remove the crap your inconsiderate neighbour has left you. On the other hand Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. are a pair of sucks promoting pumping of groundwater for decades versus source removal.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I mentioned here last week that Michael Harris our new M.P.P. is also the new Environment Critic for the Conservative Opposition in the provincial legislature. Last Thursday's Elmira Independent carried a photo and story in regards to his new duties and responsibilities.

Way back on October 29/11 the Woolwich Observer carried a story titled "Putting so-called superweeds in perspective". It was supposed to be reassuring but for me at least it was not. There now are about 200 weed species around the world which have developed resistance to various herbicides and the implications for food production are significant. In Canada there have been 51 unique cases of herbicide resistance. This article does go on to state that farmers can manage this emerging issue with a number of strategys including rotating of crops within fields as well as changing herbicides being used from time to time. I am not a farmer but it seems to me that at least the good news is that there is recognition of a problem. That is always the first step towards solving it.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The front page of today's Woolwich Observer carrys the following story "Residents continue to assail Jigs Hollow pit proposal". This is an excellent read and should make Woolwich residents proud that you have some citizens who are willing to stick their necks out for everybody's good. On page 10, Editor Steve Kannon has his Editorial titled "Opponents target gravel on a variety of fronts". Some of his comments are both blunt and powerful and my hat is off to him for these following statements: "the province often sides with developers over the best interests of the people", "...the Ontario Municipal Board, which has a track record of ignoring local decisions in favour of developers.", and finally "...the Aggregate Resources Act is practically a cudgel, and the Ministry of Natural Resources seen as a defender of operators, not Ontarians.".

O.K. so what does the above title have to do with the Environment? Certainly on the surface, absolutely nothing. However it's Remembrance Day and Steve Kannon, the Editor of the Woolwich Observer has linked the two above items in an excellent Opinion piece in today's Woolwich Observer (ie. dated Sat. Nov. 12/11). The title is "Freedom of the markets is not what they gave their lives for". Steve's Opinion piece (pg. 12) has a quote from Benito Mussolini namely: "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.".

Thursday, November 10, 2011


So there I was this morning looking down into a new very large and very deep hole beside the former one where the old fuel tanks were. This one easily had to be twelve to fifteen feet deep and as back on October 17/11 I had reported that the remediation was complete, I was second guessing myself. Turns out all is well. I chatted with an on-site worker and was advised that the new hole was simply where they were going to be burying the new tanks. I also received an informative lecture regarding the latest technology being used for service stations. Besides fibreglass components versus steel (which rusts) there are also double walled hoses and fuel lines which have sensors to alert if the inner hose develops a leak. Also there soon will be automatic controls shutting down service stations when a leak is alerted until it is completely repaired. Clearly the environmental damage done by gas stations over the last sixty or seventy years has been extensive and the cleanup costs prohibitive. Hence the ounce of prevention with new stations should avoid the pound of damage and 1/2 pound of cleanup costs in the future.

As per today's Elmira Independent (pg. 2) it turns out that there were three presenters on Monday night in regards to the Kuntz (Jigs Hollow) pit near Winterbourne. The third was Jan Huisson who gave a visiual display to Council in regards to the proposed pit. The title of the article in the Indepndent is "Additional concerns raised over Jigs Hollow pit".

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This Notice was published in the Woolwich Observer on October 29/11. It is in regards to "Cultural Heritage Landscape in the Vicinity of West Montrose Official Plan Amendment Application 3/2011". The date and location of this public meeting is Tuesday November 22/11 in the Woolwich Council Chambers at 7 pm.. I am guessing that Monday's delegation to Council by Lynne Hare and Laurie Breed (mentioned here yesterday) may have been as a result of this upcoming public meeting. Also last evening on Rogers Channel 20 I saw Tony Dowling of "Bridgekeepers" speaking in regards to this proposed CHL designation and how it hopefully will help their case at the covered bridge in West Montrose. I intend to attend this public meeting as I have others in the past and I urge all Woolwich residents, not just West Montrose and area folks to also attend. Support for this designation is also support for people and homes and to "...put gravel in it's place.." which is not where we live and not in and beside the Grand River.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


There was a very brief mention in the on-line Agenda of Woolwich Township that Lynne Hare would be a Delegate at last night's televised Woolwich Council meeting, to speak about the Kuntz Pit on Jigs Hollow Rd.. This proposed pit is just outside the village of Winterbourne and within view of the old steel bridge across the Grand River. While watching my wife's favourite TV show last night and while channel surfing during the long commercials I came across Channel 20 and the televised Council meeting. Indeed I saw Lynne Hare as well as Laurie Breed, both speaking to this proposed pit. Not unsurprisingly they feel that this pit, similar to the one at West Montrose should be the subject of a CHL (Cultural Heritage Landscape) study. It is unfortunate that this many contentious gravel pits are coming forward nearly simultaneously. There is a political strategy whereby politicians pick and choose their battles carefully. In this instance they have clearly set their sights on stopping the West Montrose Pit and probably the Hunder Pit in Conestogo as well. The proposed Kuntz Pit may possibly also be a poor location but will Council go to the wall for it? I'm doubtful.

Monday, November 7, 2011


This Province of Ontario program is designed to promote the production of green energy in Ontario. It includes Biogas, Wind and Solar programs. Saturday's Woolwich Observer have a very informative article titled "FIT changes have green sector in limbo". Here in Woolwich Township we have a number of wind and solar facilities in place and we are of course involved in the proposed Bio-Gas facility at Martin's Lane in Elmira. There will be a review done by the Province which will look at both the prices paid to renewable energy producers as well as the possibility of including other technologies into the program. One of these for example would be geothermal installations.

As is understandable there has been some criticism, not so much of the review itself, but of the timing. Businesses that build either solar panels or wind turbines would like to be able to confidently market their products to potential customers with a firm price that the customers will be paid if they put their excess energy back into the electrical grid. At the moment, as the title of the Observer's article indicates, these customers and manufactureres are in limbo.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


These above titled advertisements have been repeatedly in our local newspapers over the last several weeks. I would agree that they serve some good purposes in that hopefully the public can decrease the amount of garbage they send to the dump. Secondly this can partly be achieved by a greater use of the green bins provided by the Region of Waterloo. My wife and I have just started back using our green bin over the last three weeks as it's getting too cold outside for our outdoor composter to do it's work. All this being said one can be excused for perhaps seeing some hypocrisy in the situation when one reads the following posting dealing with adding 60,000 tonnes of contaminated sediments to this very same landfill. Food is bad but heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons etc. are O.K. ??? Here's a thought City of Kitchener. Bill the offending upstream industrial/commercial users for more than $30 per tonne with the excess being used to treat and hence lessen the levels of contamination BEFORE putting it in our landfill. This principle is called POLLUTER PAYS.

There was another article in the K-W Record last Tuesday titled "Victoria Park lake project short of funds". As titled this article focuses on some financing problems associated with the project. At the same time the writer provides some interesting environmental information. There is 60,000 tonnes of contaminated sediment and 25,000 tonnes of native soil below the sediment to be removed. The contaminated sediment will be sent to the Regional Landfill on Erb St. for $30 per tonne while the native soil will go to the same place for only $5 a tonne. The efficacy of the higher fee for contaminated soils could be debated either way. The bottom line is that this landfill should never have been sited beside and above the St.Agatha Aquifer in the first place. It is probably far too late to close the barn door now, but somehow still adding any level of contaminated materials to this landfill seems to me to be more than pushing our luck.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Yesterday I criticized the K-W Record, CKCO-TV and the Woolwich Observer for not covering ANY CPAC meetings over the last few years. Lo and behold today's Woolwich Observer does have a very small article about CPAC. It is on pg. 3 and took place at Committee of the Whole meeting this last Tuesday night. The Observer have indicated that Woolwich Council have agreed to give $8,000 to CPAC in order to hire Dr. Gail krantzberg to assist them .

For approximately the last ten or eleven days I've been in e-mail communication with the constituency office of Michael Harris, our new M.P.P.. They had suggested a face to face meeting regarding Chemtura and the Elmira water issues, which I agreed to. I advised the constituency office (Ken) that I would like to include a few colleagues from CPAC & more and have since e-mailed them a couple more times. To date no followup from them. I now have three people interested in going with me to this proposed meeting as I have so advised the constituency office.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


CKCO-TV, K-W Record and Woolwich Observer where are you? Nobody expects you to keep up with the Michener Award winning Elmira Independent by attending and reporting on every monthly public Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) meeting. That the Independent have done this literally for two decades is fabulous. The other three media have from time to time shown their faces, with the Woolwich Observer years back, being more diligent. It is not possible for one weekly paper to be able to cover 100% of the local important issues that are raised at CPAC meetings. For example the posting following this one is titled "DMNA it they missed perfect by this much". This is in reference to the two excellent CPAC stories in this week's Independent; but the fact that they didn't have space to quote THREE CPAC members who publicly stated that there are "other sources" of groundwater contamination in Elmira that need to be looked at, in order to assure eventual cleanup of the Elmira aquifer.

DMNA = dimethylnitrosamine, n,n-nitrosodimethylamine, NDMA, nitrosodimethylamine

Today's Elmira Independent has two separate articles regarding last Thursday's CPAC meeting, both written by Editor Gail Martin. The first, on the front page , is "CPAC receives additional funding". The second on page 7 is titled "Odour complaints rise in October". Gail details the rationale for CPAC's request as well as the close vote two evenings ago at Committee of the Whole for Woolwich Township. I have been very quiet concerning this request because I have a conflict of interest. I have incredible respect for Dr. Henry Regier, Order of Canada recipient, former member of CPAC, current member of the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team and former mentor to Dr. Krantzberg. This all being so I feel that my support for this proposal is as much support for Drs. Regier & Krantzberg.

In regards to the second article (pg. 7), Gail Martin includes the phone numbers for both Chemtura and for the M.O.E. Spills Action Centre. I would suggest that citizens write these down and keep them on their fridges. The reason is this: A year ago, Shannon Purves- Smith brought details of odour complaints to the former CPAC. Her information was disheartening and clearly indicated odour problems with Chemtura were arising again. A year later we are hearing of three odour complaints. It is important that citizens report these odours immediately to both Chemtura and the Spills Action Centre otherwise they are not documented and indeed they are quickly forgotten.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This occurred last night in Council Chambers, Committee of the Whole meeting. I am so glad I attended because the lessons were invaluable. It would be extraordinarily easy to list the "bad" guys and the "good" guys in the drama that unfolded last night.

Dan Holt and Ron Campbell of CPAC had been advised by a Senior Staff person from Woolwich last week, that the proper route to obtain this money was via last night's Committee of the Whole meeting. The money is earmarked for professional studies and assistance from Dr. Gail Krantzberg who was recommended by our very own Dr. Henry Regier. If you walk along the Kissing Bridge Trail in Elmira, not far from the golf course, you will see the Community bench dedicated to Henry on the occasion of his receiving the Order of Canada for his career and professional studies regarding the Biology of the Great lakes.

First off I arrived before Dan and after Ron. I advised Ron that I had downloaded a copy of the Agenda and neither he nor Dan were on it. This was of great concern to Ron obviously and he wasn't sure what to do. Fortunately I've had some dealings with various Woolwich staff and I recognized a young female employee sitting at the front. I told Ron her name and advised him to immediately, before the meeting started , go up and tell her that he and Dan had been left off the Agenda. Ron did so and she advised him that she would immediately pass this on to the Woolwich Township Clerk, Christine Broughton. Christine was so advised and came back to talk to Ron and informed him that she had misunderstood the situation from the meeting the previous week. Christine was the Senior Staff person who had advised Dan and Ron the week before. Nevertheless Dan and Ron were then put on the Agenda as Delegates to the Committee of the Whole.

CAO David Brenneman spoke against Council (Committee of the Whole) agreeing to CPAC's request. His concerns had to do with Process and that Council should have received a written copy of the proposal ahead of time. Councillor Mark Bauman also spoke against CPAC's request. He stated that the proper process should be the request going through the 2012 budget process. Councillor Bonnie Bryant also spoke against the request. She too appeared to have budget and financial concerns in mind. Councillor Herteis asked a Staff person for advice in regards to Woolwich Township's ability to quickly respond and provide money in this instance. Mayor Todd Cowan took the lead and spoke in favour of CPAC's request. He is also Chair of this Committee of Council (ie. CPAC). When it came to a vote, Mark B. and Bonnie B. were opposed and Julie-Anne H. and Mayor Cowan in favour. Councillor Allan Poffenroth was acting as Chair and he broke the tie by voting in favour of the grant to CPAC.

In the first paragraph I had suggested that it would be easy to list the good "guys" and "bad" guys in last night's drama. Perhaps not. Councillor Bauman has impressed me on a number of occasions with his voting positions seemingly being contrary to his self professed "green" credentials. Bonnie Bryant surprised me as she is definitely "green" with her position on gravel pits near residential areas. The fact that Council were not prepared ahead of time for this Delegation is very strange. As was suggested privately after the meeting, CPAC had gone through the process that they had been advised to do. Mayor Todd Cowan rose to the occasion. I had suggested after last week's CPAC meeting that he was behaving aggressively. Well last evening he was behaving persuasively and was sucessful. Councillor Allan Poffenroth was a pleasant surprise although in hindsight perhaps he shouldn't have been. Sometimes appearances can be very deceiving and this is not the first time that Councillor Poffenroth has pleasantly surprised me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


All public Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) meetings are taped in their entirety. To the best of my knowledge this has always been so. These tapes have always been under the care and control of Woolwich Township. A secretary provided by either the Township or formerly the Region has written up the Minutes of meetings using the tapes as the basis (and or any notes they've taken during the meeting).

These meetings are normally three hours long and the Minutes usually are between 5 to 7 pages long. Obviously three hours of talking can not possibly all fit into 5-7 pages of the Minutes. Hence right off the bat there is a lot of subjectivity in regards as to what is significant and important enough to make the Minutes. None of the three Secretaries over the last twenty years have had any training in regards to hydrogeology, chemistry, pollution issues etc.. Neither have they had any training in the history or specifics of Uniroyal Chemical and their on-site waste disposal in Elmira.

For many years each new meeting and Agenda have had an "Approval of Minutes" section early on in the meeting. Both CPAC members and the attending public offer suggestions and corrections to the Minutes from the previous meeting. When the meeting was held only a month prior then memories of the meeting are at least reasonably fresh. On the other hand there have been dozens of meetings following CPAC layoffs of between two months and as much as six months. Finally copies of these Amended Minutes are no longer routinely provided to either CPAC members or the public. This is a huge failure in democratic process. They used to be so provided. The Agenda a long time ago had "A Discussion of Draft Minutes" section for the immediately previous meeting as well as "An Approval of Revised Minutes" section for the Amended Minutes from the meeting before that.

The situation in regards to CPAC Motions is even fuzzier. In one of our local newspapers is an aside to the fact that Woolwich Council must ratify every Motion passed by their Committee of Council, namely CPAC. Really! Twenty years plus in and this is news to me. Surely this doesn't include routine matters such as "Approval of the Minutes" and "Update of Agenda" , or does it? It certainly includes the appointment and dismissal of CPAC members and the naming of a vice-chair (David Marks). Has it ever included significant environmental statements passed by CPAC such as the July 2003 Request For Action? Clearly what is long overdue is an ongoing list of all CPAC Motions as well as verification as to whether or not they've been presented to Woolwich Council or not for ratification. Why do I suspect that past Chairs of CPAC have cherry picked CPAC Motions for presentation to Council? Why do I suspect that in the past Woolwich Council have used these procedural tools to aid and abet their favourite local polluter? Probably because in the last twenty-two years I've seen every imaginable bit of manipulation and skullduggery possible. Public Consultation in Elmira has been all about Public Manipulation since the get go.