Saturday, June 30, 2012


Do they think they are Robin Hood? Do they think they have some God given right to protect the public interest? I've got news for Woolwich Council. If they expect support down the road from developers, corporate interests and the local monied elite then they'd better give their heads a shake. They've probably burned any chances of future investment from the likes of Conrad Black with their wild eyed, crazy, quasi socialist behaviour.

Whew! I got that off my chest. I do owe Council one from over a year ago but I guess it's past time to let that go. Today's Woolwich Observer has the following story: "Council rejects recycling component of Jigs Hollow pit". I reported here in the Advocate recently (Tues. June 26/12) about Jan Huisson and Lynn Hare back at Council and presenting them with more information concerning problems as well as discrepancies with the proposed recycling operations at the Jigs Hollow Pit. Lynn Hare in her presentation advised Council that their primary role was to protect the public interest. This seems to be a Council who actually believe and embrace that astonishing idea. If only that revolutionary behaviour could spread to both provincial and federal politics.

"Mark Bauman was the lone dissenter, saying he feared yet more legal action-"OMB roulette."". While Mark has a point it has been interesting to actually see a few recent Decisions by the OMB which also actually appear to protect the public interest. This includes gravel pits in Puslinch as well as their most recent decision turning down the Hawk Ridge Homes proposal for Union St. in Elmira.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Last evening in the Woolwich Council Chambers, CPAC held their monthly public meeting. It has been held the last Thursday of the month at 6 pm. and will so continue with next month's meeting on July 26. My overall impression is very positive concerning the job being done by all the CPAC members with special kudos to the Chair Dan Holt. He is fair and honest to all and is doing a great job. The size of the gallery is growing and partial credit for that must go to a few of the old CPAC members who have been coming out the last three meetings. The title above reflects my disappointment in the performance of both Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E.

We had a powerpoint presentation from John Jackson of Great Lakes United. I had forgotten what a great speaker he is. He presented information about the currently in legislative process, Great Lakes Protection Act. Within it are what are referred to as geographically significant initiatives and apparently our Grand River is very much on the radar. It is the second largest source of nutrients (unwanted) to Lake Erie. The problem as readily admitted by John is the lack of financing to back up these proposed initiatives.

Both Josef and Dwighte of Chemtura advised CPAC that their off-site wells are and have been pumping great guns the last few weeks. It's about time and we will see in June's Progress Report although two wells were down for a week for maintenance. Steve Martindale (M.O.E.) was unavailable for this meeting and was replaced by a Wally Rosenberg. He clearly had been given minimal prior briefing and rather than point the finger at him or Steve I'll lay the blame squarely on senior staff at the M.O.E.. Quite frankly the M.O.E. looked amateurish, unprepared and incompetent. They were only exceeded in that regard by Chemtura who were only missing one of their three usuals namely Jeff Merriman. There were far too many deferrals to the July meeting on Agenda items that are old news not new. This included the 125 drums excavated last summer in Chemtura's south-west corner as well as Varnicolor's Union St. upcoming contaminated soil excavations and their former Lot 91 groundwater readings taken over a year ago.

Councillor and CPAC member Mark Bauman inquired as to whether money would be forthcoming from the M.O.E. to assist in hiring a peer reviewer for CPAC. The answer was I'll ask. There was significant discussion around the peer review done by R.W.D.I. out of Guelph dealing with Chemtura's site wide Air certificate of Approval. CPAC members including Ron, David, Mark as well as myself and Pat McLean spoke to it with Pat and Dwighte of Chemtura pushing hard for some kind of "acceptance", "approval" or even just a grudging CPAC has no objections statement/position from CPAC. I spoke strongly about what I have seen as a four year, mostly behind the scenes process, with this new CPAC receiving figuratively a whole five minutes of information. This included without any intended or implied criticism, the fact that Woolwich CAO, Dave Brenneman was in charge of the file for all of 2011, rather than CPAC. Under these circumstances I hope that CPAC will simply pass or say no comment and in future if Chemtura and friends want support/endorsement/approval/consent from CPAC they might want to make the whole process public and transparent. Again I found Chemtura's whining about the $10,000 they spent on RWDI's peer review just sooooo sad. Not!

The other CPAC members including Vivienne and Sebastian asked a number of clarifying questions on the alleged 2028 cleanup deadline as well as on Lot 91 and funding. Ron Campbell specifically pointed out the significance of my Delegation to last night's CPAC which dealt with the depths of the test pits which Chemtura had dug on their south-east corner (GP1 & 2). My findings indicated that the most obvious soil contamination based upon soil gas readings, strong chemical odours and discolored soil was deeper than Chemtura's test pits. Chemtura wish to proceed with some very shallow excavation of Dioxins and DDT while capping the rest. Again it's all about the money not the environment or health of the community. David Marks, hydrogeologist and CPAC member, in his quiet and calm manner clearly stated that he is not confident that the 2028 cleanup is possible.

There was discussion by Ron around the SWAT (soil, water, air, technical) team and although Richard Clausi, Henry Regier and myself have all been conscripted (cheerfully); Ron is looking for more volunteers. Today is Richard's last day of work as he is retiring as Head of the Math department at Elmira District Secondary School (EDSS). AS a result he was working last evening finishing everything off at school. Henry by the way introduced John Jackson at the start of the meeting as he has known him for nearly thirty years. Finally under New Business, Chair Dan Holt showed photographs of badly maintained monitoring wells around Elmira. By law and regulation wells drilled directly into aquifers must be covered and securely locked at the surface to prevent intentional or otherwise contamination from entering them. These particular wells have been in disrepair for a decade even though a year ago the Ontario M.O.E. took water samples from them for testing. All in all CPAC are proceeding nicely despite disappointing efforts by Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


As some may know I have an extensive library pertaining to local pollution matters. I was perusing it yesterday and came across some old data which I beleive is only known by a very few people locally. Along with my written delegation tonight that I will present to the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) I will also be handing out copies of this posting. Two CPAC members, namely Ron Campbell and David Marks will be especially interested in the following as Ron is keen on "other sources" and David is a hydrogeologist.

The Elmira south wellfield (E7, E9) was shut down due to NDMA (& lots more) in November 1989. A public meeting was held in Elmira both to inform the public and to hear from them. At the time I was working at Varnicolor Chemical at 62 Union St. in Elmira. A local citizen stood up at that public meeting and described his experiences five months earlier while working as an independent contractor on the Varnicolor site. He wrote a formal Affidavit dated December 6, 1989. I quote from it: "At the 3 1/2 to 4 foot level, chemicals seeped out of the pit run gravel faster than I could dig it." "I returned to Varnicolor and continued digging when Keren (sp.) Kelley arrived. He spoke to me. The chemical was very evident. It looked like water, a clear colour with dust in it from the ground and it had a strong chemical smell to it. It smelled like a solvent. This liquid was filling the pit faster than I could dig it. The Chief commented on how bad or serious this looked." "The sandy haired fellow showed up and made an exclamation of surprise when he saw the liquid in the pit. He quickly disappeared, and returned 5 minutes later and told me three important people were showing up and that I was to fill in the pit so that nothing showed." "A few days later I reported the incident to ...(blacked out with magic marker) of the Citizens Environment Advisory Committee. He said he'd follow it up with the authorities." "I have since learned from Dave ireland of the MOE, that tests were done on Varnicolor's land and that some solvents were detected, but there didn't seem to be a problem.".

After the public meeting in Elmira was over, Severin Argenton owner of Varnicolor was quoted in the local paper saying "That man was full of s..." in reference to the contractor who stood up and spoke publicly. Woolwich Township were advised, CEAC was advised, the Fire Chief was advised and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) were all advised. In the early spring a five man team appointed by then (& now) Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley was dispatched to Elmira to look for the source of the NDMA (& lots more) contamination in the south wellfield. They spent at least a vigorous five minutes examining Varnicolor Chemical. They did NOT interview the employees! Varnicolor and all the rest save Uniroyal were eliminated as suspects by the M.O.E..

Unknown to me and the public was the fact that Varnicolor Chemical were known groundwater polluters from at least three years earlier. Canviro Consultants (CH2MHILL) had written a groundwater study of the site in September 1986 as a requirement that Varnicolor had to fulfill in order to receive a permit from the M.O.E. under Regulation 309. Quoting from page 17 of this report "The appearance of elevated concentrations of several compounds in the deepest piezometer (M2-1) completed in the lower sandy unit is a source of concern as it suggests that contamination of groundwater has occurred in this zone.". " should be noted that shallower piezometers had better water quality. These hypothesis can only be verified by further sampling of these piezometers.". The shallow piezometers or monitoring wells were screened in a surficial aquifer and this deeper piezometer was screened in the continuous, throughout Elmira, Upper Aquifer. In an extraordinary coincidence and piece of bad luck, this deeper well (M2-1) was never tested again allegedly as it either caved in, was blocked or was destroyed at the surface. One other extraordinary coincidence which I have never understood is the inclusion in this Canviro hydrogeological report of a Certificate of Approval for a mobile PCB destruction facility granted to Sanexen International Inc. out of Burlington, Ontario. Apparently this mobile PCB facility can only be operated on a site which also has a Certificate of Approval as a hazardous waste disposal site. Sanexen received their C. of A. one week after Varnicolor Chemical received theirs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The monthly Progress Report is out and I would describe it as good news/ bad news. Firstly the good news: The on-site pumping last month was the highest in the last six months and like April's pumping, reverses a short stretch of below target pumping. Secondly the off-site pumping in May is the highest over the last twelve months.

Now the bad news. Despite the highest pumping off-site ie., all of Elmira less the Chemtura site itself, Chemtura while close, still have not achieved their targeted pumping rates required to allegedly clean up the Elmira Aquifers by 2028. This is a full year now since they've managed to pump adequately and in fact this trend started the month immediately after the municipal election in October 2010. In the last nineteen months they've achieved their off-site pumping goals for all of three months.

Appendix C concerns surface water testing in the Canagagigue Creek. As I have indicated before, Conestoga Rovers have a statistical method that allegedly indicates when downstream contaminant concentrations are higher than upstream. What I usually look at is the arithmetic mean of a number of samples downstream and compare it to the arithmetic mean of upstream samples. With this simpler method there are consistently a few chemicals which are being added to and detected in the "Gig". These chemicals this month are Ethyl Benzene, Toluene , NDMA and NMOR. None of these are a surprise as they are throughout Chemtura's groundwater and by being picked up each month in surface water samples would indicate Chemtura's/ M.O.E. continued success in cleaning up their site by allowing contaminants to flow downstream. By the way although the downstream sampling location (SS-925) is close to the Dioxin/DDT laden area (GP1 & 2), these chemicals are not routinely tested for each month.

Appendix E, Table E.1 indicates the most recent testing for LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid) found in monitoring wells on the Chemtura site. When you think of LNAPL think of pictures you've seen of oil slicks floating on rivers, lakes and oceans. The only difference is that Chemtura's LNAPL is floating on the surface of the water table ie. subsurface. Hence the Ministry of the Environment's advanced protocols and cleanup technology look upon this as out of sight, out of mind. We can put a man on the moon but we can't remove solvents floating on top of the water table. BULLSHIT and poo poo del toro combined. The LNAPL is a third of a metre thick in many locations approaching a half metre (.49) in another. CRA (Conestoga Rovers) claim a number of wells do not have LNAPL present but the fine print indicates they do have "Black tar like blobs present in bailer". This is typical polluter doubletalk and this is a typical Chemtura "progress" report.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Last night at the televised (Rogers #20) Woolwich Council meeting, Lynne Hare and Jan Huisson were back educating Council and the public regarding their latest information about the Jigs Hollow Pit (Kuntz). I believe that they were responding to Council's earlier decision to pursue a temporary-use bylaw that would permit recycling for a one year period at a time at this gravel pit. The recycling involves grinding and breaking up both old concrete and old asphalt.

The Elmira independent carried a story last Friday titled "Temporary-use bylaw pursued for gravel pit". It described this initiative of Woolwich Staffer Dan Kennaley. The sole Councillor opposed was Bonnie Bryant as she feels recycling should not be permitted on farmland. Lynne and Jan pointed out to Council two very relevant matters. Firstly if you do the math it begins to appear as if the recycling operation is not ancillary to gravel extraction. It is a small proposed pit without that much gravel in the first place. Jan demonstrated that if the pit is spread out over time that there will actually be more volume (tonnage) per year of recycled material then there will be of gravel extraction. Secondly Lynne advised that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) while firmly in control of gravel extraction do not have authority or rules and regulations concerning recycling operations. Lynne emphasized that that is totally under the control of the municiaplity and they don't need this temporary-use bylaw. She and Jan have both done excellent research around this issue and have done a terrific job in professionally presenting their findings to Woolwich Council.

Monday, June 25, 2012


The Agenda for this Thursday evening's 6 pm. Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) is out and there are some really interesting items on it. Firstly there will be a presentation about the Great lakes Protection Act by Mr. John Jackson, the Program Director of Great lakes United. Chemtura will be presenting information on their excavation of 125 drums from the south-west corner of their property last summer. This should include photographs and lab analyses of both soil and as well contents found in any of the drums. It is a tad strange to me that these excavations have taken a year to get to CPAC. Chemtura are also supposed to be presenting their choice of Remediation Option for removal of Dioxins and DDT on the south-east corner of their site (GP1 & GP2). To date they have made their preferences very clear as they wish to maintain their legacy of world class talk and third world action.

Following Chemtura's presentation, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) will grace us with their take on the environment including details on the upcoming Varnicolor Chemical excavations. This of course is the former site on Union St. in Elmira and we were advised last fall that 200 more tonnes of contaminated soil will be removed. Keep clearly in mind that these excavations are taking place twenty years AFTER the original remediation which included massive (shallow) excavations and installation of a pump and treat system. Oh gosh does this mean that even after source removal that hydraulic containment (pump & treat) wasn't up to the job? Sure seems so. Could this be relevant to any other contaminated sites in Elmira? Further keep in mind that these excavations we've been advised will also be shallow only. This is the big coverup involving this site. Twenty years ago yours truly was new to contaminated sites and more importantly, new to polluted politicians and bureaucrats. The Control Order on this site was sold to us with a full areal and VERTICAL investigation required. The vertical didn't happen and it didn't happen intentionally courtesy of the M.O.E.'s ongoing coverup and collusion with numerous other parties. The M.O.E. will also be advising CPAC regarding downstream testing of DDT and Dioxins. My expectation is that the M.O.E. will attempt to bolster Chemtura's inadequate cleanup by making promises about more downstream testing along with vague references to 'further" work at GP1 &2 "if required". It's typical M.O.E. operating procedure and they have proven that their word is meaningless.

CPAC will be raising the RWDI Peer Review that deals with a Site Wide Air Certificate of Approval. This item has been ongoing literally for several years and the vast bulk of it has taken place OUTSIDE public CPAC meetings. This includes the former CPAC as well as the current one. For that reason I believe that the process is grossly comprimised and strongly suggest that CPAC advise both Chemtura and the M.O.E. that they are neither a rubber stamp nor are they interested in being involved in such a peripheral way. Last but not least CPAC have again put their proposed SWAT team on the Agenda for discussion. I don't think that it's any big secret (hope not) thus I can advise that this Soil, Water, Air Technical team membership has been offerred to among others, Rich Clausi, Dr. Henry Regier and myself. Hope to see you at CPAC in Council Chambers this Thursday 6 pm..

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Every once in a while it's nice to see a deserving individual receive their due. Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys a story titled "Elmira man honoured for conservation efforts". Ken Reger has been building, erecting and maintaining nests for bluebirds for twenty years. He has driven thousands of miles over his route to keep these nests in good order. A group called Ontario Nature have formally recognized Ken's efforts and given him an award and framed picture. Ken is a former Uniroyal employee who also has spoken out at Environmental Appeal Board Hearings and other venues; criticizing past practices at that company.

Today's Woolwich Observer has a public service announcement for next Thursday's CPAC meeting to be held in the Council Chambers at 6 pm.. Although there will not be popcorn available, the entertainment is often first class. Solemn speeches will be intermingled with public handholding and dancing between the Ontario M.O.E. and Chemtura.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Well as far as I am concerned this comes right out of left field. There are a hundred good reasons not to be putting a new residential subdivision on Union St. across from Sulco and Chemtura. Even those two companies had the good sense and decency to publicly advise the Ontario Municipal Board, the developer and three levels of government their concerns with having new residential neighbours situated so nearby. It's not often that a many time environmentally convicted chemical company will give a public warning that moving in beside them, despite their best efforts, could be a very risky proposition.

The O.M.B. and the relevant planning legislation made it clear that they didn't give a rat's butkus for the possibilty/probability of killing or seriously harming these new folks coming to town. What has turned the O.M.B. off of this proposed subdivision is NOISE. I did mention this months ago here in the Advocate. I attended one of the Hearing dates in the Township Council and was shocked and appalled that the Hearing seemed to be boiling down to the height of a noise fence! Well the Decision came out a few days ago and the Board have dismissed the Appeal by the proponents saying it is premature as the NOISE issues have not properly been dealy with. I agree railway noise is not a pleasant thing in the middle of the night. Nevertheless it won't kill you but just talk to the former residents of Duke St. a decade ago. They were often rousted from their beds, in the middle of the night, gasping and choking for air. They literally had to flee the Town and the adults and children were subjected to fumigations that no one honestly knows won't have long term effects upon them.

The Region, the Township, Chemtura, Sulco, citizen groups including yours truly were mentioned in the Decision regarding our opposition to this asinine plan. The Plan has currently been rejected. Not for the obvious common sense reasons, but rejected nevertheless. Let's see what happens next. Will the subdivision plan be amended and resubmitted or will the developer take either the Region or Township or both to court to recoup their lost money based upon the residential zoning that was inappropriately in place?


Well I enjoyed reading the above headline so much in yesterday's Elmira Independent that I used it for today's Advocate headline. Exerpts from my letter to the Editor which was in response to Josef Olejarz's criticism of Editor Gail Martin's prior Editorial are as follows: " Therefore for Olejarz to suggest that magically, different contaminants have flowed either downriver in the Canagagigue or deeper into the Municipal Aquifer is ridiculous.". Also "Finally Olejarz's last paragraph I find offensive"...Chemtura will continue to place the safety of the environment and residents of Elmira as a top priority." This comment is pure puffery. I'd be very happy if Chemtura would BEGIN to place the safety of the environment and residents of Elmira as a top priority.".

My letter to the Editor also pointed out the fact that DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids) are located close to the surface beneath the former operating ponds (RPW 5,6,7,8) in the south-west corner of Chemtura. These are readily accessible for removal and honest experts have determined that they should be removed. A couple of former CPAC members along with the parties to the 1990-91 Environmental Appeal Board hearings however know that Chemtura/Uniroyal received an Indemnity for them from the Ontario M.O.E.. Thus they have all been obstructing and playing games for two decades plus.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I did not understand in 1990-91 why Nutrite had lawyers and party status at the Environmental Appeal Board hearings in Elmira. It was another decade before their involvement in the destruction of the Municipal drinking water Aquifer came out. WHY?

In the 1980's there were environmental incidents and investigations around Borg Textiles. The GRCA reported that Borg had had incidents in which their effluent to the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant was knocking out the bacteria. The Howard Street drain was being reported by citizens as having coloured water in it. Testing and observation was done by the Township. I do not know if the CAO of the Township, Bill Kowalchuk, was involved with that investigation. I do know that Varnicolor Chemical were a suspect although owner, Severin Argenton, claimed they had no connection to the Howard St. storm drain. Chlorobenzene was found in the drain in the 80's; in the 90's shallow groundwater testing at Varnicolor did not reveal the presence of Chlorobenzene. I do know that after Bill Kowalchuk's tenure with the Township he was hired by Varnicolor Chemical and did yeoman duty with them including personally receiving envionmental convictions. I am also aware that Borg had their own dyeing operation on site and that they used what are known as AZO Dyes. One of their suppliers was Hoescht originally from Germany. Internet searches reveal that both Chlorobenzene and NDMA can be expected from Textile Industries in general and most especially with those using dyes. I also know that Liberal Environment Minister, then and now, Jim Bradley, sent a five man team to investigate "other" sources of contamination to the Elmira Municipal Aquifer. I worked at Varnicolor at the time and their investigation certainly lasted a full five minutes. Rumour has it , it was twice as thorough at Borg Textiles. One of the members of Bradley's team was Gord Robinson. I have written about his keen powers of observation (not) here in the Advocate before. Another exemplary member was Glen McDonald. That would be the same Mr. McDonald who was interviewed by the Globe & Mail (Jock Ferguson) in the mid 80's about barrels of Trichloroethylene found sitting exposed on Varnicolor's Lot 91. Mr. McDonald felt the need to defend Varnicolor as a clean operation. That would be the same Mr. McDonald who was fired and charged criminally for tipping Severin Argenton off about an upcoming M.O.E. raid. Bradley's team found no other sources of contamination including Nutrite, Varnicolor and Borg. WHY ??

The Region of Waterloo sued Uniroyal, Nutrite and Varnicolor for the destruction of Elmira's drinking water. The Region hired Ch2MHILL away from Varnicolor to be the Region's consultants during the Elmira crisis. CH2MHILL had full knowledge of the groundwater issues at Varnicolor as well as the lack of deeper wells and results. Later after the Region had made their deal with Uniroyal and the M.O.E. they dropped their lawsuit against everybody.

Uniroyal Chemical knew about both Varnicolor and Nutrite from day one and sooner. Whether they had any knowledge of Borg I do not know. The M.O.E. were setting up Uniroyal to take the whole fall. Uniroyal pushed back hard. A deal was done and everybody got away with environmental murder. Except of course for the public who are still paying and still being lied to by the authorities.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The public meeting put on by Chemtura/Uniroyal last evening at the Lions Hall in Elmira was informative, low key and professional. Most of the usual Chemtura reps were present along with numerous other individuals to help out. Boards were set up in a large circle which explained in detail the cause of the release of BLE-25 to the atmosphere on September 27, 2010 as well as the actions since taken to prevent a repeat.

This release to the air travelled nearly 1.5 km and did damage to cars, homes, swimming pools, patios and the like. It contained Diphenylamine (DPA) and Acetone both components of the mass of contaminated soils on site as well as part of the contaminated groundwater.

I was most interested in the technology they would use to avoid future incidents. While it isn't rocket science nevertheless from what I was advised both in their written handouts and in person by Josef and Dwighte of Chemtura, it does appear to be appropriate and effective. It involves a second holding tank to which a problematic chemical reaction can be transferred in an emergency. It also involves updated and improved audio and visual alarms to advise operators sooner that action needs to be taken. Finally what wasn't included in the written literature but which I was advised personally was that if all else fails, yes the rupture discs are still in place so that an overpressurized batch of chemicals can and will be released via piping outdoors before they explode inside causing either personal injuries or a fire. Here is the last improvement. Instead of being released unimpeded into the air to be again distributed to the unsuspecting residents of Elmira, there is in effect a type of "raincap" if you will in place above the end of the pipe. The purpose of this large cap is to collect the gas/liquid and direct it downwards (outside the vent pipe) so that as the gas returns to a liquid state it is mostly collected.

As I understand what I read and was told last evening I am reasonably confident that Elmira residents will not be subjected to another release of BLE-25 or anything else from this particular pressure vessel. I inquired of Dwighte and Josef as to whether or not every other pressure vessel will also be updated or so retrofitted. The answer was yes however with this proviso: there are a lot of vessels and a lot of work for each and every one. I suggested that within five to ten years Elmira residents could feel confident that there would be no more releases due to out of control chemical reactions and received an affirmative answer. Time will tell.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Tonite at 5 PM. is a Public Meeting at Lions Hall (beside the new Arena) for Chemtura to advise the public about their spill of BLE-25 in September 2010. Yes that's the spill a few weeks before the Municipal Election that was a major factor in turfing so many of the old Councillors & mayor.


The Waterloo Region Record has carried two stories recently concerning major problems with the health of trees in Kitchener. The most recent article was yesterday and is titled "Suburbs' trees fail to thrive". The other recent article is titled "Kitchener may spend big money to defend ash trees from bugs".

The head forester for Kitchener is advising a plan that will cost $7.5 million over the next ten years to protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer. This invasive species is from China and if it is an imminent threat in Kitchener you can count on these insects being throughout the area including Woolwich. Apparently there are chemical injections which if repeated every two years will kill off the insects. The total cost includes cutting down infected trees and hauling away the wood.

The other article dealing with newly planted trees on boulevards in new subdivisions is unsettling. Apparently certain developers or others have a bad tendency to cheap out when it comes to leaving topsoil in place on lawns and boulevards. I guess the theory is out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately when you plant either trees or grass on poor soil or rocky ground you set yourself up for failure. This article while focusing on the newer subdivisions near Ottawa and Fisher Hallman applies to many subdivisions built in Kitchener over the last thirty years. The problem of poor soil is combined with heavy machinery compacting the soil prior to construction of homes. This compacted soil, with little or no topsoil present, results in half the trees dying within a few years. Here in Woolwich Township I can advise of a similar problem in the Bristow Creek subdivision. My home is over ten years old and although the trees are surviving some are clearly very stressed. Furthermore I have been astounded at how well the grass grows in my backyard and how horrible it grows in the front yard. From experience removing dandelions and all other imaginable weeds from my front yard I can advise you that the topsoil is all of a couple of inches thick. Below that, when I use a knife or screwdriver to dig out weeds, I'm hitting nothing but sand and stones. Clearly prior to laying down sod, the developer or a contractor "stole" the topsoil for use elsewhere. I repeat I've got a good amount of topsoil in the backyard and essentially nothing in the front. Human nature and a lack of enforcement of rules inevitably lead to these results.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Last Friday's Waterloo Region Record carrys Luisa D'Amato's Opinion piece titled "Gravel pit debate comes to the right place". There will be four days of hearings this summer which will be held in Waterloo Region as part of the review of the Aggregate Resources Act. At present, Woolwich Township which is a major producer of aggregates receives an eleven cent per tonne royalty for gravel extraction. This doesn't even cover the cost of increased road maintenance due to heavy truck useage much less any of the negative quality of life issues. Mayor Cowan expects to make a representation to the review committee and he will also be suggesting that aggregate companies get on with rehabillatation of old pits. Too often they never totally stop removing gravel and the pits continue as eyesores for decades.

The three proposed most controversial pits in Woolwich Township will also be discussed by Mayor Cowan. All three are to be located far too close to longterm residential neighbourhoods. These include West Montrose, Conestogo and Winterbourne. All three have a number of other significant problems associated with them that currently are not being adequately addressed by the Aggregate Resources Act. This Act is outdated and horribly biased in favour of the Aggregate Industry. It's way past time when the rights of citizens and residents are no longer given short shrift. Our governments can reform these abominations through the democratic process or they can start to expect more direct conflict along the lines of Caledonia, Oka and Ipperwash. No one wants that but if and when the people of this country see that democracy isn't working, they will look for other options.


Although our federal Tory/Conservative party are quite happy to hide anti environment changes inside their budget/Omnibus Bill, so are their provincial counterparts. Here in Ontario Dalton McGuinty's Liberals are doing almost the exact same thing. Kind of gives you a warm glow in your heart to know that both parties at essence favour and always have favoured corporate and money interests over everything else. Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys an Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Culprit in budget standoff not any party but unstable minority". While I may disagree with Luisa's political analysis, her understanding of the fine environmental points buried in the Liberals' proposed budget is dead on. The Liberals are removing legislated protection for endangered species in Ontario and they are doing it via the back door exactly as the federal Tories are backdooring Environmental Assessments. Shame on both parties and both governments for their gutless approach to environmental degradation and deregulation. Sure leave it up to big business. They are so far sighted and competent they'll make sure the environment sustains us for at least one more generation; and expect accolades for doing that little.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Currently there is an embarassment of media riches coming our way due to the attention of local as well as regional media surrounding our multitude of environmental issues. Both local papers (Observer & Independent) have been covering the BioFuel/Bio-En situation as well as the three major proposed gravel pits in West Montrose (Capitol), Winterbourne (Kuntz/Jigs Hollow) and Conestogo (Hunder). Also CKCO-TV and the Waterloo Region Record have been doing stories on both the BioFuel Citizens Committee and the local pits. Chemtura have also seen their unresolved issues displayed publicly, courtesy primarily of the Elmira Independent with honourable mentions to the other media. Just over two years ago I started the Elmira Advocate due to a perceived lack of regular media exposure to environmental problems in Woolwich Township. I wanted to help keep citizens informed and make the environmental offenders aware of public scrutiny. Currently I am ecstatic with the ongoing situation and coverage thereof.

Today's Woolwich Observer carrys this story on page 5 namely "Aggregate review to hit the road". Thanks to local pressure including municipal and our M.P.P. from Kitchener-Conestoga, Mike Harris; the review of the Aggregate Resources Act will be holding public hearings outside Toronto, including in Kitchener-Waterloo. Requests to appear before the committee should be submitted to the committee clerk at .

Today's Observer also carrys stories on the BioFuel Rally last Monday (pg.4) and the Hunder Pit (pg.3). Mediation is underway between Bio-En and the BFCC despite municipal efforts still underway to find an acceptable, outside of Elmira, alternate location. It is my belief that these longterm efforts, while unsucessful to date, have been seriously approached by the municipality and credit should be given for those attempts to honour election pledges.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Gail Martin has written up in detail the Rally held in Bolender Park last Monday evening. She also discusses the Mediation talks held Wednesday morning at the Township Offices. These were attended by the M.O.E., Region of Waterloo ??, Woolwich Township, Woolwich Bio-En and the BFCC. One of the interesting issues discussed is tracing the exact components (raw materials) going into the digester. This idea of traceability is becoming ever increasingly important in agricultural matters. Apparently if Mediation is unsucessful then Arbitration could be a next step. Otherwise this Independent article states that the appeal hearing before the Environmental Review Tribunal is scheduled to start in mid August. This date is somewhat later than I had heard thus I will try to clarify that shortly.


Yesterday's Elmira Independent has a Letter to the Editor which is quite ridiculous. It is written by the Plant Manager, Josef Olejarz and the title is "Editorial contributes to confusion". Josef's letter claims that the Editorial by Editor Gail Martin a week earlier contributes to the public's confusion. I've reread Gail's Editorial and it just isn't so. In fact the only small error I found actually favoured Chemtura's do nothing whenever possible, position.

Josef's letter is just plain unfactual. He says that Dioxins and DDT have not been found in the groundwater beneath the two areas GP1 & 2 in the south-east corner. In the report done by Conestoga Rovers namely "Former Gravel Pit Area Investigation" , March 2012 on Table 2.3 is a listing of Dioxins found in groundwater in this area. Later in Appendix E are more current results of Dioxins found in groundwater. Further comments by Josef "...that there is no reason to expect migration of contaminants from GP1 and GP2." are also unfactual. Tables 2.1 and 2.2 are just a small fraction of the solvents found in the groundwater in this area. These solvents have and continue to mobilize both Dioxins and DDT. These chemicals move both vertically and horizantly and have for years been downstream in the floodplain of the Canagagigue Creek. Josef's letter is just one more non stop effort to defend the indefensible on the Chemtura site.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is just a little note to readers of the Advocate as well as to local folks with a serious interest in our environmental problems and battles. Specifically the BFCC (BioFuel Citizens Committee) and the good folks fighting the local proliferation of gravel pits should know that aside from readers throughout Waterloo Region, various Universities and an audience south of the border; Elmira Advocate articles are also occasionally picked up by a very popular website called the Cambridge Advocate. This website has been around for longer than mine and deals with a wider range of issues including their local politics as well as their local environmental issues. For example Tuesday's Elmira Advocate article titled "Last Nights' Biofuel Rally" is now on the Cambridge Advocate. That website can be accessed either via googling them or I have a direct link to them on the right side of the Elmira Advocate.


Two or three weeks ago I received a letter from Woolwich Township advising our household of a discussion to be held during a Committee of the Whole meeting in the Council Chambers. That discussion was why I attended this past Tuesday evening's Council (Comm. of the Whole) meeting. Settlement Boundary changes have been proposed for Elmira, St. Jacobs, Maryhill, Breslau and Heidelberg. Quite frankly while I read over what was mailed to me in regards to proposed boundary changes in Elmira, I simply didn't understand waht was going on or what the driving forces were.

I'm a little clearer now. I think what is occurring is that Woolwich Township have been advised that they can make changes to their settlement boundaries as long as they end up with the same quantities added as subtracted from their formal boundaries. Hence if Elmira wishes to extend their town limits easterly and captue say 10 more acres they can do that as long as they also remove ten acres from somewhere else within the Elmira boundaries or "settlement area". The one word reason that kept getting used was "rationalization" of boundaries. O.K. if you've got a little tiny piece of land surrounded on three sides by a settlement boundary maybe it makes sense to incorporate it. Otherwise what I think is happening is that communitys are always looking for development ie. building, whether residential, commercial or industrial. Therefore if a community has a parcel of land on their outskirts owned by a developer that has sat empty for fifteen or twenty years, bringing in minimal municipal taxes, the municipality would rather encourage development in a better area. By better that could mean better road access or better topography such as higher ground versus a low lying area etc..

By including land within a formal settlement area it means that the municipality must provide municipal services such as water, sewers and roads. These services obviously have a huge effect upon the value of land. Therefore Tuesday nite although this wasn't a formal public meeting, besides local residents there were lots of developers and their planning consultants present. Lots of folks have money invested in property and they wanted on the record either their happiness at being added into settlement boundaries or their displeasure at potentially being removed. This is all about money, development, construction, housing, jobs and ultimately the environment. This concerns the direction that growth will take and it's effect upon our natural environment. Like a game of musical chairs there will be winners and losers. It would be very nice if for a change the environment isn't always the loser.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story on the front page of their local section "Biogas plant opponents head to mediation". Several interesting items are mentioned such as the plant is expected to produce enough electricity to power 2,200 homes. That is almost the only plus in the whole operation. Mediation issues today will include details about the community liason committee to be formed as well as obviously noise, odour and traffic matters. Mayor Todd Cowan publicly is advising and hoping that a relocation of the Biogas plant, north of Elmira, is still a possibility. Proponent Chuck Martin's comments do not sound particularily optimistic regarding that proposal. Hearings by the Environmental Review Tribunal are scheduled to start on June 29/12 and continue until August 17/12.

I was somewhat surprised when I showed up at Woolwich Committee of the Whole last evening to find that there was a Delegation speaking regarding the Jigs Hollow Pit/Kuntz Pit. Both Lynne Hare and Jan Huisson have spoken to Council and Committee of the Whole before and if I had seen them on the township's on-line Agenda I would have shown up just for that alone. On their overhead screen I noticed the name "Friends of the Winterbourne Valley". This is an excellent name and signifys the magnitude and significance this relatively small proposed gravel pit will have visually, culturally, and environmentally . Each and every time they have spoken to Council they have raised new and different issues with this pit. Last night dealt with both the math surrounding the volume of earth etc. required to provide noise berms as well as major issues dealing with the recycling of concrete and asphalt. This proposed recycling seems to have been given short shrift in all the studies done to date. There are concerns that large pieces of concrete will be broken up outside of the processing bermed area which will create both noise as well as dust. Regarding the math and the noise berms it seems as if so called "progressive rehabillatation" is very unlikely . All in all the Fiends of the Winterbourne Valley are pointing out major issues which have not been previously examined or dealt with. Furthermore it is becoming clearer that the small amount of gravel being removed from beside the Grand River is coming at an enormous cost to the environment as well as the nearby residents. The whole recycling operation is raising red flags as well it should.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The Rally/Community Event was held despite the rain with nearly sixty people in attendance. Two young men provided "ambience" with their music and popsicles were handed out to the kids. Several speakers gave background information including Michael Purves Smith, Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach and Dan Holt. The microphone was essentially shared both for people in the audience asking questions as well as to other speakers such as Gerry Heidibert, Vivienne Delaney and Shannon Purves Smith. Some of the information that I was looking for was up and posted on boards such as specifics as to what kind of raw materials will be used at the plant. Both the upcoming Mediation and the Ontario Municipal Board Hearing were also mentioned. Sebastian advised the crowd about some of the research he had done and it included the information that European facilities tended to only use local within 30 km. sources of organic wastes versus the much larger range and hence transport for the proposed Elmira facility. Secondly Sebastian was advised that all of these facilities smell hence in Europe they keep them out of residential neighbourhoods. All in all I'm beginning to see a picture emerge of our provincial green energy plans. Something is very wrong when someone such as myself, who has a clear bias in favour of green energy, is finding that the province are simply jumping on a bandwagon and attempting to mimic success elsewhere while studiously avoiding the known pitfalls. Simply calling it green doesn't make it so.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Good morning Woolwich Township, Elmira, Waterloo Region and Canada in general. Today we're discussing a variety of ongoing issues. First and foremost, closest to home, I did mention here on Saturday that there will be an Information Centre/Rally this evening at 7:30 pm. in Bolender Park in Elmira. Yesterday for some reason I checked my home mailbox and there was a flyer in it which is very similar to the announcement currently on the Stop The Stink website of the BioFuel Citizens Committee (BFCC). This gives more detailed information on the back of it regarding upcoming (Wednesday) Mediation as well as the raison d'etre of the BFCC. See you tonite at Bolender Park.

Scientific muzzling is part of the above headline. My daughter suggested that I might want to mention this ongoing problem at the Federal level in Canada. Apparently our Conservative Prime Minister (Harper) is actively dismantling past strides made in knowledge that will have a major effect on Canada and the world. This includes defunding everything from the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) to shutting down long term government funded environmental think tanks. Furthermore Prime Minister Harper apparently is no fan of scientific discoveries and knowledge which could even remotely cast doubt on his right wing ideology. Whether global warming issues such as industrial air emissions or disappearances of indicator species such as frogs, all such information is to be tightly controlled politically. In other words government funded scientists are no longer working for Canadians; rather they are working for the Conservative Party of Canada and their message had better be consistent with Conservative policy and politics. I have seen personally the negative effects of provincial politics ruling and controlling "scientific" opinions and positions so I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that similar attempts are being made federally.

The latest pipeline leak, now in Alberta, is a scary reminder of the environmental cost our petroleum economy and lifestyle are responsible for. We are advised in today's Waterloo Region Record (Pg A3) that the company responsible, namely Plains Midstream Canada, was fortunate that the leaking pipeline wasn't actually pumping at the time of the leak. Secondly we are advised that the volume of water flowing in the Red Deer River has been helpful in quickly moving the oil downstream to an area where it can more quickly and easily be collected. So despite so called engineering safeguards and technology, the reality is that we were lucky? That is most probably the truth. Locating pipelines underneath rivers is essentially a very stupid idea. It is so stupid that it is embraced right here in Waterloo Region. Whether sewer lines under Moffat Creek in Cambridge or raw sewage flowing via pipeline under the Grand River near Breslau; we are counting on luck to avoid disaster. Environmental luck just like luck at cards will always run out. These are not accidents. They are probabilities.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


So why the big deal about public service announcements you ask? Well from time to time I have gently taken one of our local newspapers to task for not showing more interest in our world class polluter and world class environmental crisis. It may be old news (23 years) but it's also current news and should be so treated. Anyways kudos to the Observer for announcing Chemtura's upcoming public meeting on Tuesday June 19/12 to discuss their release of BLE-25 in September 2010. Better late than never to have this long promised public meeting. Secondly kudos to the Observer for announcing the BFCC (BIOFuel Citizens Committee) public forum and information event to be held at Bolender park this Monday evening, June 11/12 at 7:30 pm..

As usual I received by courier Chemtura's 2011 Annual Environmental Report. It is written by their long time consultants, Conestoga Rovers and Associates (CRA). It purports to be an update on changes to Air, Water and Soil that have occurred on their site during the past twelve months. My first brief glance at the report has indicated three areas which should be discussed at CPAC, namely none of the lab results of 125 drums which were excavated last summer in their South-West corner were included in the report. This would include soil analyses as well as analysis of the drums' contents. Secondly Table 5.1 deals with wastewater sumps which are in poor repair. There are thirteen of them and as they are in ground sumps any leaks will enter the natural environment. this is very serious. Thirdly it appears in table B2 and B3 that the potential exists for air exceedances of Nitrous Oxides. While overall toxic air emissions have been greatly reduced over the years, this particular chemical appears to be problematic and further discussion is required.

Friday, June 8, 2012


This week's Elmira Independent is a plethora of riches regarding advising the community as to the remarkably bad state of affairs that exists within the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. One of several articles published is titled "Waste pits source of contention at CPAC". Steve Martindale of the M.O.E. is in the uneviable position of defending the indefensible. Dioxins especially 2,3,7,8 TCDD are considered the most toxic compound known to mankind and the health results are horrific, longlasting and often fatal. Regarding Steve "He pointed out that since the contaminated soil is found entirely on Chemtura's property , the M.O.E. has no jurisdiction over what Chemtura ultimately decides.". I can best describe that statement as bullshit heaped upon bullshit.

Many CPAC members as well as myself spoke against the fallacy and illogic put forth by the M.O.E.. Pat Mclean attending her first CPAC meeting since her electoral defeat in October 2010 echoed the citizens comments. Jeff Merriman was riding the no off-site effects train and claimed that past off-site Dioxins, albeit identical to what are currently on their site, came from areas now remediated. Chemtura's and the Ontario M.O.E.'s position are unfactual, unscientific, self serving and plainly contemptible.

Gail Martin has also written an excellent Editorial titled "Chemtura should excavate pits". Her last two sentences say it all: "Regardless of the answer, removing the contaminated soil to a secure waste facility would be a far better option than simply leaving it there in perpetuity. Given all that we know about Elmira's contaminated groundwater, and the historic practices that led to this contamination, we believe the argument could be made that Chemtura owes us this courtesy.".

Thursday, June 7, 2012


A little reminder that this coming Monday at 7:30 pm. in Bolender Park the BioFuel Citizens Committee will be holding an Information Centre to update the public on the status of the BIO-Energy plant planned for Martin's Lane. Also next Wednesday will be the start of Mediation between the BFCC and the Bio-En proponents. Further info is available at the BFCC website : google Stop the Stink.


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story: " Region to face developers over land use plan". This is in regards to the Regional Official Plan and involves an Ontario Municipal Board hearing starting July 16/12. "The official plan was adopted in July 2009 and approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in December 2010. Twenty-six appeals were launched, some disputing the whole plan." As I understand the issue, the Region are attempting to put firm restrictions in place which would limit urban sprawl into rural areas on the edges of cities such as Kitchener. Clearly developers are land speculaters who buy land early and cheaply if possible, then develop and sell it at a profit. Personally I see this conflict as a good thing because it makes me think that the Region are actually doing the right thing and looking towards the future . Now lets see if the notoriously pro development OMB will support that outlook.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


This is exactly why I've decided not to retire from the Uniroyal/Chemtura file just yet. A little over a year ago, Gail Martin of the Independent wrote a story about the new Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). In her story she indicated that there was a major loss of knowledge and history with none of the former (old) CPAC being appointed to the new. Although she was correct to a certain point I personally thought to myself; what am I , chopped liver? The reality is, all things being equal, it's always better to have more volunteers and more memories than fewer. In this case however it isn't. The old CPAC, just like myself, had a decision to make. They could have swallowed their wounded egos, decided that the Elmira cleanup was paramount, been helpful and assisted the new CPAC. They were sincerely invited and asked for their input but they chose instead to be rude and personally ignorant to the new CPAC. They burned those bridges that were extended, I grant you not by the Mayor, but by the other new CPAC members. Even after the Mayor is off of CPAC they choose not to assist. Yours truly has gone in the exact opposite direction.

Therefore when I see Chemtura attempting to rewrite the facts around the destruction of the Elmira Aquifers, I rise to the occasion. I am currently researching old technical reports and making a list of the myriad of industrial chemicals and solvents which Chemtura (& others) have added to our groundwater. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura along with Josef (General Manager) are trying to sell the off-site aquifers as only having NDMA, Chlorobenzene and Ammonia in them. This claim is way beyond rubbish. When completed shortly I will be sending my lists and references on to CPAC. They are doing a great job but no they don't have the knowledge of what has gone on for over twenty years. They have neither the politics nor the technical history. I do and I have been sharing it with them.


"Diesel fuel spill stains downtown Schneider Creek" is the story title in today's Waterloo Region Record. According to witnesses there was both a distinct diesel odour in the air as well as a sheen on the surface of the water on Schneider's Creek near the foot of Benton Street in Kitchener. Another witness described the odour as overwhelming. In light of recent heavy rains the creek would have had a significant volume of water in it which indicates to me that this was a major and significant spill (dump). Also very worrying was another local resident's comment that he has seen pollutants in the creek on other occasions. Based on contaminated sediment just upstream in Victoria Park over many years as well as issues in the creek it would seem obvious to me that some business or individual may be making a habit of getting rid of liquid wastes in the creek. I won't be holding my breath waiting for the Ontario M.O.E. to ferret out the culprit(s).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Yesterday I sent a one page document to the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) confirming for them a long list of chemical detections in the groundwater in the south-east corner of Chemtura's (Uniroyal) site. This is in response to both the Ministry of the Environment's asinine comments in support of Chemtura's asinine comments at last week's public CPAC meeting. They both claim that there is no mechanism for Dioxins and DDT which are in the subsurface shallow aquifer fifty to a hundred feet from the Canagagigue Creek that would enable those chemicals to migrate into the creek. Keep clearly in mind that both Dioxins and DDT have already been found mobilized in on-site groundwater. The mechanism for these two chemicals which have an affinity to adhere to soil particles rather than readily dissolve, is solvents. That would be the same solvents which mobilized these two chemicals in the first place allowing them to move from the east side pits southwards into the area known as GP1 & GP2. I am going to reproduce one list of chemicals found in only one nearby monitoring well, namely Observation Well OW143-7. 2,3,4,5-TCP (tetrachlorophenol), 2,3,4,6-TCP, 2,3,5,6-TCP, 2,4,5-TCP (trichlorophenol), 2,4,6-TCP, 2,4 DCP, 2,6 DCP, 2-Chlorophenol, m,p cresol, 2-MBT, Aniline, BT, Carboxin, NDEA, NDMA, NMOR, Chlorobenzene. This is the minimum number of chemicals in the groundwater from this well in 1996. It is the minimum because Marshall's Law states that you will never find chemicals that you don't test for and there are literally hundreds that weren't tested for. Secondly we have to go back and check results years ago because the number of wells and parameters being tested for has been reduced over the years. This was one of my complaints to the old CPAC as they kept giving concessions to Chemtura such as reduced frequency of testing as well as reduced parameters ie. chemicals to be tested for.

Apparently both Chemtura and the M.O.E. are capable of distinguishing the identical Dioxins and DDT found miles downstream in the Canagagigue Creek. They claim those were from a different area on their site which they remediated. No they haven't retested to see if downstream is cleaning up. They are simply confident that their site is not leaking Dioxins and DDT anymore. It is nothing more than wishful thinking. It doesn't even deserve the term psuedo science because that's too good of a discription for their position. While the rest of Northern Ontario are talking about a serious cleanup of Dioxins sprayed along railroad tracks, roads and forest edges, Elmira once again is looking at a pretend cleanup. Thank you M.O.E..

Monday, June 4, 2012


It is my understanding that many environmental organizations and their websites will be blacked out today in protest of the federal Conservative Party's attempts to silence environmental opposition within Canada. This is being done via an omnibus Budget Bill before Parliament. I am in support of these environmental groups across Canada in their opposition to Prime Minister Harper's self serving and ill conceived environmental attacks.


I have for several years been aware and have publicly stated that the "Elmira cleanup is a sham". It seems that I've understated the case. From carefully examining years of monitoring reports I could see that concentrations of chemicals off-site were only decreasing in some areas nearest to off-site pumping wells. Other areas even appeared to be increasing. Then when I carefully examined both on and off-site pumping rates over many years it became even more obvious that something was seriously wrong. On and off-site pumping rates simply weren't anywhere near the targeted rates that Conestoga Rovers claimed that their own computer models required for eventual 30 year cleanup.

Combined with these problems was the discovery of more and more off-site sources of contamination. Many of these sources were not acknowledged either ever or until many, many years after the 1989 shutdown of the Elmira drinking wells. This includes Nutrite, several gas stations and the discovery of DNAPL 100 feet below surface just west of Varnicolor Chemical on Union St.. Further to this is the adamant refusal of the M.O.E., Chemtura or Conestoga Rovers (CRA) to comment one way or the other about this DNAPL which I have raised publicly many times. Also numerous plume maps clearly indicate additional sources of subsurface contamination within the Elmira Aquifers. These sources are west of Chemtura (Uniroyal) near the old Shirt Factory as well as further south in the area of the Sanyo Canada property . Finally Chlorobenzene plumes directly beneath Varnicolor Chemical in the Municipal Lower aquifer are very disturbing.

Part of the Elmira water coverup is the secrecy around the October 7, 1991 "sweetheart deal" between Uniroyal and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.). Part of it is about Uniroyal accepting all the blame for the entire off-site contamination. Part of it is about the blatant deception of the public by stating that Elmira's water will be restored to drinking water standards by 2028. Part of it deals with hydraulic containment or pump and treat being satisfactory to complete the cleanup versus source removal.

I have had a recent ephiphany. All the off-site wells are downgradient from Chemtura (Uniroyal). Up gradient or cross gradient sources within the Elmira Aquifer appear to be ignored while the downgradient subsurface sources have pumping wells located either immediately beside them (W5A/W5B, W4) or immediately downgradient of them (W3). The gas stations north and west as well as the Shirt Factory area source (west) are not immediately hydraulically contained. This will result in smearing of their contamination throughout the aquifers and aquitards as it moves downgradient to eventually be picked up by the nearest downgradient pumping well.

This is counterproductive to any eventual long term cleanup of the Aquifers. However it is not counterproductive to a different goal. Same methodology, same location of the pumping wells and same treatment of the pumped groundwater. What if the Region of Waterloo, Province of Ontario (M.O.E.) and Uniroyal decided twenty plus years ago that they weren't prepared to spend the money necessary to restore the Elmira Aquifers. By ignoring DNAPLS on and off the Uniroyal site as well as multiple other off-site sources they each would save millions to hundreds of millions of dollars either in direct cleanup and source removal costs or indirect legal costs. Simply hydraulically contain the entire Elmira Aquifer but call it a cleanup. In other words your real goal is to prevent the groundwater from spreading southwards beyond Elmira towards St. Jacobs and the Conestoga River which would also contaminate more private rural wells along the way. Hence I am beginning to believe that our authorities never have had any intention of restoring Elmira's aquifers. Either they are incredibly dumb or incredibly nefarious. The whole current "cleanup" is a joke and at long last I'm finding support from amateurs and professionals alike on that matter. So has this whole exercise simply been a public relations exercise by our politicians to pretend that they can and will restore the destruction of the Elmira Aquifers by multiple unregulated and unsupervised industrial polluters?

Saturday, June 2, 2012


We all missed Dr. Henry Regier's presence although as has been recently, his grandson Nick Betts was able to attend. Henry had personal committments that evening. Rich Clausi publicly announced his retirement as Head of the Mathematics Department at Elmira District Secondary School. Chair Dan Holt congratulated him and immediately accepted Rich's (non)offer of full time unpaid dedicated volunteer work for CPAC. I had also suggested that Richard would have unlimited time on his hands to donate. Richard took the volunteering of his free time by others with good grace, however he is currently holding his cards close to his chest.

No too surprisingly Jeff Merriman and myself had a difference of opinion on a number of matters. These obviously include the need for better remediation of the Dioxins and DDT at the GP1 and GP2 area. Jeff says there are no transport mechanisms that would allow movement of these compounds off site. Chemtura's partners in pollution, the Ontario M.O.E. agree. Both are wrong and damn well know it. Dr. Gail Krantberg has said it best in the recent past. If it's in the groundwater (it is) it will eventually end up downstream in Lake Erie.

Jeff also claims , similar to Josef at a recent Woolwich Council meeting, that the only off-site chemicals in the Elmira Aquifer are NDMA, Chlorobenzene and Ammonia. Then his claim became somewhat qualified in that those three chemicals are the "bulk" of the off-site chemicals. Referring back to Dr. Gail Krantzberg, if there are 100 chemicals in their on-site groundwater, they will all end up in the off-site groundwater and or creek.

The weirdest claim by Jeff Merriman of Chemtura had to do with the long known and acknowleged LNAPL plume on their site. This plume primarily of Toluene originates from Building #15 and was discovered in the early 90's. It was acknowledged a couple of years later to much criticism from UPAC (Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee). Sylvia Berg of APTE, rather hypocritically in hindsight, lambasted Uniroyal (Chemtura) for keeping this major piece of information private from UPAC and the public for as long as they did. This LNAPL or light non aqueous phase liquid has only in very small quantities been intercepted and pumped from the subsurface. Jeff himself has indicated in the past that he was not happy with how little they had been able to remove by pumping. Then Thursday night he seemed to be suggesting that this Toluene floating on top of the water table was somehow not subsurface waste. That because they had attempted (unsucessfully) to pump it, that it was gone. Not so and their own consultants, CRA, still acknowledge in recent DNAPL reports that there is indeed still subsurface DNAPL and LNAPL on Chemtura's site. This information I will shortly be sending to the CPAC Chair, Dan Holt.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Last evening every single citizen volunteer present took turns criticizing Chemtura and the M.O.E.. Ron Campbell, Vivienne and Sebastian did at times focus on the M.O.E. but with they and Chemtura so apparently aligned on issues it was difficult not to hit both fish in the barrel. There was a presentation by RWDI (Rowan, Williams, Davies and Irwin) which was their peer review of CRA's (Conestoga Rovers) work on a site wide Air Certificate of Approval. Yours truly at one point politely suggested to Greg of RWDI that he had more confidence in the Ministry of Environment's competence than I did. At that point Steve Martindale (M.O.E.) interjected that they couldn't possibly have less confidence in the M.O.E. than I had. After the general amusement died down I conceded that Steve was correct.

The proposed remediation of the Dioxins and DDT in the south-east corner of Chemtura brought major heat to Chemtura/M.O.E.. The M.O.E. (Steve) insist that it is a voluntary cleanup because they the M.O.E. can't prove there are off-site impacts. Both Ron and Sebastian made their displeasure and disappointment in the M.O.E.'s position clear as did Pat Mclean representing the APTE Chemtura Committee. This is Pat McLean's first appearance at CPAC since she lost the Chair's positon. I commented that I was in agreement with her and CPAC's position and added that the off-site impacts have been known for over a decade as DDT and Dioxins are several miles down the Canagagigue Creek in the floodplains. Studies and reports have been done confirming this and Chemtura/M.O.E. know that full well. Councillor and newest CPAC member Mark Bauman continues to impress as he is doing his due diligence and homework and getting up to speed quickly. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura did his credibility no good when he insisted that more recent testing showed vastly reduced DDT/Dioxin reductions on-site and downstream in the Canagagigue. Turned out that while we were discussing miles downstream he was referring to a few metres "downstream". Sebastian and Ron reiterated that the M.O.E. should be funding consultants to do peer reviews on behalf of CPAC. Steve Martindale and Vivienne got into it a little bit when Steve misinterpreted Viv's comments to be a personal attack upon himself. Viv clarified and the Chair Dan Holt also assisted in sorting things out. The Chair (Dr. Dan) stickhandled nicely in keeping things progressing without unduly cutting off debate and discussion. That being said I whispered a few times to Rich Clausi sitting on my left that both Jeff (Chemtura) and Steve (M.O.E.) appeared to be gabbing just to run out the clock.

Ron Campbell introduced some comments on the SWAT team which will be dealing with technical issues on behalf of CPAC. He is also pressing the M.O.E. for details on the computer model that CRA are using as well as the rationale behind the 2028 cleanup date. Mark Bauman pressed Steve (M.O.E.) on the position they would take if Chemtura were to go belly up and or fold their tents and leave. Steve promised responsible and appropriate action from the M.O.E. . Mark also very diplomatically I thought, raised the sensitive issue of trust concerning company paid consultants.

Jeff Merriman and myself got into it a bit over the issue of off-site chemicals above and beyond NDMA, Chlorobenzene and Ammonia. Jeff did qualify his comments by suggesting that the bulk of off-site contamination was Chlorobenzene, NDMA and Ammonia. That's a little weird as NDMA while at very low concentrations is highly toxic to humans. It is measured in parts per trillion. Ammonia on the other hand is more toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and is measured in parts per million. Chlorobenzene is the heaviest of the three compounds. There are many other off-site chemicals by number which is my point. How they stack up by weight and or toxicity is not the issue. The issue may well be unknown synergistic effects between the myriad of chemicals present in the groundwater.

Christine Broughton (Woolwich Township) commented that CPAC did not need to make a decision regarding the peer review done by RWDI immediately. This was in agreement with the opinions of Sebastian, Ron and myself. Vivienne vigorously pursued financial issues around the 1991 Control Order. Her questions elicited interesting information from Steve as to the money they (M.O.E.) pay to Chemtura each year for "cleanup" costs. Finally Vivienne reminded the Chair (Dan) that we needed an update on the Varnicolor Chemical excavations we were promised last fall. Steve Martindale advised that he would bring the local abatement M.O.E. folks to the next CPAC meeting (June 28/12) for this update.

As is appropriate the Chair (Dan Holt) had only occasional comments to make although he did ask some very good questions of Jeff Merriman in regards to Source Removal versus only pump and treat He also indicated at one point a queue of upcoming questioners which I appreciated. Clearly Jeff (Chemtura) and Steve (M.O.E.) were not happy campers long before the meeting was over. Dwight Este (Chemtura) as usual kept his cool and his head down and let Jeff take the heat. The CPAC Chair in particular as well as the rest of CPAC are making exceptional efforts to criticize actions, decisions, companies and political bodies rather than individuals. As Ron emphasized they wish to make decisons and take positions based on facts and science. From the standpoint of those representatives of groups who are long complicit in the inadequate and frankly deceptive "cleanup" of the Elmira aquifers; it is a very difficult time.