Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Eleven months ago I received a response to a number of my questions from Mr. Peter Clarke, RMOW Water Specialist. This response was extremely disappointing in that it seemed as if Mr. Clarke was passing the buck from the region to the province. My questions of course all dealt with last year's Annual Water Report which came out in February 2011 and covered the testing results for 2010. This years results which to date I still have not completely in detail examined, do however share the same, in my opinion, fatal flaws as its' predecessors. Mr. Clarke would have me assign this blame to the Province of Ontario rather than the Region of Waterloo. To a certain degree I can understand Mr. Clarke's position. However the Region needs to be far more forthcoming both to the local Municipal Councils and to Regional Council regarding the inherent flaws and weaknesses in these reports. There are huge relevant data gaps that need to be addressed whether or not the province has mandated them. Region of Waterloo this isn't a case of going the extra mile. The Province have totally wimped out in their mandated list of chemical parameters required to be tested for. This is no accident as these parameters are ubiquitous in our water supply and we the citizens have a right to know if they are indeed present or not.

Quoting Mr. Clarke: "The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) provides an Annual Water Quality Report Template for owners/operators of drinking water systems to fill out. There is no regulatory requirement to test for the parameters listed above." The parameters listed above are the ones I asked him about in my letter : "Why are the following common contaminant results not listed namely Toluene, Xylenes, Ethyl benzene, NDMA, Dioxins, 1,1,1 TCA again throughout the reports?".

Keep in mind that Toluene, Xylenes and ethyl Benzene are components of gasoline. All cities have old, leaking gas stations. NDMA has been found in groundwater and well water in both Elmira and Cambridge in the past. 1,1,1 TCA is in Cambridge groundwater courtesy of Rozell (GE) on Bishop St. in Cambridge.

Another question to Peter Clarke was: "Also why aren't other by-products of disinfection listed with their numerical values such as Chloramines and Chloroacetic acids?" Mr. Clarke's answer: " There is no regulatory requirement to test for Chloroacetic Acids or Chloramines."

Finally I asked "How come there are no results for Radiological compounds?" Mr. Clarke's answer: "There is no MOE requirement to test for these compounds.".

My last question to Mr. Clarke dealt with high method detection limits (MDL). These detection limits when set too high can readily hide low level detections of contaminants. I asked Mr Clarke: "Is there any reason why the Region couldn't use lower MDL's?" Mr. Clarke's response: "As noted previously, MDL's are set by individual accredited laboratories.".

It is my opinion that Mr. Clarke's answers are unsatisfactory. He may be assigning blame elsewhere but that does not improve these Annual Water Reports. They are masquerading as proof that our drinking water is fine but they are ignoring important and crucial data that we have a right to have.


It is grossly disappointing. If the information I've received off the record is correct, and I have no information otherwise, then the fault lies with the province. This hearing seems to be no more than lawyers arguing about the height of the fence proposed to run parallel to Union St.. The idea is that this fence whether 3 or 4.5 metres high will insulate the new residents from the noise of trains shunting nearby. Apparently the health and safety issues arising from fires, explosions and chemical leaks are not encapsulated in any Provincial planning legislation. I am advised that individual citizens will be speaking to the Board, possibly on Thursday, on those matters. At the same time I'm advised that those issues are not legally significant. If indeed that is so then shame on the Province because putting more people in harms way is reprehensible. All the waivers and warning clauses in the world on these new homes do not and will not release those responsible down the road when tragedy strikes, most likely because of Chemtura .

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Is today's ongoing Ontario Municipal Board Hearing a sellout? It restarts at 1:30 pm. after lunch and there are only three parties namely the Region, the Township and the developer. Now besides Chemtura dropping out, so have Sulco Chemicals! Members of the old CPAC and myself were in attendance this morning. All parties have agreed that the only remaining issues are noise from shunting trains and designation of a little parkland. WHAT THE HELL! What about the health and safety of future residents dealing with fires, explosions and fugitive air emissions? Is the Planning legislation that incredibly biased in favour of development that noise is more important than life and death? My guess is that Chemtura and Sulco have received some kind of indemnitys protecting them from liability if these proposed new citizens die due to emissions from these companies. Afterall, sweetheart deals are no strangers to the Region of Waterloo and certainly not the Province of Ontario. Where and what are the Township of Woolwich doing? It is beginning to indeed appear that provincial legislation once again is overiding commonsense and local knowledge.


This is a another feel good, pro business, redevelopment story from the Waterloo Region (K-W) Record. As usual it does a service to the business community while ignoring far more fundamental health issues of the local residents. The title in yesterday's Record was "Site cleanup seen as big step in Kitchener's urban landscape". The site was home to Breithaupt Leather and Pannill Veneer afterwards. The writer Terry Pender informs us "...the company had to remove 70,000 tonnes of lightly contaminated soil from the site..." Who said it was "lightly contaminated"? The developer perhaps? Nobody removes any "lightly " contaminated soil much less 70,000 tonnes. Bullshit & PooPoo del toro ! Riley Leather Co. was one of the contributers to the TCE (trichloroethylene) contamination in Woburn Mass., USA made famous by John Travolta in A Civil Action. Leather companies use acids and solvents in their processes. A veneer company most likely used glues to combine the wood together. That would also involve the use of solvents. Has this writer even gone and looked at the site? It and the excavations are absolutely massive. Does anybody seriously think that this much contaminated soil was not contaminating the groundwater beneath? Where are the environmental reports? Where are the groundwater and nearby drinking well studies? Do the nearby residents have even a clue as to the danger to their health? Why are our authorities municipal, regional and provincial not looking out for the health of these citizens? The answer is because they are much more concerned with the financial health of the local economy and businesses than the health of modest income nearby homeowners. Shame on you and shame on the Record for your complicity.

Monday, February 27, 2012


This Ontario Municipal Board Hearing into the proposed subdivision across from Sulco, Varnicolor (former) and Chemtura started in Woolwich Council Chambers this morning at 11 am. but was quickly adjourned. It will resume tomorrow morning at 10 am. at the same location. Clearly there have been errors of omission planning wise in years gone by as this location should not have ever been zoned residential. My expectation is that once again the public (taxpayers) will be paying off the same private enterprise who influenced poor decision making in the first place.


"Provincial Government Not Environmentally Friendly" is the title of an article in this month's Ontario Out Of Doors (Fishing Annual 2012) magazine (pg. 20). Apparently our Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, has strongly criticized the Ontario government in his last annual report. In relation to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE); "He says funding cuts make it difficult for both ministries to carry out their core functions. Their combined budgets only comprised .76% of the Ontario government's 2010/11 operational expenses.". This clearly is NOT putting your money where your mouth is. Furthermore "Since 1992/1993, the MOE has lost 45% of its budget and MNR 22%. Then their combined budgets accounted for 2.15% of tax dollars spent.". Clearly these reductions have adversely affected the ability of the Ontario M.O.E. to either protect or rehabilitate our environment.

Commissioner Miller has suggested that at the very least these ministries should be honest with the public and tell them clearly how limited their resources are to do their jobs. That unfortunately would not be seen to be the politically correct route. Puffery seems to be the way that politicians prefer. Puffery is the verbiose and bombastic bullshit used by liars to cover up their shortcomings. An example is the overused claim that Ontario is "world class" in their protection of their environment. What they are world class in is lying. See last week's postings here regarding the M.O.E.'s "sweetheart deal" with Uniroyal Chemical in Elmira, Ontario. Twenty-one years of appearing at public consultation (CPAC) meetings pretending to clean up the Elmira aquifers and Uniroyal's site, knowing all along that you had given the company a private Release/Indemnity absolving them of all liability. Now that's world class lying.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


These are produced by the Region of Waterloo as mandated by the province after the water crisis in Walkerton. They are on line (click on Region... above). Yesterday I just had time for a quick perusal so I immediately jumped to the wells in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge that can be counted on, year after year to be contaminated with industrial chemicals. Sure enough old faithfuls came through again this time (2011 results). The William St. wells in Waterloo have been contaminated with Trichloroethylene (TCE) just about forever and still are. There are four wells and with careful manipulation of them the concentration of TCE is between 1.4 and 2.0 parts per billion (ppb) well below the drinking water standard of 5 ppb. The three wells in the Parkway well supply system in Kitchener manage to keep their concentration down to .6 ppb. Mind you this is the result of only one test during the entire year so maybe they got lucky at testing time. We then swing over to the Middleton well field in Cambridge. This wellfield has been the long time winner throughout the Region of Waterloo in terms of high TCE readings. I felt this year that they would be relinquishing the title due to the upgrades known as AOP or Advanced Oxidation Process. Surprise they haven't finished them yet! Once more their concentartions of TCE are between 1.9 and 2.9 ppb. This is however a huge reduction from last year's high of 3.1 ppb. Way to go Middleton wellfield. Finally well G9 located near the old Allen-Bradley and Long Mfg. again this year still has TCE although at only 1.6 ppb. Well G6 up near the former Ciba-Geigy site also still has Metalachlor in it at .68 ppb. It seems that industrial solvents and pesticides are a lot like true love in that they last forever. So next Valentine's day forgo fattening chocolates and give your sweetie some toxic industrial waste. More will be coming on this year's Annual Water Report.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Today I picked up from the Elmira Post Office an envelope from the firm of Garrod*Pickfield Environmental, Minicipal and Planning Law. It was a notice directed from the Ontario Municipal Board to the lawyers for the proposed Hunder Gravel Pit located between Conestogo and Winterbourne. The Notice was an upcoming Prehearing Conference to be held Tuesday April 17, 2012 10:30 am. at the Township of Woolwich Municipal Offices, Council chambers located at 24 Church St. West in Elmira. For students of Elmira's environmental history, Stephen Garrod was the lawyer who represented the Township at two Environmental Appeal Board hearings concerning Uniroyal a little over twenty years ago. His partner's wife Barbara Pickfield was hired to give advice and counselling to UPAC/CPAC back in the 90's as they were foundering. The cause of their foundering was eerily similar to the problems today, being overzealous control of the committee by Woolwich Township officials. Further problems would include the blatant pro Uniroyal bias on the citizens committee in the early days. That much at least has changed for the better. This Prehearing Conference will deal with the normal issues such as Identification of parties, participants and issues. There will also be discussion of start dates and duration of the hearing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today is the fifth day in a row that I've posted in regards to the Oct. 7, 1991 Sweetheart deal between Uniroyal Chemical and the Ministry of the Environment. There are numerous local environmental issues here in Woolwich township and I try to cover them all. Every once in a while something so particularily important happens that I tend to focus on it for a few days. This particular issue is of huge significance.

At the moment including this site there are four websites carrying this story. They are the Cambridge Advocate, Stop the Stink and the Huffington Post. Simply googling the first should get you to it otherwise I believe it's at . The second can be googled and or is also under the BFCC or Bio-Fuel Concerned Citizens and the last is at www. . This last website is a newspaper and apparently the Federal Environment Minister, Peter Kent, is to be their guest today for an interview. This interview will be him answering environmental questions that have been submitted on-line by the papers' readers. You guessed it, the owner of the Cambridge Advocate has submitted a question dealing with "backroom" deals (ie sweetheart deals) between polluters and the Ministry of the Environment. This is specific to Uniroyal and the M.O.E..

Further media interest to date has come from both the local newspapers in Woolwich Township namely the Elmira Independent and the Woolwich Observer. Also the Waterloo Region (K-W) Record has expressed some interest. I'm hoping all three of these papers will very shortly be publishing relevant stories and information. Our local news radio 570 has been e-mailed as has CKCO-TV. Again we will have to wait to see.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012



THIS AGREEMENT made this 7 TH day of October, 1991.






1.1 The Director issued the Control order, (as defined in Section 3.0
of this Agreement), to Uniroyal Chemical Ltd., UCC Investors Holding, Inc.,
Uniroyal Chemical Holding Company, Uniroyal Chemical Acquisition Corporation,
Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc. and Walter Cook.

1.2 By letter dated September 12, 1990, Uniroyal Chemical Ltd. requested a
hearing by the Board (as defined in Section 3.0 of this Agreement) with respect
to certain provisions of the Control Order.

1.3 By letter dated September 17, 1990, UCC Investors Holding, Inc., Uniroyal
Chemical Holding Company, Uniroyal Chemical Acquisition Corporation, Uniroyal
Chemical Company, Inc. and Walter Cook, requested a hearing by the Board with
respect to the whole of the Control Order.

1.4 By letter dated July 30, 1991, the director issued a new Order to Uniroyal
Chemical Ltd. supplementary to the Control Order with respect to Part IV, clause
5 of the Control Order for the remediation of the Buried Waste, (as defined in
Section 3.0 of this Agreement).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Following is the wording of Paragraphs 16.1 and 16.2 on page 15 of the Release/Indemnity (Agreement of Oct. 7, 1991) between Uniroyal Chemical, contributer to the destruction of the Elmira drinking water aquifers, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Where I have put... simply indicates five lines of additional corporate names for Uniroyal, their officers, directors etc. .

" the province does hereby remise, release and forever discharge Uniroyal ... from all actions, causes of action, damages, claims, and demands whatsoever of which both Uniroyal and the Province are presently aware, which against Uniroyal ... the province ever had, now has or which the Province or its assigns can, shall or may have by reason of or arising out of contamination on the Uniroyal site in Elmira" .

Following paragraph 16.1 is 16.2 which is as follows:

" Uniroyal does hereby remise, release and forever discharge the province and its assigns of and from all actions, causes of action, damages, claims and demands whatsoever, of which both Uniroyal and the Province are presently aware, which against the Province, Uniroyal ever had, now has or which Uniroyal, its successors and assigns or any of them hereafter can, shall or may have by reason of or arising out of contamination at the Uniroyal plant site in Elmira."

How can our government legally pardon Uniroyal from their actions? This occurred in the middle of a legal proceeding known as the Environmental Appeal Board Hearings. What information did Uniroyal have on the Ministry of the Environment that was so damning? Was Uniroyal going to expose M.O.E. corruption either at the Appeal Board Hearings or at their threatened followup civil suit? We may never know now because of this sweetheart deal. Uniroyal saved hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs and the M.O.E. saved what little was left of their tattered credibility and reputation. And who knows, did they avoid some kind of criminal charges or were they merely civilly culpable?

Monday, February 20, 2012


The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) initiated a public advisory committee via Woolwich Council back in 1991. Since that date the M.O.E. have kept this committee in the dark and covered in (bull) shit, hence the expression the mushroom treatment.

The October 7, 1991 Release/Indemnity given to Uniroyal Chemical by the M.O.E. is referred to at the top of its' first page as Schedule H of the March 1993 Settlement agreement between the M.O.E., Uniroyal and the REGION of WATERLOO. Hmm! Is this only about Uniroyal allegedly providing the wherewithal for the pipeline from Waterloo to Elmira, or is there more? Regardless the fact that the REGION had the Oct. 7,1991 Uniroyal/M.O.E. sweetheart deal at least since March 1993 explains their behaviour since. They have gone so far as to send their designated denier (hydrogeological) to Elmira to spin factually incorrect fictions to Woolwich Council in front of me, regarding other sources of contamination in Elmira.

Back to the M.O.E.'s behaviour here in Elmira. They and or their employees have been caught red handed tipping off polluters about upcoming Ministry raids (Varnicolor). They have also denied the existence of buried tanks while standing on top of them and mugging for the cameras. They have blatantly suffered from fictitious disorder syndrome while denying the presence of half buried drums on Varnicolor's Lot 91. They have destroyed evidence directly opposed to promises they made beforehand to citizens. Then there is the paperwork sneaky stuff. They consult with the public about a Control Order and get their approval. Then without further consultation they change the Order significantly to the polluter's benefit. In June 2000 the M.O.E. quietly amended the November 1991 Control Order in regards to full on-site hydraulic containment in all aquifers. THEN they approached CPAC (Chem Public Advisory Comm.) to BEGIN discussions on a process they called "optimization". Allegedly this process was to prove that full on-site hydraulic containment was not necessary. For three years we argued and debated not knowing it was a done deal even before we started.

Citizens this is your Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The sweetheart deal was signed by Uniroyal management including Wally Ruck. His claim to environmental fame was his comment that "NDMA is not in our vocabulary". It was also signed by then Minister of the Environment, Ruth Grier. To date Woolwich Township have decided not to release the Uniroyal Indemnity/Sweetheart Deal to the public. The Mayor has at least temporarily convinced CPAC to give him some latitude on the matter. I have major confidence in CPAC's integrity but a little less in the Mayor's. ABSOLUTELY NOBODY HAS THE MORAL OR LEGAL RIGHT TO FURTHER DENY THE TRUTH TO THE PUBLIC !

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Over the years here in Elmira, Ontario I have seen some grotesque examples of Ontario Min. of the Environment incompetence, corruption and deception. This time I am less shocked because I had a number of years ago put the pieces of the puzzle together. The M.O.E. basically are a government buffer between polluting industries and outraged citizens. They pretend to be unbiased third parties looking out for nature and the environment.

If you look on the website for the Township of Woolwich you will see under the heading of Council, the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). Among other purposes and goals, CPAC are to work towards the cleanup of both the Elmira aquifers and the Chemtura (Uniroyal) site. Through discussion and collaboration they are to determine the best course of action for the environmental cleanup here in Elmira. The M.O.E. in the past have been caught misrepresenting facts. They have had one of their Officers charged and convicted for attempting to assist in the coverup at Varnicolor Chemical. They have been a party to the "phantom mound" which was a hydrogeological artifice used by Chemtura to indicate that they had greater hydraulic containment on their site than they actually did. They have amended the Nov. 1991 Control Order first and then gone to CPAC and asked to discuss the possibility of doing that which was already done. We all thought that the Control Order still mandated full hydraulic containment on the Chemtura site, seven years after the requirement had been removed.

The 1991 Control Order also mandated the "removal of DNAPL as a contaminant source". Or so we thought. That's what the document said. Not only did it not happen but the M.O.E. routinely sided with Uniroyal/Chemtura and their consultants when they produced reports whose conclusions were in glaring contrast to the data produced. DNAPL report after DNAPL report constantly minimized both the presence, the significance and the remediation necessary.

Eventually it became obvious to me that the M.O.E. and Chemtura had some kind of formal or informal sweetheart deal in place. Twenty-one years after the fact this has been confirmed. On October 7, 1991 Uniroyal and the M.O.E. signed their deal. It was a blanket Indemnity to Uniroyal for their destruction of the Elmira drinking water aquifers. It was formalized one month prior to the November 4, 1991 Amended Control Order. In fact this Control Order was merely the public face put on the non cleanup of the Elmira aquifers. This private deal known as Schedule H was to give Uniroyal the right to ignore calls for the cleanup of their grossly contaminated site. Unknown to the public and the public consultation body supposedly formed to assist with the cleanup, Uniroyal had a free pass. The province of Ontario permitted them to walk but were careful not to tell the public. If they had there would have been a huge outcry both in Elmira and probably across Canada. The "Elmira crisis" was national news at that time. The M.O.E. and Uniroyal repeatedly misled the public when they insisted that the cleanup would be done and it would be done right. The only thing that was done right was the sweetheart deal.

This sweetheart agreement known as Schedule H has only come to light inadvertently. It was handed out unkowingly to myself and the new CPAC members by Woolwich Township. If it wasn't for the almost complete turnover of Council and Mayor in the last Municipal election, we still wouldn't have this smoking gun. Make no mistake this is the smoking gun proving the close ties between polluters and their supposed regulators. This agreement documents the grotesque breech of the public trust by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. They have sold out, deceived and betrayed the public in Elmira, Ontario for the last twenty- three years.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


For the last year I've been vociferously complaining about the lack of off-site pumping at Chemtura. These complaints are because the alleged cleanup of the Elmira aquifer is based upon pump and treat technology being undertaken at a computer modelled rate. These rates are W3- 11.4 litres/second W4 (ie. well #4)- 11.4 l/s W5A- 1.9 l/s
W5B- 1.9 l/s E7 - 26.5 .

Coincidentally or not the off-site pumping rates have been in the dumpster since November 2010 which is the first month after almost our entire Council got thrown out of office. Isn't that weird? Well finally I can report a major change. The off-site pumping has dramatically worsened! It has been literally years since it's been this ridiculously low. It's probably the worst its' ever been with the exception when it was shut down in 2008 for the construction of the new Ammomia Treatment System. But wait the news gets worse. Now the on-site pumping is in the crapper. The on-site pumping is supposed to keep the subsurface dissolved contamination from flowing off site whereas the off-site pumping is supposed to actually clean the Elmira aquifer. Well at the moment neither is even close to occurring.

For the month of January 2012 W3- 0.0 l/s W4- 3.8 l/s W5A- 0.0 l/s W5B- .2 l/s
The on-site pumping was verbally promised a few years ago to be 6.0 litres/ second. The written target rate turned out to be 5.2 l/s. For January 2012 the actual pumping rate was 1.7 l/s .

The excuses are always colourful and entertaining. Maybe some of them are actually truthful. I don't care anymore. Hydraulic containmant was and is a scam. At the very least you would think that the M.O.E. and Chemtura could manufacture and maintain their own illusion and sham. They aren't even that competent.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I commented here in the Elmira Advocate on Tuesday January 17, 2012 with the title "CPAC IS CANCELLED AGAIN". That story can be accessed through the Blog Archives on the right side of the page and down slightly. At this point in time the public CPAC meeting has been cancelled for December, January and now February. If you thought I was upset and disturbed a month ago, guess where I am right now. Also last Saturday February 11/12 I posted an article namely "CPAC AGENDAS NEED WORK". This was a list of important items that desperately needed to be on this month's CPAC Agenda. These are items that are not only important but also items that have fallen by the way since the first public CPAC meeting with the current membership, last June 8/12.

CPAC members please listen carefully. IF you have regular monthly public meetings at the same time, location and date you will get public attendance. If however you continue to be irregular and inconsistent and most especially keep CANCELLING meetings you won't. Simple as that.

Momentum and pressure are linked. You had both, big time, by the end of the November public CPAC meeting. You quite literally had the M.O.E. and Chemtura on the run. You have now completely lost both pressure and momentum.

You inherited a vast backlog of issues partly because of the huge delay and procrastination of the new Council and Mayor from November 2011 until your first public meeting last June 8/12. You are exacerbating your own backlog of items and issues which need to be dealt with. This has been happening ever since the cancellation of last August's meeting and is fast becoming insurmountable.

The next date of March 29, 2012 is unacceptable. CPAC you need to step it up. RESCHEDULING may occasionally be necessary but cancelling AGAIN for another five weeks is appalling. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS HAS GONE ON FOR TWENTY-TWO YEARS? I've seen and watched delays and cancellations every single time CPAC makes an inch of progress. Most of the time it's been intentional. I know that some of you believe this time was unavoidable and indeed personal commitments of family etc. do come first. Nevertheless you need to reschedule quickly even if you all can't be present.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I received this report two days ago from a friend. It's dated Feb. 13, 2012 and is an on-line report titled The U.S. Veteran Dispatch. The address at the bottom of each page is . It appears as if the authors have reproduced a report that they published twenty -two years ago as the title is "The Story of Agent Orange" and below that in smaller letters it says "U.S. Veteran dispatch Staff Report November 1990 Issue".

I have over the last twenty years read enough reports and documents concerning Agent Orange production and history to recognize certain facts and data presented in this document. That being said this is the first in depth historical review of the blatant political fraud and corruption surrounding the entire Dioxin and Agent Orange issue. This report claims that political interference including from the White House was an ongoing situation during various and assorted testing and research into health issues affecting U.S. servicemen exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The methods and subterfuges used to manipulate study results are incredible. The political talent used to delay, minimize and obscure some truly terrible results of exposure to the Dioxins in Agent Orange was ongoing and immense. Even the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) is named as a co-conspirator in the coverup. Keep clearly in mind that the U.S. Federal Government was using its' immense influence, power and resources to essentially protect U.S. chemical manufacturers at the medixal expense of its' own citizens and veterans. It is quite clearly a disgusting indictment of the U.S. Federal government as well as various chemical companies particularily Dow. Other manufacturers named included Monsanto, Hercules and Uniroyal.

Fast forward to here in Woolwich Township and particularily Elmira. Uniroyal Chemical, now known as Chemtura produced Dioxin contaminated Agent Orange for the U.S. military. Does anyone think that the U.S. government's handling and coverup of Dioxin toxicity is any different here? Does anyone think that our Ontario Ministry of the Environment are incapable of coverups and gross lying to the public? Why do you think the real cleanup of Dioxins and more has done nothing but spin its' wheels for twenty-three years? Do you really think that it's by accident or due to a lack of knowledge or hard data? Not at all. The evidence of a private sweetheart deal between government and our local polluter is overwhelming.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


This following article came off of Yahoo! News yesterday. The title is "Man who lost wife to cancer fights Veterans Affairs for Agent Orange payment". The second last sentence in this news release reads as follows "Agent orange was part of a toxic cocktail of herbicides sprayed at CFB (Cnd. Forces Base) Gagetown in 1966 and 1967 by the U.S. military, with permission from Canada."

That above sentence absolutely stuns me. The U.S. military is doing chemical testing in Canada. Secondly it was done "...with permission from Canada." Odd I was a teenager then and reading newspapers. I must have missed the plebiscite. Or perhaps it was an election issue. The focus of this article is that this particular woman's family have missed out on a $ 20,000 payment for victims of Dioxin poisoning carried out by the U.S. military on Canadian soil. The real issues are more likely the fact that the $ 20,000 is a pittance and frankly disgusting. Also is the fact that Canadian authorities are buying their way out of moral and legal accountability.

Then there is the issue I've indicated in my title for this posting. They sprayed poison namely Dioxin also known as 2,3,7,8 TCDD onto the ground down east. Here in Elmira Ontario the very same Agent Orange containing the very same Dioxin was manufactured for export to the U.S. military. Here in Elmira, Uniroyal Chemical aka Chemtura sloppily spilled, pumped, buried and drained Dioxins into the air, soil, groundwater and even into the Canagagigue Creek. To this day they are still on that site merrily being transported down river onto floodplains all the way to the Grand River just below West Montrose. How fortunate for us, our neighbours, our children and wildlife that we are magically immune here in Ontario to cancer causing Dioxin. I mean surely we must be immune. Our governments, regional, provincial and federal have cheerfully ignored our pleas and demands for over twenty years to clean up this poison. Dioxins are below ground, readily accessible on both sides of the creek at Chemtura. We know exactly where they are yet the Region of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment would rather protect Uniroyal/Chemtura than the citizens who live here. I surely hope the politicians involved are happy with their payoffs be they political, financial or social.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today's K-W Record in Section D advises us that in some political jurisdictions there are real consequences for criminal environmental offences. The title of the story is
"Canadian asbestos industry not worried by prison, $59 million damages for execs in Italy". Construction firm executives "...were handed 16-year prison sentences for negligence following a trial that officials called historic." The convicted men "...failed to stop asbestos fibres at factories in northern Italy from spreading across the region." Apparently there had been more than 2,000 asbestos related deaths. The defendants were also ordered to pay millions of dollars to their towns where their victims lived.

Contrast this with Canada and Ontario. Right here in Elmira and Woolwich Township we have carcinogenic materials still buried and readily accessible on the Chemtura site. We also have DDT and Dioxins pinpointed years ago within a few metres of the Canagagigue Creek, also readily accessible for removal. And all we get are broken promises and downright deceptions. Mickey Mouse fines and charges over the years. A Ministry of the Environment that looks after themselves and the polluter first instead of the interests of the public.

Monday, February 13, 2012


The Saturday before last (Feb. 4/12) the Woolwich Observer had an amazing article describing one of our provincial Ministrys. The title of the article written by Steve Galea was "Truth delayed is truth denied in a world run by spin doctors". The Ministry which Steve was describing was the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Steve said "...every query, no matter how simple, needs to be taken up the ladder to their communication people so that the answers can be massaged and politically sanitized before coming back.". Mr. Galea who is an outdoors writer both for newspapers and for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters had been making inquiries of the M.N.R. regarding bear hibernation. Specifically he wanted to know from the experts, whom we taxpayers fund for our mutual advantage, when bears come out of hibernation and what percentage of their body fat they lose in the process. Instead of a fairly quick response he got the runaround as his questions got pushed up the ladder. "Maybe you need to put a spin on bear hibernation. Otherwise it might indicate that bears get bored with Ontario winters and that would be hurtful to tourism at a very difficult time.". Mr. Galea has further indicated his concern with asking questions about bird migration for fear of receiving the following answer: "Our MNR spin doctors would probably suggest that while waterfowl go south, it's only because thay have dual citizenship."

The point that Steve Galea is making with humour, albeit it actually happened, is that our provincial Ministrys are less than honest with us, the citizens and taxpayers. Clearly political correctness and political expediency trump the honest truth even in matters of minor significance. Just imagine in serious matters how our governments are willing to deceive, manipulate and massage the truth.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Following are a list of items that should be on the next AGENDA for the upcoming public CPAC meeting of Thursday February 23, 2012. Some of them have fallen by the wayside over time, others have been intentionally ignored by various parties but none of them are new.

As was brought to the attention of CPAC last fall, years ago CPAC passed a Motion to make the July 2003 Request For Action a standing Agenda item. Put it on.

David Marks many months ago asked the Ontario M.O.E. for their rationale for not pursuing "other sources" of contamination in Elmira. Still waiting M.O.E. .

125 barrels in various states of disrepair were excavated in the M2 area (south-west) of Chemtura last summer. To date we have no pictures and no soil or water results. How much soil if any was removed as well?

GP1 & GP2 lab results have been witheld from CPAC and the public since last fall. These are Dioxins and DDT and more to which we are all exposed environmentally.

Groundwater results for the two Varnicolor sites were promised to CPAC and the public last summer. where are they? You know both Chemtura and the M.O.E. that you don't have to wait until a CPAC meeting to hand out this data. There are things nowadays such as e-mail, and snail mail.

The ongoing and particularily bad off-site pumping over the course of 2011 should be on the Agenda. The pumping has been disgraceful and if that failure is not discussed at CPAC, it will be more disgraceful.

The BLE-25 spill from the fall of 2010 was supposed to be peer reviewed and brought to CPAC a long time ago. Shamefull!

The ongoing discussions (except publicly at CPAC) around Chemtura's proposed site wide certificate of Approval for Air have been backroom negotiated for several years now. CPAC and the public have been kept totally in the dark. CPAC please kick this idea and its' disgusting process to the curb ASAP.

The Responsible Care reverification at Chemtura seems to have become invisible. I've been hearing for months that they failed to pass and quite frankly that is appropriate. How about the long suffering public getting something official on this? Last but not least this item has been raised by me for about the last three years. DNAPLS 100' below ground at OW57-32R beside the Elmira water tower and just west of Varnicolor. Do not let Chemtura and the M.O.E. out of the room without them confirming the fact of its' existence and what they plan to do about it. Obviously they hope to continue to ignore it. DON'T LET THEM!

To date the six CPAC members have not had honest input into the Agenda. This may explain why appropriate items are not getting onto it. Chair and Mayor Todd Cowan has been advised before and will continue to be advised: CPAC is not a one man show, nor is its' process to be dominated by one man. Delegate before you destroy CPAC.

Friday, February 10, 2012


It is embarassing. To err is human, to forgive divine and to fix it is just plain commonsense. Someone at Woolwich Township did indeed fix the monumental, boneheaded error of posting (secret) Minutes of a private CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) meeting on the Township's website. First off I have no problem with this particular meeting being private because I do believe that it was primarily educational in nature dealing with a Hydrogeology 101 course. Secondly I referred to the Minutes as secret not because I have any knowledge that they were so intended. They were "secret" in that the CPAC members were not advised that the usual public taperecording was underway and even more importantly these Minutes from the September 19/11 meeting were not distributed to the CPAC members prior to their publication either out of courtesy or for amendments.

What has not been fixed to date has been repeatedly pointed out to Mayor Cowan both by CPAC members and myself. I even went so far ten days ago of speaking publicly to Woolwich Council about those errors. They are still there. They include a direct link to a Chemtura website imbedded in the CPAC information. The Chemtura link is highly self promotional including patting themselves on the back for their adherence to the industry Responsible Care program. Aside from the fact that is typical Chemtura BULLSHIT, one it's false and misleading and two it's giving the incorrect impression that they and CPAC are on the same page with their website being linked in the middle of CPAC information. The Township's website also still hasn't got the Agenda or Minutes for the first public CPAC meeting of June 8, 2011. How do I know it existed and was public? Well for one I attended and for two I've got a copy of the Minutes AS SHOULD THE PUBLIC! These Minutes go into detail regarding Chemtura's failures to remove Dioxins , easily accessible , on their property. Also to date the Minutes from the last public CPAC meeting (last November) also are not up yet. Perhaps a Draft has finally been released privately but get the final version up on your website Woolwich Township and in future NOT THREE MONTHS AFTER THE FACT!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Well I'm glad that the lawsuit described two days ago here in the Advocate has been settled. Yesterday's K-W Record advises us in a very tiny article that the City of Kitchener and Everest College have settled the $800,000 lawsuit filed against the City. "The college operations and parking lot were disrupted by the $19 million cleanup during the winter of 2006-2007." One concern I have is the statement that the details of the settlement will not be made public. This is a typical political manoevre which is totally inappropriate. It is taxpayers money above and beyond the original cleanup cost and should be public knowledge. These same governments blatantly advise us that they need more tax money while cutting social services; yet they refuse to disclose tax expenditures. What kind of democracy is that? Furthermore if EVERY public expenditure were made public there would be much more public accountability of where OUR tax money goes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The longer I write here in the Advocate the more I understand the broader implications for Woolwich Township environmentally. Originally I thought Woolwich environmental issues would only be Chemtura, Bio-En, gravel pits and the like. Not so . That which affects the air and climate particularily also affects Woolwich Township,

In this case we have an article from the K-W Record dated last December 1, 2011. the title is "Permafrost thaw a "vicious cycle" of greenhouse gases". Apparently decaying plants after thousands of years in the north that were trapped in the ground by permafrost, are now being released as the permafrost thaws. "The permafrost scientists predict that over the next three decades a total of about 45 billion metric tonnes of carbon from methane and carbon dioxide will seep into the atmosphere when permafrost thaws during summers." Between now and 2100 the prediction is more than 300 billion metric tonnes of carbon will belch from the thawing earth. Methane is worse than carbon dioxide however they are both greenhouse gases and thus this "vicious cycle" of global warming will magnify its' own effects as the permafrost thaws.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The story was in the K-W Record on February 2, 2012 and was titled "Settlement studied in downtown coal tar lawsuit". This refers to a lawsuit filed three years ago against the City of Kitchener by Everest Colleges who rent a city owned building on the corner of Gaukel and Charles St.. The initial problem revolved around the 2007, nearly $20 million cleanup of coal tar under the old post office which was formerly a coal gasification plant. The College alleges that they lost students due to the cleanup and foul odours and that they lost parking revenue and had costs associated with air and water quality tests they took to protect students.

For me this case like so many other municipal coal tar problems and cleanups is almost a classic political story. The coal gasification plant operated from 1882 until 1958. It left behind massive quantities of toxic sludge which had been dumped into shallow pits. Coal tar contains not only the usual suspects such as benzene, toluene and xylenes but also a number of much worse components such as bezo a pyrene. Perhaps in 1882 we didn't know better but by 1958 we certainly did. Obviously city fathers (ie. politicians) made a shortsighted decision not to spend a half a million dollars then for cleanup in favour of leaving it for the next batch of politicians to have to resolve. Twenty million dollars later and perhaps another million to settle with Everest College plus legal expenses now versus doing it initially. All these costs aren't even considering the environmental and human health damage over the decades. Do you really think the groundwater in the area wasn't contaminated? Do you really think there wasn't some vapours over the decades in buildings on top of that awful mess? Coal tar residues courtesy of coal gasification plants have been removed from many municipalities over the decades including from Waterloo where we get our water piped in from. Those municipalities who have as yet not cleaned up, have ticking time bombs which most probably are negatively affecting the air and water of local residents.

Monday, February 6, 2012


The most recent coyote article in the news is in today's Kitchener-Waterloo Record; the front page headline no less: "Coyote sightings alarm residents". The pine shoot beetle on the other hand has only been in the K-W Record a couple of times and only in the Local Section, most recently on January 6, 2012. This beetle may very well be thriving due to the milder winters we've been having. This is one more result of global warming and human intervention. Apparently Conestoga Lake had issues with these beetles in the 1990's as Laurel Creek Conservation in Waterloo currently is. As per its' name , the beetle is very destructive to pine trees and at Laurel Creek Conservation the authorities are removing dead and dying trees. Furthermore they are"...thinning and replanting with more diverse species.".

Regarding coyotes it seems that it's become more than the odd individual coyote spotted as a pack of about eight animals has been seen a couple of times. Indeed a pack this size potentially could be much more of a concern than the odd individual coyote. Southern Ontario is ideal for coyotes with the combination of rural areas and bush as well as urban areas with parkland for hiding. Also their natural enemys, wolves are farther north. Coyotes can and do coexist in the same areas as wolves but are sometimes targetted by the wolves who see them as competition for prey. Currently the Bechtel Park area in Waterloo, near the intersection of University and Bridge St. is home to this pack although they have been seen further afield. Some of the common sense warnings are similar to those in bear country namely don't be leaving food outside either loose or in plastic bags.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Surprisingly it's Saturday morning and I still can't get this week's edition of the Elmira Independent on-line. Well if you're interested you'll have to go out and buy yourself a copy which I do every week by the way. On the Opinion page (pg.4) Chuck Kuepfer has an interesting story titled "Entering the wind-energy debate". He mentions the Ontario Federation of Agriculture recently coming out against wind energy expansion for rural Ontario. Chuck then goes on to desribe a talk given recently at an agricultural conference in Ridgetown Ontario by Dr. Patrick Moore. Patrick Moore as you may recall was one of the original founders of Greenpeace although like many others is no longer with them. Mr. Moore seriously believes that both solar and wind power projects are a waste of tax dollars and in fact are in the long run are counterproductive. For him it's about the costs and the diverting of money into overall higher energy costs that does more harm than good. Well that is certainly a different take on things and at least is worthy of discussion. Of even more interest is his suggestion that as far as renewable energy goes "...wood is the most favourable renewable energy resource on the planet." Wow! I heated our house in West Montrose for ten years with wood and often wondered environmentally, as in air emissions, how good of an idea that was. It certainly was far less expensive than oil, gas or electricity although it did require considerable labour overall.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Unfortunately as of this moment, yesterday's Elmira Independent isn't on-line yet, thus I can't include a link to their front page story: "Township celebrates completion of roadwork". This story is the icing on the cake for two of my recent postings here, namely yesterday's "INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT - MY ASS" and January 11/12 "DEMOCRACY IS MESSY". Yesterday's Independent story starts with this sentence "Woolwich township took time on Friday to celebrate the completion of a trio of road reconstruction projects, made possible with funding from the upper tiers of government." This Independent article ends with the following "THANKS FROM MAYOR Woolwich mayor Todd Cowan thanked both the provincial and federal governments for the stimulus funds- and hinted at working in partnership again to address additional infrastructure needs. "We have over 20 roads and bridges that need to be upgraded or improved," Cowan said. "We have a number of projects that are shovel ready." "

One of our mayor's jobs is to solicit money from the higher tiers of government ie. provincial and federal to be spent here locally in Woolwich Township. Keep in mind this is our money as we are the taxpayers whether municipal, regional, provincial or federal. Although we would all like to think that provincial and federal money always flows to the municipalities with the most urgent needs that is by no means guaranteed. Just look at projects such as the Cambridge Hospital expansion and the long promised highway #7 expansion from Kitchener to Guelph. This same Mayor (Todd Cowan) has appointed himself as Chair of CPAC, the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. This allegedly arms length, independent citizens committee has been strangled, delayed and frustrated by Mayor Cowan for the last year. They are an exemplary group of citizens whose efforts, despite the Mayor, have led to public breakthroughs regarding the need for Source Removal of contaminants both on and off the Chemtura property. They have exposed other sources of subsurface contamination in Elmira at the same time bringing to light the "recklessness" of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Simply put this citizens committee must be on a collision course with upper levels of government who have participated in a sweetheart deal with our local polluter. CPAC are out of duty and honesty attacking the falsehoods spread by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment that Elmira's groundwater is under control and will be restored by 2028. These important public duties are in direct conflict with the Mayor's duty to solicit and obtain funding from the province and feds. Mayor Cowan is in a gross conflict of interest position as long as he is Chair of CPAC. MAYOR COWAN PLEASE RESIGN IMMEDIATELY AS CPAC CHAIR. It's better for you and everyone and much more honest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Citizens of Elmira and Woolwich you have been fed a tasty dish called public consultation. It is an invention, a facade and a sham of politicans worldwide. Its' purpose is to give the veneer of legitimacy, transparency and honesty where none truly exist. Our new Mayor was elected in large part on a platform of increased environmemntal action. To date the jury is still out on the Bio-En proposal (maybe), the numerous local gravel pit applications and on the Chemtura cesspool here in town. The jury is not out on the psuedo "cleanup" of the Elmira aquifer by 2028. The "jury", namely the new CPAC, have done what the old CPAC refused to do and that is to state emphatically that the cleanup will not and can not happen by 2028. This failure by the old is to their everlasting shame and this pronouncement by the new is to their everlasting credit.

There is no independent oversight whatsoever of the Chemtura and Elmira cleanup. It is run and controlled by the Mayor and his advisers. It is control based upon determining the CPAC Agenda, the location (Township building) of all public and private meetings, the Mayor having made himself Chair of CPAC, the precedent of two different Councils having dismissed in midterm a CPAC member for disagreeing with the actions of the Chair, firstly Pat McLean and secondly Julie-Ann Herteis. In both cases these Chairs are long gone and appropriately so. In both cases the Chair's positions were wide open for concern and criticism and in fact in the second case there was unanimity amongst the CPAC members that the Chair's position was ridiculous.

Let us assume for the moment that I and the current CPAC members still have faith in the overall environmental concern expressed by Mayor Cowan. This is not enough. Besides putting the credibility and reputations of local citizens at risk of damage if and when the Mayor chooses to pull the plug on them; then there are the two environmental professionals on the CPAC team. Can you imagine both the personal, financial and career implications for them if they were let go by the Mayor or Council because their professional opinions were in conflict with his political opinion/position? This is untenable and totally unacceptable. The Mayor and Council MUST publicly state that THEIR appointments to CPAC will last for the four year term of Council. The only exception should be resignation by the individual's choice for health or personal reasons.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Following is the presentation I made to Woolwich Council last evening at 6 pm.. Written copies were left with Council, the Elmira Independent and the Woolwich Observer. As usual Councillor Bauman played defence after my delegation but he has learned to avoid asking me questions because he doesn't care for the answers. As a result he and the Mayor tried a little stickhandling by suggesting that all was copacetic at CPAC. It isn't.

DELEGATION (Draft # 3) TO WOOLWICH COUNCIL (Comm. Of the whole) Jan.31/12

Good evening Mayor, Council, Staff , Media and the public

Two months ago I appeared here and gave Council an update in regards as to how their appointed CPAC were doing. I advised Council that they had chosen wisely and that the CPAC members were performing their duties well. I also gently advised Council that the model of public consultation was however a poor one. Since that time , despite the best efforts of CPAC members, there has not been a single public CPAC meeting . Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment had been feeling the heat generated at the public CPAC meetings and I believe they are very appreciative of this three month break from that. It can not be pleasant spending a fortune on consultants and lobbying , only to have new members of CPAC politely advise you to quit stalling and start digging.
I applaud CPAC living up to their name ie. Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. Some people think CPAC are only supposed to advise the Township or perhaps the M.O.E.. This is incorrect. They are to do as their name implies which is to be a public advisory committee. It is on this basis that I suggest that the mistake made on the Township’s website should not be held against them. Mixed in with five public CPAC meeting Minutes was the Minutes of a private, educational CPAC meeting. This meeting was recorded and Minutes produced unknown to the CPAC members. Hence they were a little more open and less diplomatic than they might otherwise be. One of the professional environmental persons explicitly stated that the Elmira Aquifer would NOT be restored to drinking water standards by 2028. This is incredible news that must be shared with the community who have been told otherwise by both Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. for the last twenty years. Personally I welcome this confirmation of what I’ve been saying on line and to the old CPAC for the last few years.
Two environmental professionals who are CPAC members have also stated that Source Removal of subsurface contamination must be undertaken. This Source Removal is both on and off the Chemtura site and again it is in direct conflict with Chemtura , the M.O.E. and even certain politicians suffering from “fictitious disorder syndrome”. Another off-site source which no politician to date has acknowledged is the Chlorobenzene and DNAPL found 100 feet below ground , west of Varnicolor Chemical, near the old water tower. Perhaps it’s been easy ignoring this contamination as long as the M.O.E. and Chemtura continue to do so. To date they adamantly refuse to comment, confirm or deny its’ existence despite their own consultants, Conestoga Rovers, having discovered it in 1998. Furthermore Chemtura are still denying CPAC and the public the lab results they received four months ago regarding Dioxins on their property in GP1 & GP2.
Almost coincidentally with the swearing in of the new Council, Chemtura’s off-site pumping of groundwater has been in the crapper. This pumping is to allegedly clean up the Elmira Aquifer by 2028. On its’ own it will not succeed even if the company meet their own computer modelled pumping rates. The problem is they are still trying to sell an inferior system while not even being able to maintain the pumping rates to the standards they have determined as necessary.
Your CPAC are referred to on the Township website as an independent body. This is inaccurate and will certainly remain so until your Mayor, CAO and Municipal Clerk decide otherwise. Also on the Township website, the Agendas and Minutes are still in error. The offending Minutes have been removed but the missing Minutes have not replaced them. Also the incorrect September 19, 2011 Agenda is still present. There are further errors in the ostensibly Amended Minutes that still need correction. Furthermore a number of CPAC members have informed the Chair that they are not particularily pleased with the Chemtura link located where it is in the midst of the CPAC information. I personally was offended by this as well, because it gives the impression that Chemtura are somehow working cooperatively with CPAC. If you think that is so then you definitely need to communicate much better with your CPAC.
It is my position that your CPAC members are doing well despite stolid and vigorous opposition by both Chemtura and the M.O.E.. What is currently holding them back is you Woolwich Township. You can read between the lines as to which personnel need to loosen the reins. Your CPAC are neither horses nor children . They are your volunteer citizen appointees. Give them your confidence and respectfully let them perform their duties .

Alan Marshall Elmira Environmental Hazards Team

One interesting point is that Mayor Cowan did advise Council and the public that there was a private CPAC meeting this evening (Wed. Feb. 1/12). It will be very hard for him to again cancel this meeting unilaterally as he has so many others. Also the Agenda of this meeting is typical in that it appears once again not to be an Agenda of concensus but an Agenda put together by anyone but the CPAC members. Also keep clearly in mind the CPAC members are NOT subject to the federal Official Secrets Act. Amazing how petty municipal officials believe they have a right to keep all their bad decisions private and out of the public eye. They have no such right except in their wee little minds.