Friday, November 30, 2012


Well it didn't have the earthshaking revelations of the November 1/12 meeting but nevertheless was quite interesting and informative. I started the ball rolling with my Delegation which focused on the difference between private citizens presenting research and data versus bought and paid for professionals representing the polluter or proponent in the case for example of a quarry. I also emphasized that private citizens do not hide behind wimpy, deceptive Limitations clauses as does the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Chemtura advised us that they will be removing more buried drums from their south-west corner (M2). Jeff Merriman also suggested that they were mainly "carcasses" as the contents (liquid) were long gone into the natural environment. Allegedly Chemtura remove contamination as they stumble across it but refuse to do more on their site. The M.O.E. are fine with that while the citizens are not.

CPAC member Ron Campbell appropriately took umbrage with a claim in Chemtura's "Plant Activities Summary" which stated that Conestoga Rovers 5 year computer model "...confirmed that the 2028 target is attainable, with the addition of new extraction wells and increased system flowrates." Odd, no mention of their suggested In -Situ Chemical Oxidation. Also odd in that this same model predicted that the old vastly lesser pump and treat system would also achieve drinking water standards by 2028. Who knows what their next "update" is going to claim.

Steve Quigley of CRA gave an interesting demonstration regarding their computerized 3-D hydrogeologic model. Although certainly not a physical , literally 3-Dimensional model; it was very interesting and probably will be of assistance in understanding the big picture hydrogeologically. There was a somewhat bizarre interchange at the end of Steve's presentation with Susan Bryant who has started attending occasional CPAC meetings. Ron Campbell politely asked Steve how long CRA had had this capability ie. 3-D model. Steve turned right around towards the back of the room and asked Susan Bryant to respond. She immediately and unhesitatingly stated "a long time". Steve then elaborated and I believe he told Ron Campbell, twelve to fourteen years. He also advised the room that Susan Bryant had "assisted" with its development. Now Susan's area of expertise is English literature and probably editing etc.. Technically I can not imagine her having anything whatsoever with which to "assist" Conestoga Rovers. Then when Steve was taking "orders" for copies of the flash drives (USB's?) to be distributed, Chair Dr. Dan Holt asked Susan if she would like one, to which she replied no she already had it. There are a multitude of possible interpretations for this information but I do know that years ago I was discussing with Susan the necessity of getting rid of the extremely client driven CRA, possibly at the same time that she unknown to me and others was "assisting" them.

Dr. Dan Holt advised CPAC that *Responsible Care were meeting this Tuesday to begin discussions around Chemtura becoming "verified" again. They failed a year ago and were supposed to have this process going months ago. In the Public Forum part of the CPAC meeting I advised CPAC that promises were wind and that Chemtura's history was filled with broken promises and therefore they should not receive "verification" based upon them. I also reminded CPAC of Chemtura's refusal to take CPAC's advice for a better cleanup of the Dioxins and DDT in their south-east corner, namely GP1 and GP2.

The Soil Water Air Technolgy (SWAT) Chair, Ron Campbell advised CPAC, the M.O.E. and Chemtura of problems, questions and issues they forsee with tripling the volumes of off-site pumping as suggested by CRA. Dr. Dan also made a formal CPAC request for additional funds for peer review purposes from Chemtura. Not surprisingly this was refused as the last thing they or the M.O.E. want is any kind of a level playing field whereby citizens can professionally refute the junk science provided by Chemtura's consultants.

Finally Chair Dan advised CPAC and all parties that he and CPAC would be presenting an update to Woolwich Council on Tuesday December 11, 2012. This is an excellent opportunity for the public to get up to speed as to the ongoing challenges and battles that CPAC are facing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Tonite's Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) will probably be the last one for 2012 and an absolutely remarkable year it has been. CPAC has been ably Chaired since the spring by Dr. Dan Holt much to the discontent of both Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.). Apparently they believe that criticism, no matter how much deserved, should always be applied via soft, soothing, repectful supplicants only. Afterall Chemtura and the M.O.E. have the most money, resources and bought and paid for professionals at their beck and call; hence it is beneath their dignity to be called upon the carpet by mere citizens as if they were nothing more than dirty polluters and liars.

Chairman Dan will as always attempt to be fair, openminded and abide by the rules which include significant public input, albeit through the Chair. The level of distrust and hostility will be muted as all parties are putting on a bit of a show for the media and any public present. Count on Chemtura to be surrounded by supporters and fellow travellors including the Sussex Group, Conestoga Rovers and Ontario M.O.E..

Tonite's agenda will include a presentation on a 3-D Aquifer Model as well as discussion by CPAC on the unacceptable proposed cleanup of GP1 & GP2. Too many Dioxins and DDT are being left behind. CPAC will also present a financial request for funding of peer review studies of Conestoga Rovers work. While CPAC are too diplomatic to suggest that CRA are client driven and their reports reflect it; I am not. CPAC will also advise all parties of their intent to make a Presentation to Woolwich Council on December 11/12. Finally Soil Water Air Technical (SWAT), a sub-committee of CPAC, will respond to CRA's presentation last month regarding enhanced off-site cleanup proposals.

Elmira and Woolwich citizens you are being well represented by the young CPAC. That being said, they need your involvement and presence. Whether you are present to listen, criticize or support them, it is important for you to be there. The powers of money, self interest and politics never rest and are trying to undermine this renewed effort by the young CPAC to get Elmira's water restored. Even with these new promises and proposals the 2028 deadline is extremely unlikely. You can help assure that these promises are met by incredibly unreliable parties including your own provincial government representatives.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Politics is a four letter word, two times over. It is a contemptible practice fortunately of only one species on this planet. I expect that the day after human beings were conversing more or less intelligently; one of them realized that by careful manipulation of words they could for their own benefit, deceive another.

Almost all repressive and regressive legislation is written with flowery words to hide its' true intent. Even the titles of various pieces of legislation are incredibly hypocritical. The provincial Liberals Bill 115, known as "The Putting Students First" Act is one such example. The Liberals sold the education farm repeatedly to both the School Boards and the teachers' unions for one purpose only and that was votes. Now public opinion has inevitably turned against paying public employees far more than the rest of us can ever hope to earn. So the liberals are hammering the teachers' unions with Bill 115. "Putting Students First" should be renamed more honestly as "Putting the Liberal Party first".

Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record advises us that the proposed mega quarry in Melancthon Township has been defeated. The title is "Bittersweet victory leaves its mark" written by Jessica McDiarmid. The article does emphasize that residents were divided on the project especially those who had sold their farms and those who wanted the potential jobs. The sheer size of the project garnered the attention of people throughout Ontario and especially those communities whose water supply originates in the highlands of the area. This would include the source of the Grand River as well as the Nottawasaga and others.

For me I wish this article had mentioned the political moves that went on. It is my understanding that the local Council did not support the project and indeed had looked for support from other municipalities through the AMO (Assoc'n of Municipalities of Ontario). That was crucial. Far too often we see local Councils promising transparency and accountability and then doing the deed in the dark of the night, out of sight and unaccountable. Right now Woolwich Township still have numerous environmentally unsound proposals before them. They have promised to support their local citizens and yet while I heard major community criticism against the Jigs Hollow Pit and virtually zero local Woolwich residents in favour of it; three Council members did the deed. They gave their approval to a Settlement Agreement which included an unmonitored and unsupervised recyling program for asphalt and concrete. Politics and democracy failed again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Woolwich Council Chambers were packed yesterday morning to watch the Ontario Municipal Board demonstrate their inherent pro aggregate bias. Whether it's the legislation, the overeliance on bought and paid for "experts" or the particular individuals involved; it wasn't a pretty picture. Once again the informed citizens who do not want this gravel pit located near their homes, schools and beside the Grand River came prepared and informed. Their presentations dealt with numerous weaknesses of the proponent's case as well as downright omissions. They were cross-examined by the lawyer for Preston Sand & Gravel and quite frankly the citizens came off looking like the professionals and the lawyer looking like a shyster. If this had been an honest process the Jigs Hollow Pit would be dead in the water. If Woolwich Council and staff had stuck to their guns the Board Chair wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.

Three Woolwich Council members can and undoubtedly will chirp about the interests of the whole Woolwich community. Apparently saving all taxpayers money by screwing the interests of the minority is how three Council members define community interests. Apparently throwing the interests of the Friends of the Winterbourne Valley and the sixty plus citizens who came out yesterday morning, out the window, somehow is in everybody's best interests. That is nothing but political crap. Mayor Cowan, Mark Bauman and Julie Anne Herteis have screwed up big time. The Mayor has made campaign promises and now he is reneging on them. Bio-En was bad and this is worse.

Environmentally there are two gravel pits to go namely West Montrose and the Hunder pit in Conestogo. Lesson number one these citizens will have learned is this. Yes being a party at an OMB hearing is expensive but at least you aren't so likely to be betrayed and backstabbed by your own elected representatives. Therefore party staus is mandatory which of course requires extensive fundraising beforehand. Why do you think the OMB, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the aggregate industry have been so sucessful at these hearings? Add to this the costs of expert witnesses to counteract the industries bought and paid for "experts". This Board like most honesty challenged ones will "weigh" evidence higher from bought and paid for professionals than from honest, informed citizens. Shame on them.

Councillor Bryant has demonstrated her integrity. Councillor Poffenroth was on holidays and his vote wouldn't have changed things. I was backstabbed by the Mayor more than a year and a half ago and I've been trying very hard not to be biased since because I've seen good things from this Council in regards to the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. I now fully expect three members of this Council to continue to look out for their interests at the expense of what is right and at the expense of the community. That means that any citizens, even those appointed by Council to committees such as CPAC, had better watch their backs. This Council have in my opinion officially burned their good will as well as their own credibility.

Monday, November 26, 2012


This is the dirty little secret that politicians, developers and immigration proponents prefer to hide. Growth degrades the environment. This planet is overpopulated now. Despite this, because a few people can make lots of money by constantly expanding our population; the rest of us (and the environment) pays the price. It's a vicious circle and it's been out of control in Canada since the Second World War. Under the guise of "humanitarianism" this country has literally been flooding our streets with more and more people. Yes they are consumers. Yes they purchase cars, homes and all the accoutrements of the good life. They have helped expand the domestic canadian market exponentially. To what avail? Most of our manufacturing jobs have left to the very same low wage countries that these people came from in the first place. The rest of the world is still and always will be a much larger market. These manufacturing jobs have fled to bastions of progressiveness such as Bangladesh. Saturday's Record advises us that 112 people have died in a factory fire there.

On average once a week there is a spill or bypass of partially treated sewage into the Grand River. I've got news for regional planners and politicians. Do you think that even fully treated sewage is good for the river? Are you nuts? This heritage river allegedly is getting cleaner with more fishing, possible swimming and river view properties at a premium. Meanwhile due to both sheer volumes of sewage multiplied by greater and larger storm events the Galt STP has spilled or bypassed sixteen times this year. Do you really want your kids swimming downstream from there? These storm events, wait for it, are also caused by man made sources. Again too many people pursuing an unsustainable lifestyle on too small a world. Spreading them out won't solve the problem. Fewer births than deaths over the long term will.

There have been 296 sewage discharges since 2007 of which 186 are accidental spills and 110 are deliberate bypasses of treatment when the plants have been overloaded. In order of shame by number of discharges is Guelph first, Galt second and yes ELMIRA third. There is lots of blame to go around from federal officials and too much population growth too quickly to municipal officials not maintaining a strict separation of rainwater from the sanitary (sewage) sewers going to the Sewage Treatment Plants. Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record gives us all the gory details: "Sewage spills a struggle for region". As bad as it is for the natural environment here can you imagine being 100% dependent on the Grand River for drinking water as the City of Brantford is ? Gee you don't suppose health issues there including much higher than average incidences of various cancers are relevant do you?

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Today's Woolwich Observer carrys this story "Bryant lone councillor to vote against gravel pit deal". I will make the following admission. Over two years ago when the three biggest pit proposals were coming forward I thought that West Montrose had the best shot at sucessfully stopping their pit and that the Jigs Hollow Pit unfortunately was the most likely to proceed. Keep in mind this was before professional presentation after professional presentation put on by Laurie Breed, Lynne Hare and Jan Huisson; all representing the Friends of the Winterbourne Valley. Other speakers including from Conestogo's Golf Course subdivision came out to speak against this proposed pit ruining their view of the beautiful Winterbourne valley.

Further testimony to the level of community anger against Woolwich Council's Decision was demonstrated by the public protest, outside the Woolwich Arena last Tuesday night. Councillors in this Observer story are sticking to their guns and Councillor Bauman suggested "There's an illusion out there that township council can stop gravel pits". Oh boy is that an out or a veiled hint that perhaps someone (Mayor Cowan?) made some overeaching campaign promises? I'll be blunt here. If this Council doesn't pick up its' socks and fight to the death for residents from here on out, I expect that this whole Council will be out in two years time.

Quoting the Observer "Five residents given participant status will have a chance to make their case when the hearing resumes Monday at 10 am.". I respectfully suggest that they show up with their guns loaded for bear AND as much support along with them as is possible.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Next Thursday evening at 6 pm. in Council Chambers, Woolwich Township's Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) will be holding their public monthly evening meeting. At present CPAC seem to be unearthing an astounding array of neverending revelations relating to past, well hidden information. From the sale of the NORTH wellfield to the discovery years ago of off-site free phase DNAPL, namely mercaptobenzothiazole on the Yara (Nutrite) site, the pieces are slowly coming together. Recent revelations that the Region will be unable to use Elmira groundwater until at least 2050 regardless of whether it's allegedly clean by 2028 are stunning. Off-site source removal is now on Chemtura's Agenda a mere two decades after myself and others were demanding on-site source removal. Back then we were lied to about the existence of serious off-site contamination including Varnicolor Chemical, Nutrite, gas stations and others.

Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys this article "Settlement reached on Jigs Hollow pit". The Ontario Muncicpal Board are recessed on the matter until this Monday, I believe at 10 am. in Woolwich Council chambers. That is when residents and citizens will have an opportunity to address the Board. A number of local residents had participant status at these discussions and I think they may have learned a hard lesson. On Monday we will learn whether or not they feel they were sold out by the Township or not. Meanwhile in the Independent Mayor Cowan is quoted as saying that Council
balanced "...the interests of the entire Woolwich community,". My concern is if that balancing is simply a dollar and cents "balancing". In other words it would be very easy, as in the past, for Council to roll over everytime they are faced with provincial opposition. In the long run they were elected to support the interests of Woolwich residents and yes there is a cost involved.

To me there is an astounding admission in today's Waterloo Region Record regarding this pit and other upcoming Woolwich pits. The Record's Editorial is titled "No quarry but lots of questions". While this is in reference to the proposed mega quarry near Shelbourne being scrapped, Woolwich Township is mentioned namely: "Maybe some of that aggregate will be extracted from gravel pits in Waterloo Region, in Woolwich Township, for instance, where residents have fought to block such operations but are probably not as well connected and affluent as some of the Torontonians who own land in Dufferin County and opposed the mega-quarry there."

Oh my but that is appalling. The Record's Editorial writers are admitting that right and wrong and "...balancing of interests..." is mere drivel and hooey. It's all about raw power, money and political connections. A couple of years ago plus I warned the old Woolwich Council to either get on board with their citizens in opposition to these pits or else to get out of town. Most of them are gone and the current batch of Councillors have now got the same warning.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


The actual title of the monthly report put out by Conestoga Rovers is "Chemtura Canada Co. Progress Report- October 2012". In the title of this post above I had considered calling it the Chemtura Monthly BS Report and while not far off the mark nevertheless "Public Relations" is probably closer.

Here is some big news. "All extraction wells met or exceeded their minimum target pumping rates.". I agree with CRA that that is indeed news. By "All" they are referring to all on-site pumping wells (PW4 & 5) and all off-site pumping wells (W5A, W5B, W3, W4 & E7). A tiny observation might include that on-site pumping wells for the Upper Aquifer (9-11 of them) do not have a minimum target pumping rate and similarily the off-site Yara (Nutrite) wells also do not. These pumping rates are extremely small and in fact declining but it is difficult to know if this is a problem or not without a target rate being included.

This big news has occurred twice this year out of ten months. That is precisely double what it accomplished last year. As has been mentioned in previous posts Chemtura and their fellow travellers have achieved their overall off-site pumping volumes for three of the past fourteen years. This makes any promises they are currently giving about tripling their off-site pumping rates; very problematic.

Table A.4 gives additional analytical results for some on-site observation wells at Chemtura. Despite significant pumping over the last twenty years; as expected the on-site concentrations of multiple groundwater contaminants are still and always will be, without source removal, ridiculously high.

Appandix B shares with us the discharges to the creek of surface water nevertheless contaminated with various Chemtura chemicals. These ongoing discharges are low in volume but the trends for the majority are neither increasing nor decreasing. Again our Ministry of the Environment while monitoring MISA (municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement) discharges are doing nothing about them.

Table C.2 as usual indicates that according to their statistical analysis there are no significant increases in Canagagigue Creek concentrations downstream compared to upstream at Chemtura. At the same time the mean concentrations of NDMA, NMOR and Toluene are indeed higher downstream than upstream at Chemtura.

Overall it is significant that Chemtura's on and off site pumping rates are improving. If history is any indication however this will not continue.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Shocking and disappointing. The Delegate to last evening's Woolwich Committee of the Whole used the word "betrayal". Mr. Larke like all the presenters and Delegates over the last few years who have spoken at Woolwich Council regarding this proposed gravel pit located along the Grand River beside Winterbourne and in view of Conestogo; was hurt and upset, but nevertheless respectful. Last Saturday here in the Advocate I posted the news that Woolwich Council and the Region had agreed to Terms of Settlement thus avoiding a full OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) hearing on the matter. Mr. Larke requested the reasoning and specifics and Council to their credit did their best to respond to him.

The problem in my opinion is that their best simply wasn't good enough. A minor part of the problem is in regards to confidentiality that exists during a closed door Council meeting as well as during in camera discussions. The key messages and terms from the settlement were shared last night. I can understand a Council bending to recommendations all around them from possibly more experienced staff as well as from consultants and OMB personnel. I can understand but not agree however. This Council was elected on a number of environmental issues including Bio-En, gravel pits (3) and the Chemtura mess and coverup. Under pressure they are behaving much too much like their predecessors.

Yes the Settlement "mitigates" some of the most noxious effects of a gravel and recycling pit located in a bad environmental location and also too close to residents. There are a number of concessions made that may help somewhat. The problem is that local residents made an extremely cogent and powerful case against this pit being located there at all. They spent hundreds perhaps thousands of hours doing research and investigations into all aspects of this proposal. Their work reaped incredible clarification into issues and problems either overlooked or totally glossed over by the proponent. The citizens exposed blatant misinformation provided by other parties , their consultants and so called experts. The odds are always stacked against citizens in battles like this; yet they prevailed. They educated themselves, township staff and Township Council. They were in the right.

For all of this honest and informative effort, it appears as if Council sold them down the drain. Council have some legitimate reasons, including financial ones, but when push comes to shove; they were elected to FIGHT on behalf of all their citizens. Hiding behind OMB costs and disgusting provincial legislation favouring the aggregate industry and their token monitors the Ministry of Natural Resources is not good enough. Councillor Bonnie Bryant asked for and received a public expression of which Councillors voted in favour of settling and hence approving the Jigs Hollow Pit (Kuntz Pit). Councillors Herteis, Bowman and Mayor Cowan voted in favour, Councillor Bryant against. Councillor Poffenroth was not present.

This bodes very badly for the rest of the issues which mostly cleaned house politically two years ago. The West Montrose Pit (Capitol) and the Hunder Pit (Conestogo) are coming up. Of personal concern to me is the Elmira groundwater cleanup. To date Council have maintained their support for CPAC which includes confronting Chemtura; or as the late Esther Thur was fond of saying "We were formed to FIGHT Uniroyal, not make nice with them". Will Council continue to fight for both their citizens interests as well as is what is right or will they continue to roll over in the face of opposition?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Here in living colour is the reality of contaminated sites in Ontario. It's not a case of discovering them. It's not so much a case of midnight dumping out in the back fourty. The reality is sites such as the former Electrohome site at the corner of Shanley St. and Duke St. in Kitchener. The City of Kitchener and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment have known about this contaminated site for decades. And done nothing substantive.

The soil and groundwater contamination is TCE otherwise known as trichloroethylene. This is the same contaminant that has killed and sickened so many in the Bishop St. community of Cambridge. This is the same contaminant that caused childrens' cancer deaths in the John Travolta movie, A Civil Trial. That movie was based on the real life experiences that occurred in Woburn Massachussets.

In Woburn the theory was that the TCE volatolized in the hot water in showers and people then inhaled it. In Cambridge the volatilization from a liquid to a gas took place underground and then entered people's homes through basement floors and or cracks in the foundation.

Regardless our authorities, tasked with the responsibility of protecting citizens from health effects of pollution are failing us in dramatic fashion. Above and beyond the groundwater issue and hence drinking water is the issue of fumes entering people's homes. Has any testing whatsover been done to determine if that is happening? Have even basic hydrogeology been looked at to detrmine if the conditions are conduicive to vapour intrusion into neighbour's homes? Shame on all levels of government if they haven't even begun looking into this. The Waterloo Region Record published this story last Thursday November 15, 2012 titled "City tries to sell former plant site, collect back taxes".

Monday, November 19, 2012


Lasr Friday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Conduct pipeline review, activists demand". The day before there was also an article titled "Enridge has new plans for 40-year-old pipeline".

Apparently here in Waterloo Region we have been unknowingly blessed with an underground pipeline, including under the Grand River for the last fourty years. The problem seems to be the latest plans by Enbridge Pipelines will see a reversal in direction, larger volumes and a possible change to a more corrosive, toxic version of the current light crude being pumped. Instead of imported oil being pumped from east to west (Sarnia) the Line 9 pipeline as it is known will be part of pumping Alberta crude oil from west to east, namely through Quebec to the Maritmes.

As I understand the protest planned for 7 pm. today at Waterloo Town Square, it will be for the purpose of demanding a review of Enbridge's plans. This review should be done by our Ontario Ministry of the Environment according to local activists, similar to one planned by the Quebec Ministry of the Environment.

Some of you may recall that Enbridge do not have a sterling reputation in regards to pipeline maintenance as evidenced by the disaster in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, two years ago.

While our very own Ontario M.O.E. have a deservedly bad reputaion themselves, nevertheless you'd think as a matter of control and authority that they would at least want to go through the motions of looking at Enbridge's plans. Then they can rubberstamp them as they do so many others but at least the public will become a little more informed as to the hazards we are put under for the financial benefit of others. What the heck maybe there are some legitimate economic or structural reasons for this change that could also be explained to us. Being kept in the dark may be more convenient for our authorities but it breeds rampant distrust and contempt for those very same authorities.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Jigs Hollow Pit Example

Yesterday's Woolwich Observer updates us on the Jigs Hollow pit application with this front page story "Deal would allow Jigs Hollow gravel pit to go ahead". The citizens battling this proposed gravel pit such as Lynne Hare and Jan Huisson started out several steps behind the starting line two years ago courtesy of the old lame duck Council approving this pit after they had been voted out of office. The Friends of the Winterbourne Valley went into high gear and although I've only seen some of their verbal and slide presentations at Council, I've been duly impressed. They have documented all kinds of anomolies in which the proponents have said one thing and the facts speak otherwise. They have shared concerns of residents both in Winterbourne and those on Golf Course Rd. in Conestogo.

It looked like they had sucessfully taken the recycling operation off the table with the research they had done regarding concrete dust health issues. It now appears to no avail as Council and the Region have reached a deal with the proponent Kuntz Topsoil, sand & Gravel. There have been many different speakers at Council against this issue which was a good thing. Unfortunately as is common and normal every single Woolwich resident who will be adversely affected by this pit and recycling operation was not in Council chambers for every single meeting. That's how essentially biased and undemocratic legislation regarding the aggregate industry usually prevails. This unfair and undemocratic legislation is intentional and rarely beaten. Woolwich Council and the Region know this. Items such as sunset clauses and vertical zoning are needed but the province and the Ministry of Natural Resources are resisting. Keep clearly in mind just as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has long been captured by industrial polluters so has the MNR been the aggregate industry's biggest booster.

A year or two ago I suggested that I thought that the folks at West Montrose (Bridgekeepers) and in Conestogo (Hunder Pit) could win their cases. I based this on organization, numbers and the activism of many residents. Here in Elmira we had one hundred people come out to a public protest regarding the proposed Bio Energy facility in town. Despite this Council eventually gave their approval. In hindsight I think what is needed is one hundred people attending every single meeting public or private. Our Councillors need to know that when they spend township money fighting for the rights of Woolwich residents it's not just for a handful of the most dedicated and hardworking ones. They need to realize that all of Woolwich suffers from these assaults upon our citizens. To date they get it in regards to Chemtura. Bio-En and the Jigs Hollow Pit are bad news. Up to bat still is the Hunder Pit (Conestogo) and the Capitol Paving Pit (West Montrose). This Council got elected to serve the citizens not the aggregate industry nor the polluters.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Wow! Thirty years we were told to clean up the Elmira aquifers. This was what we were told around 1990 or 91. Silly us we initially thought that meant thirty years from when they were shut down in 1989. Well the date kept getting pushed back while CRA/Chemtura/MOE kept saying a thirty year restoration. Since 1998 and the start of off-site pumping (off Uniroyal site) the thirty year date has been acknowledged far and wide as 2028. Apparently not quite so. First off CPAC and Woolwich Township have made it plain to our local world class polluter and their fellow travellors that their cleanup plan sucks. The guilty parties responded fifteen days ago with a new enhanced cleanup plan.

Unfortunately Eric Hodgins of the Region of Waterloo had advised CPAC at a public meeting last summer that the Region had absolutely zero plans or provisions ahead of time to include the Elmira wellfields as part of their long term water supply. He further elaborated that they wouldn't even begin to consider them potentially as viable until after the Elmira Aquifers not only reached drinking water standards but maintained them for a significant time period. Well!

Eric's words were carefully chosen and Councillor Mark Bauman had a somewhat different interpretation of them than other CPAC members did. Clarification was requested of Eric by Dr. Dan Holt, CPAC Chair. Funny how things work out sometimes. Eric clarified in writing and the result mirrors my prediction of eleven days ago, here in the Advocate. I had suggested that the next excuses coming from Chemtura and buds was that oh gosh the waters fine but the Region refuses to jump in. Sure enough Eric in writing to all of CPAC has made it clear that the earliest possible date for Elmira residents to be drinking Elmira water again is 2050. That's the earliest date if everything else is on time and there are no further screwups.

In what universe is shutting down Elmira wells in 1989 and MAYBE firing them up in 2050; a thirty year restoration? Citizens of Elmira you've been lied to for the past twenty-three years by three levels of government namely municipal, regional and provincial. Especially at the municipal level most of them are gone but there are some still active at the regional and provincial levels. Remember them. Forgive if you want but never forget how we've all been treated contemptuously by three levels of government in conjunction with our local polluter and hangers on.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Trust. Such a simple concept and word. Once more it seems however to be a word that our Ministry of the Environment do not understand. In their blind support and validation of a rogue company they have failed Elmira yet again.

Conestoga Rovers, the long time consultants to this rogue company two weeks ago presented both verbally as well as in writing their alleged new five year plan. The verbal aspect focused on tripling the rates of pumping and treating within the Elmira Aquifer as well as the use of ISCO (In-situ chemical oxidation). There appears to have been an intentional deception involved in regards to certain aspects of ISCO which I've already pointed out this week here in the Advocate.

CPAC at the public meeting and since have a number of legitimate questions and concerns regarding this source removal/destruction plan. I am reasonably confident based upon over two decades of dealing with CRA/Chemtura/MOE that they will not be accurately addressed or responded to by any of those three parties. Thus despite the best efforts of citizen volunteers on CPAC & SWAT (soil, water, air, technology) sub-committee; public consultation will proceed with cleanup decisions for the Elmira Aquifers being made in private meetings between the unholy trinity already mentioned. These decisions will be trotted out for CPAC and the public to view and if any difficult or awkward questions are asked, the unholy trinity will close ranks; obfuscate, deflect, massage the truth or simply lose sight of it altogether.

Back to trust. The M.O.E. could have and should have advised CPAC two weeks ago that ISCO has already been used here in Elmira. It is not the new and emerging technology that was hinted at by CRA. It was first used twenty-seven years ago in the United States and has since been used at hundreds of contaminated sites guessed it... by Conestoga Rovers on behalf of a client. I am currently aware of two sites in Elmira where it has been used although I strongly suspect other Elmira cleanups have incorporated it as well. There is no excuse for not sharing this information with CPAC, the committee of Woolwich Council, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the restoration of the Elmira Aquifers by 2028.

The M.O.E. are the greatest advocates of the mushroom treatment for public consultative bodies. Either lie outright or lie by omission, it matters not to them at all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Yesterday I received a letter dated November 09, 2012 from Mr. Peter Lapp, Director of Operations for the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, namely Mr. Gord Miller. I would refer to the letter as a courtesy letter simply advising me that an appeal for a Review that I had requested over a year ago was in the 2011-2012 ECO Annual Report to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. This appeal for a Review of public consultation in Elmira went to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment where it was summarily rejected. Hardly a surprise considering who the appeal had to go through.

The appeal was at the behest of both myself and a prior member of CPAC, namely Ken Driedger. While Ken and I approached the appeal and request for a review of public consultaion from different perspectives; nevertheless we were both concerned by the obvious politicization of the whole process. Any knowledgable person will quickly understand that a committee of council is wholely under the thumb of that Council. If the Council members are nuetral and unbiased on a particular issue and looking for some form of semi independent involvement of the public; then a public consultative body which is a committee of Council might succeed. While I was much happier with the current Council elected in 2010 than the old one, I don't believe Mr. Driedger was. What principle we shared was that CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) should be more independent both in membership and in operation. My concern was of course with future Councils and Ken's with the current one. I of course did have a concern with a member or two on the current Council but still felt that eventually their best natures would shine through.

My current take on the situation is that finally after more than two decades of toadies and co-opted members of the public running CPAC; we truly have some independent volunteers on board. My concern is still the same; namely what will happen to this excellent CPAC who have properly and politely confronted the status quo. If our current Council either don't all run again or are defeated at the polls in two years; then it could be open season on CPAC. Past Councils have been less than exemplary in putting the public environmental interest at the forefront. That is exactly why the Elmira "cleanup" was spinning its' wheels. Chemtura had far too many friends on Council and the environment far too few.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


On-site free phase DNAPL does not exist. While admitting to Residual DNAPL which is recognized as the tail of a moving free phase plume; nevertheless the unholy trinity have reversed the science to accomodate themselves. They claim that larger pools and globs of free phase DNAPL dissolve faster than smaller ganglia and disconnected blobs of Residual DNAPL.

There is no off-site free phase DNAPL. OW57-32R behind Varnicolor Chemical has been an annoying problem but through spirited and imaginative scientific rewrites including "oopsys" of oil and non-existent co-solvents for chlorobenzene; allegedly increasing it's solubility percentage from 3/4% to 1%, they are continuing to deny, deny, deny. Meanwhile they have just confirmed the use of ISCO (In-situ chemical oxidation) to destroy high concentrations of NDMA in two North-west areas of Elmira, off their site.

The suggestion is that ISCO is only for destruction of dissolved plumes of chemicals. Sorry but that's not what the scientific literature says.

The ISCO they are using is for NDMA only. More egregious nonsense. It will break down chlorobenzene and most other organic contaminants.

Acetone readily degrades in groundwater thus explaining how non-existent acetone has somehow increased the solubility of chlorobenzene in groundwater. Co-solvents by definition increase the solubility of hydrophobic compounds and or compounds that are essentially insoluble. Chlorobenzene is neither one.

Petroleum hydrocarbons don't exist at CH70D near the old Varnicolor Union St. site. Also Petroleum hydrocarbons are limited in their existence in the Elmira groundwater. If only that were true. It is not. They are throughout Elmira and multiple aquifers courtesy of Varnicolor, Chemtura and multiple service stations.

If junk and psuedo science are ever recognized as an art form then I would nominate the unholy trinity as artists in residence for Elmira, Ontario. They are the best.

Monday, November 12, 2012


This is an incredibly big deal. Almost as important as this off Chemtura site source removal/remediation is the unholy trinity's (CRA/Chemtura/M.O.E.) shaping of it. Firstly they are pretending that it's all about NDMA cleanup. This is almost as believeable as their focusing on three groundwater contaminants while excluding one hundred others. This "shaping" if you will is all about the big lie. It's all about the continued government/corporate coverup here in Elmira. It's about the destruction of an incredibly valuable public resource namely groundwater, while painting a picture of a company and government Ministry which allegedly can and will restore it. It's about getting the taxpayer to pay for 50% of the cleanup caused by Uniroyal/Chemtura as well as other industries here in Elmira.

Conestoga Rovers have publicly called the permanent NDMA plume centred on well OW60 several blocks to the west of Chemtura as a "relic" plume. In my opinion that is just one more example of adjusting the science (and terminology) to your own needs. CRA and their buddies will never admit that there is another source of NDMA to the Elmira Aquifers other than Chemtura. They will also, just like the Ontario M.O.E., not back up their self serving "interpretations" with hard science or hard data. CRA have a history of failure in Elmira. They and their co-conspirators will of course never so admit. They have been bouncing around from one "cleanup" scenario to another for over twenty years. They word their Elmira experiment as dynamic relocations or dynamic pumping or whatever meaningless but scientific jargon they can get their hands on. They hide behind computer models and credentialism while assiduously avoiding real debate and discussion. The reality is that they were so far off track that the young Woolwich appointed CPAC picked up on it and have publicly called them on it. The fact that the old CPAC did little or nothing for the past decade simply reflected the sucessful (for Chemtura) political situation in Elmira for so long. Chemtura/CRA/MOE without admitting failure have responded by starting what they've been told is necessary, namely source removal. Interestingly they are starting with off-site source removal while leaving readily accessible sources on site. This is in agreement with the October 7, 1991 "sweetheart deal" between Uniroyal and the Ontario M.O.E. which idemnified Uniroyal from all liability for known contamination.

The history of the the unholy trinity in Elmira is the typical history of powerful interests in control of a crisis of their own making. It is the powerful and the winners of wars who write the history, not the honest or truthful. While their agreement to a major change in direction as demanded by CPAC and Woolwich Council is refreshing; serious concerns remain. They are refusing to acknowledge either past failures or the significance of what they are now proposing. Are they merely stalling for time waiting for a more propitious political/environmental attitude from either Council or CPAC? Are they preparing a war chest for the next municipal election and candidates more to their liking?

Chlorobenzene, mercaptobenzothiazole, petroleum hydrocarbons and so much more still lurk in the Elmira subsurface courtesy of Chemtura, Yara, Varnicolor, service stations and other industries. These chemicals are dissolved in groundwater, some adsorbed to aquitards, and some as tars, solids or non aqueous phase liquids. As my friend and colleague Rich Clausi likes to say the first step to solving a problem is admission that it exists. To date the unholy trinity still refuse to admit the existence of sub surface wastes in a variety of locations throughout Elmira. They are keeping their options open in a neverending attempt to save Chemtura money and to win the public relations battle. Truth isn't even on their list of priorities.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


That (above) being said the picture in this week's Elmira Independent is a little unfortunate. It and the article "Keeping cattle out of the river in Wellesley" are on pg. 19. The instant I saw the picture I had a flashback to an advertising picture I saw for an Elmira business two decades ago. It was a glossy colour handout advertising high purity solvents from Varnicolor Chemical. Unfortunately if you looked closely at the picture there were numerous environmental infractions caught on it. These included drums stacked three high outdoors with no cover over them as well as standing water on the permeable ground surface.

Looking at the photo by Anne Lofleur of the Grand River Conservation Authority I also see some problems. Now granted the cattle are fenced off from the river which is a good thing. However look how many there are and how close to the river they are. Do you think that during a heavy rain the cattle's business won't flow overland directly into the river? Do you think what they leave behind won't be in the soil and shallow groundwater discharging into the river? Finally think about spring floods when that entire field, which is in the floodplain, is under water. Everything those cattle have left behind in vast quantities will still end up in the river. Yes they aren't eroding the riverbanks and yes there is some filtration by the soil between them and the river. However respectfully there is still a lot to learn when a photo like this is held up to be good stewardship.

Friday, November 9, 2012


What a scenario. Brag for fourteen years that your pump and treat cleanup, operating sporadically, is going to make the Elmira Aquifers drinkable by 2028. Then when you are publicly outed by CPAC and Woolwich Council via CPAC's Resolution, that by the way was sent to the Minister of the Environment, Province of Ontario, Region of Waterloo and the AMO (Assocn of Municipalities of ontario); you deny, deny and deny. At least that is until you stop denying which was just eight days ago. Then you get up on your high horse, have your paid consultants brag even more about computer modelling and just how fine it is; and oh gosh by the way YOU have decided that your pump and treat needs improvement. Chemtura you're so full of shit your eyes are brown.

Whew got that out of my system. Sorry folks but dealing with professional BS artists over more than two decades can wear on a person.

Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys both a front page story ""Major changes" planned for groundwater cleanup" and an Editorial from Gail Martin namely "Making progress". There are some interesting quotes from the November 1/12 meeting including Conestoga Rovers suggesting that In-Situ Chemical Oxidation being used on dissolved NDMA is either new or very recent. I think you're gilding the lily here Steve. Also Gail's article does indicate CPAC's concerns with the volume of groundwater being proposed for extraction and treatment. To date what hasn't been raised is the hugely larger quantities of somewhat treated groundwater being proposed for discharge to the Canagagigue Creek. At the moment there is a limit on those volumes and for good reason. As mentioned recently the Work Plans are being done privately and CPAC will have little or no chance to peruse or comment on them. Doubtless this will not deter Chemtura and the M.O.E., down the road, from claiming that they consulted with the public on these changes.

Gail Martin's Editorial clarifys some of the reasons why there is mistrust and skepticism of Chemtura. It includes alleged reasons for Chemtura's long term off-site pumping failures. Stating they are due to Ammonia Treatment issues is a convenient excuse for Chemtura. There are literally dozens of mechanical breakdowns, maintenance shutdowns and a host of other issues involved. Overall however Gail is optimistic that Chemtura have seen the light and are moving forward. Yours truly however has seen this before; always followed by more nonsense and backsliding. Chemtura are merely buying time once again. They are running out the clock both on Woolwich Council and CPAC (<2yrs) as well as on the lifespan of their critics.

Thursday, November 8, 2012



Where will it end? How far will they go before they throw in the towel and tell the public the truth? We knew that Uniroyal/Chemtura's dissolved contaminants had flowed far and wide. Through the sixties and seventies the Canagagigue Creek was dead courtesy of Uniroyal. In 1989 both the north and south wellfield were contaminated with Uniroyal's NDMA plus more. UPAC & CPAC citizens advisory committees were told that while Uniroyal/Chemtura was forever contaminated and could only be hydraulically contained; the rest of Elmira only had dissolved contaminants flowing in the aquifers which could be cleaned up by 2028.

Slowly the truth is emerging as the local municipal politics have finally changed. The CPAC housecleaning by the new Woolwich Council has lifted the curtain. There are free phase DNAPLS 100 feet below ground by the Howard St. water tower. Chemtura's consultants with help from their co-conspirators the M.O.E. have published ridiculous drivel and nonsense in trying to deny it. Meanwhile just recently the young CPAC have discovered documents written by two hydrogeologists in which they express their opinions that Uniroyal/Chemtura's free phase DNAPL has flowed off site onto their neighbours property. Although these opinions were written six years ago only last week does there seem to be any attempt to deal with these off-site sources located on the Yara/Nutrite property. It certainly clarifys for me why Uniroyal had a hands off policy towards Nutrite's Ammonia contamination for so long. Afterall how do you complain to your neighbour about his kids bicycle on your front lawn when you have a tractor trailer parked on his back lawn?

It's a bit of a leap distance wise from Yara to the old Varnicolor site on Union St. and then 150 yards further west to OW57-32R by the water tower. I had figured that Borg Textiles or Varnicolor were more likely candidates but as more data appears I'm not so sure. It now seems as if Uniroyal/Chemtura contaminants have percolated into the ground at Sulco Chemicals which is one step closer to Varnicolor. Of course only a few months back I had asked Chemtura at a public CPAC meeting how the soil at depth at Yara/Nutrite could be so heavily contaminated with Chlorobenzene and NDMA. The answer I was given didn't make much sense then and certainly less so now. I was told that contaminants from Chemtura's supposedly long hydraulically contained groundwater had diffused into the aquifer and aquitards beneath Yara. The latest information is in regards to both groundwater and soil results on the Sulco property.

What is also interesting about Sulco is that the Region of Waterloo owns property between Chemtura and Sulco; namely the Elmira Sewage Treatment plant. Isn't that interesting? Now looking at a map, maybe Chemtura's DNAPL and more flowed west to Yara and then made a ninety degree turn south onto Sulco. Or maybe it flowed fairly directly under the Region of Waterloo's STP onto Sulco's property. The plot is constantly thickening. What has been a constant is the blatant untruthfulness doled out to the public who by the way are paying 50% of the off-site cleanup. If as it now appears, Uniroyal/Chemtura have discharged DNAPLS onto one, two, three or four of their neighbours' properties it becomes even more obvious that their so called pump & treat of the Elmira Aquifers was a sham from the start. A sham in which a number of our governments aided and abetted them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It has been suggested to me by both friends and supporters as well as by the guilty parties that I should be more moderate. Moderate in tone and language. It's not necessary for example to call a person a contemptible, disgusting liar when you could otherwise suggest that they are factually challenged or sufferring from fictitious disorder syndrome. I recognize the well meaning intent of the first group and often do moderate my language in response. At other times I truly believe that bluntness is required. It is a balancing act.

Where are we headed? The unholy triangle of MOE/Chemtura/CRA have appropriately caved in to the community's demands via their CPAC representatives. Just for the record, yes CPAC are appointees of Woolwich Council in a horribly flawed public consultation process. Yes both Ken Driedger of the former (old) CPAC and I; together appealed this method of determining Chemtura Public Advisory Committee citizen representatives over a year ago. The process for appeal stunk as we had to go to the Ontario M.O.E.. They turned us down then but I'll bet right about now they would like to do something about the new Woolwich Council's overall proclivity to appoint honest, intelligent, unbiased people.

Why did the unholy triangle cave? They have been publicly called out by the community's representatives. Their beyond idiotic, pretend "cleanup" has been called into question. The CPAC and Woolwich Council Resolution was a vote of NO CONFIDENCE. They had to do something to stop the credibility bleeding. These promises for an enhanced "cleanup" are to relieve the pressure upon them.

The old CPAC headed both informally and improperly by Pat & Susan was under control and not rocking the boat. Pat, the politician, especially was thrilled to have elevated the discourse to the point of mutual superficial respect and courtesy. Nothing via the cleanup would be achieved but at least there would be minimal friction and animosity. That was her goal plus launching a run for the Mayoralty down the road.

It is absolutely amazing how many times authority figures can lie to citizens, look them in the eye and say we've changed. "Honest this is the real deal". It's similarily amazing how many times those same citizens will give the authorities another chance, well beyond any reasonable limits. Such is human nature and I'm just as vulnerable as the next one. So is the newest incarnation of a cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers the real deal? Have the very same parties who have deceived, misled, deflected, manipulated, stone walled, bafflegabbed and promoted the most blatant junk science possible; come to their senses? Have they found the path of righteousness? It's absolutely possible. My colleague and friend Rich Clausi, of the huge mathematical bent, might try to quantify that possibility. My suggestion is that it's at least a one in a million possibilty. His might well be different. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


The above title comes from a former environmental colleague in describing Conestoga Rover's psuedo science. As recently as this morning I was discussing the hypocrisy of anyone suggesting that the young CPAC were not scientifically rigorous. Above and beyond two environmental professionals on CPAC is the fact that both CRA and the M.O.E. are in no position to throw stones on that matter. Their most recent efforts regarding free phase DNAPL at OW57-32R would be funny if they weren't so pathetic. The "oopsy" defence is shared by both (inadvertent oil spill) and the M.O.E. literally have pulled acetone as a co-solvent to chlorobenzene in groundwater; out of thin air without any backup or references whatsoever.

Another example would be CRA's suggestion that there is a "relic" plume at OW60 that they are possibly going after with chemical oxidation. This "relic" plume is just about as scientifically rigorous as their "phantom mound" at CH44 (Yara) eight years ago. CRA used this non-existent, by their own admission, hydraulic high or mound as "proof" that their sub par on-site pumping was containing contaminants on site. Then they literally tried to sneak the disappearance of the "phantom mound" by CPAC.

Further contemptible behaviour by Chemtura/CRA/M.O.E abounds. This would include on last week's handout by CRA, Figure ES.1, the June 21, 2000 Amending Order to the Nov.4, 1991 Control Order. This Amending order was passed surrepticiously first and then discussion on it and Optimization began at CPAC AFTER it was a done deal. Secondly Chemtura and the M.O.E. on the same Figure have once again "forgotten" to include the October 7, 1991 Settlement Agreement aka "Sweetheart Deal".

In-Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) may be an excellent form of remediation for Elmira. However we will never know as that would require honest public consultaion ahead of time. Chemtura and the M.O.E. are masters of subterfuge, manipulation and blatant lying. Chances of this changing appear slim.

Chair Dan Holt had an excellent question which Steve Quigley of CRA stickhandled around. Dan asked how they are going to sucessfully increase their off-site target pumping by 300% when they can't achieve their current targets most of the time. Vivienne asked the M.O.E. if they would do independent monitoring or just use CRA's data. She also asked if they would keep a closer eye on Chemtura than they have been doing. George Karlos of the Ministry stickhandled around that one.

There was brief discussion around downstream testing in the Canagagigue for Dioxins and DDT. Mark Bauman and others are keen on it although I just see it being used as a red herring by the M.O.E. to deflect attention away from other issues. Honest, scientific and rigorous testing is one thing. The M.O.E.'s usual crap is not.

Dan Holt raised a question about groundwater testing on Varnicolor Chemical's former Lot 91. The M.O.E. as usual are keeping their cards close to their chest about sharing information. Under formal M.O.E. rules regarding showering public consultative bodies with the mushroom treatment; information contrary to the M.O.E.'s public position must be kept under wraps.

Ron Campbell advised that the M.O.E.'s Limitation Clause in their reports is giving SWAT (soil, water, air, technology) and CPAC great difficulty. It essentially undermines all confidence in M.O.E. reports.

Sebastian raised funding issues for CPAC and was supported by David Marks and Ron Campbell. Josef of Chemtura was unhelpful on the matter. Eric Hodgins of the Region of Waterloo advised that they are hiring Wilf Ruland, former consultant to APTE and CPAC for technical advice on the five year review just done by CRA. I believe that Eric favours Wilf because Wilf is a team player and fights for the brand. I do not favour Wilf and have so advised CPAC.

Overall last Thursday's CPAC meeting shone a light on the hypocrisy of CRA/Chemtura/M.O.E.. It shone a light upon the young CPAC being on the right track. It shone a light upon the lack of credibility of CRA/Chemtura/M.O.E.. At least two of those three parties are currently whining and crying that they don't like the attitude and tone at CPAC. They had many years with the old CPAC whereby they could shovel their bullshit and CPAC would politely ask for more. Those days are over. Man up and take your appropriate lumps or feel free to go home to your Mommys.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Lying, desperate people with their backs to the wall will say or do anything. The question is who put them into that position? The answer is everybody! Uniroyal/Chemtura were enabled by three levels of government to pull the wool over citizens' eyes. Woolwich Township have stepped off that merry go round and the Region of Waterloo also appear to be having second thoughts about their support for a losing cause.

We were told last Thursday night that CRA/Chemtura would be tripling the volume of off-site pumping and treating of groundwater. I've now read the over twenty-five pages of CRA's handout and so far I've not seen that triple figure anywhere. What I've seen are a bunch of drivel about "dynamic" relocation of this well and "dynamic" relocation of that one. I've also seen suggestions that some of the groundwater extracted by the off-site wells won't require treatment prior to discharge to the Canagagigue Creek. Really? Then why are you pumping it in the first place? Finally there are suggestions that Hydrofracturing could be used in order to increase the exposure of contaminants to chemical oxidation (ISCO). Hydrofracturing is a very controversial practice used in the oil industry to increase extraction of petroleum.

Then we come to In-Situ Chemical Oxidation or ISCO. Again according to these CRA handouts it is but one of two suggested Scenarios. Maybe they will and maybe they won't. Furthermore despite CRA's claims that everything is under control and they know what they are doing; in fact nothing could be further from the truth. With their client's credibility falling faster than their new Public Relations firm (Sussex) can possibly slow; CRA are throwing out various "plans" and enhancements that are no more than words to them. They do not have Work Plans ready and in fact are going to allegedly introduce them on November 30/12, the day AFTER the next public CPAC meeting as well as December 15/12. How much scrutiny of them will be possible? Just about as much as Chemtura want which is nil.

Chemtura's groundwater models and computer driven modelling are nothing more than high tech smoke screens. Take any model you want, determine the outcome you want, and then plug in various numbers, assumptions and scenarios until you get exactly what you want. Their assumptions have always been inaccurate including that they have full hydraulic containment, in all aquifers on site. Their deceptive and misleading Optimization Plan allowed on-site contamination to leave the north-west area of the site, supposedly only in the Municipal Upper Aquifer. Well it's leaving in both the Municipal Upper and Municipal Lower and now supposedly they are going to address it on the Yara site on their south-west corner. Another false assumption they are still hiding behind is that there are no significant off-site source areas. Well their semi proposed ISCO west of their site is to address a decades old NDMA source area near OW60, possibly from the old Shirt Factory on Park Ave.. Yara/Nutrite is an off-site source area as is either Varnicolor or Borg Textiles, possibly even both of them. Finally we have an off-site source area by Sanyo Canada (well CH38), also NDMA.

My guess is that all parties are so far down the road of deception that they feel there is no face saving turnaround. Why come clean now? Keep up the facade, pretend to be responding to the public, bullshit and bafflegab, promise anything and run out the clock. Bill Bardswick of the M.O.E. advised CPAC that there are no consequences for Chemtura failing to restore the Elmira Aquifers to drinking water by 2028. One of my concerns now is that they are so desperate and so stupid that they will try anything. For them it's not about reality or sucess; it's about the appearance of sucess or the appearance of failure. Maybe the endgame is no more than a declaration that the Aquifers are fine but golly gee the Region of Waterloo aren't prepared to use them for public consumption. Rest assurred, people who think they are smarter than the rest of us, always have another story ready.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


BBB Courtesy YWC

Currently we are up to six documents dealing with or relevant to the probable DNAPLS found at OW57-32R by the Elmira Howards St. water tower in 1998. The dates of these are:

May 1998
June 1998
June 2012
August 29, 2012
September 26, 2012
October 31, 2012 There is a seventh document which we have never been
provided and that would be the Peritus Environmental document
of March 2012.

Generally these documents are inconsistent both within themselves and with each other. Conestoga Rovers are responsible for May & June 1998 as well as June 2012, August 29/12 and September 26/12. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment can take discredit for the October 31/12 document.

In May 1998 CRA give us technical reasons why they believe it could be free phase DNAPL 100 feet below ground at the bottom of the Municipal Aquifer against the Municipal Aquitard. In June 1998 they drop one of the pieces of evidence (odours) from the mix and only address one of the remaining namely an iridescent sheen. Allegedly dissolved Chlorobenzene caused the sheen which is nonsense. Their report is riddled with typographical as well as technical errors including petroleum hydrocarbon contamination thousands of times higher than the figures they publish.

In the June 2012 Progress Report CRA advises that Peritus Environmental detected Chlorobenzene and petroleum hydrocarbons in nearby well CH70D in the Municipal Lower Aquifer. I pointed this out at the July public CPAC meeting. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura takes verbal dispute with the data which his own consultant (CRA) has written about and confirmed with their own testing.

On August 29/12 CRA produce a Memorandum which allegedly proves themselves wrong twice, namely in May and June 1998. Now they say there isn't free phase DNAPL but the iridescent sheen was caused by an "oopsy". Some unknown character allegedly spilled a petroleum hydrocarbon into the mud recirculation tank causing the sheen. No mention is made of most of the other evidence of DNAPLS. They also inaccurately claim that there is no evidence of other sources of chlorobenzene other than Chemtura and inaccurately claim that petroleum hydrocarbons have not been found in nearby wells. These petroleum hydrocarbons are what routinely produce iridescent sheens on water.

On September 26/12 CRA produce a document alleging that because GC/MS is superior to GC-FID chemical analysis, therefore BOTH they and Peritus Environmental were in error in detecting BOTH Chlorobenzene and petroleum hydrocarbons in well CH70D a few months earlier. One thing I agree with is that CRA do indeed make lots of errors. This document is inconsistent within the text in regards to stating that yes there are volatile organics found namely BTEX chemicals which are petroleum hydrocarbons and then turning around and saying that Chlorobenzene is the only compound found. Further the chromatographs included also clearly indicate BOTH Chlorobenzene and petroleum hydrocarbons present.

Finally we get to the M.O.E.'s (Jaimie Connolly) October 31/12 two page letter. It agrees with CRA's "oopsy" defence regarding the iridescent sheen but ignores virtually all the other factors and evidence except the elevated Chlorobenzene groundwater concentrations. No mention of odours, stained soil cuttings, petroleum hydrocarbons, location at the bottom of the Municipal aquifer etc.. What kind of scientific document picks and chooses which evidence to address and which to ignore virtually to the point of not even acknowledging its' existence? Jaimie claims with virtually zero technical references , backup or literature that acetone increases the solubility of Chlorobenzene and that acetone readily degrades in groundwater. He also claims there is no evidence of other sources of Chlorobenzene nearby which I have disproven via both Canviro and Golder Reports and more of Chlorobenzene being discovered in Woolwich storm drains running between Borg Textiles and Varnicolor Chemical.

Tests undertaken by CRA several years back attempted to prove that acetone could act as a co-solvent with MBT (mercaptobenzothiazole) and thus increase it's solubility. MBT similar to Dioxins and DDT, while less hydrophobic, nevertheless has a very low solubility and is allegedly a solid at aquifer temperatures. These tests were problematic with MBT and were NOT taken with Chlorobenzene yet Jaimie attempts to rely on them for backing.

Simply put Jaimie and the M.O.E.s position is ridiculous. They are attempting to back the position of Conestoga Rovers who readily admit a number of their own positions have been wrong. These documents are illogical, inconsistent and unscientific. As far as I am concerned these six documents (& 1 missing one) actually support the probability of free phase DNAPL being found at OW57-32R. CRA's own plume maps over a period of years show elevated Chlorobenzene concentrations present at that location in both the Municipal Upper and Lower Aquifers. The serious attempt by all guilty parties to bury this issue forever also reflect very badly on their credibility. Finally Eric Hodgins of the Region of Waterloo, under pressure made an interesting comment. We don't need to look for off-site DNAPLS. The more we pump and shrink the plumes, the more obvious off-site source areas will become. THEN we'll go after them. Thank you Eric Hodgins , RMOW, for being the first to speak honestly to the public.

Friday, November 2, 2012



Bless you good friends. Dr. Henry Regier is the first person I ever heard refer to the professional groups involved with running and operation of our drinking water systems, as the iron triangle. I imagine this also refers to the iron rings that professional engineers wear. Regardless the Senior Hydrogeologist at the Ministry of the Environment, the head of the Region of Waterloo's Water Resources Division and P.Eng Steve Quigley of Conestoga Rovers are all out there together supporting each other. And yes truth once more is sacrificed upon the alter of superiority, professionalism and perfection. Clearly the public are mere annoying gnats to be tolerated at best and if necessary discredited and ganged up upon.

One more good friend to the rescue last night. I was astounded at last night's turnout for the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting. CRA brought reinforcements as did the M.O.E.. Steve M., George K., Bill B., Jaimie Connolly, Jackie L. represented the M.O.E.. Eric Hodgins from the Region of Waterloo was present. As usual we had Josef Crybaby and Dwighte E. with Jeff M.. My count was eleven senior and experienced professionals against six young CPAC and two grizzled veterans namely Rich Clausi and myself.

And CPAC kicked their butts! CPAC members Dan, David, Ron, Vivienne, Sebastian were honest, straightforward and forceful. Oh yes Mark Bauman was there as well. The funniest line of the night was his as he claimed that we should all trust the M.O.E.. As it came from the least experienced, least senior CPAC member, it was very poignant and sweet. The three guilty parties Chemtura, CRA and the M.O.E. are hurting. The CPAC Resolution of months ago has taken the ground out from under their pretend cleanup. The old CPAC were wrapped around their little fingers. The young CPAC know the score and are not intimidated by a bunch of yahoos riding their credentials.

Here is where these folks still won't fly straight. Steve Quigley of CRA announced a major turnaround in the "cleanup" of the Elmira Aquifers. Twenty-three years after shutting down the two wellfields and after years of killing trees for writing "scenarios" and self congratulatory reports, they've backed down. This CPAC & SWAT (Henry, Richard and I) have publicly called them out. In the CPAC Resolution, which was endorsed by Woolwich Council; the provincial government, the Environment Minister, Regional government, the media and the public have been told the truth about the pretend cleanup by 2028. Chemtura, their consultants and the M.O.E. no longer are the only team on the field. And boy have they blinked!. They have proposed TRIPLING the amount of off-site pumping and treating. They are also going to go after two off-site contaminated areas for source removal/destruction.

The two areas have long been obvious off-site sources. They include the one that I've pointed out publicly for several years now which is west of the Chemtura site. It extends from nearly Union St. to five blocks further west. NDMA has long been permitted to contaminate the Municipal Aquifer in this area with no hydraulic containment in sight. If I had to guess I wouldn't be surprised if the old Shirt Factory decades ago was the source. The second off-site location is Yara/Nutrite. For ten years Uniroyal/Chemtura pretended they were the only source. Finally they threw in the towel and went after Nutrite for Ammonia contamination allegedly. Well the Ammonia is under control through a shallow pump and treat system at Yara/Nutrite so what's the problem? The problem is that Chemtura have free of charge "enriched" Yara's property with a number of chemicals. The most obvious one, at incredible solubility concentrations, is MBT (Mercaptobenzothiazole).

Make no mistake this is a major step forward by Chemtura and their partners in pollution, the Ontario M.O.E. ISCO or In Situ Chemical Oxidation is the source removal/destruction method planned. It's been used as close by as Cambridge (Bishop St. community). To date I don't know how it is suceeding. I do know that six years ago I suggested it be considered at Chemtura during a public CPAC meeting (April 24, 2006). Jaimie Connolly of the M.O.E. was extremely lukewarm to the idea at that meeting and it went nowhere, courtesy of everybody.

Credit goes partly to the new Woolwich Council and their wise idea to dump, oops replace, the old, tired, co-opted? CPAC. Major credit goes to the young CPAC namely Chair Dr. Dan Holt, SWAT Chair Ron Campbell, Vivienne Delaney, Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, David Marks and Mark Bauman. Chemtura, CRA and the M.O.E. are in major face saving mode right now. Bill Bardswick, Director of West Central M.O.E., who extinguished himself with his performance in Cambridge twenty years ago; claimed last night that these upgrades were "fine tuning" and merely refinements. When I pointed out to the meeting that the promises made were huge and not "fine tuning", Mr. Bardswick nearly went postal on me. O.K. boys and girls of CRA, Chemtura & M.O.E.. Good for you. You are nice. You're starting to catch on. I like you. Now lets see if you deliver on your promises. More to come in the next few days regarding last night's gamechanger.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


The expression coined a few decades back was that the government regulaters had been "captured" by the alleged regulated industries. A prime recent example would be XL Foods out in Alberta. Government inspectors were relying on data sent them by this meat packing plant to determine compliance with health and safety regulations. We all know how that worked out with the E-Coli crisis.

I'm going to quote the last four sentences in an Ontario Ministry of the Environment document I received (and dated) yesterday.


The purpose of the preceding review is to provide advice to the Ministry of the Environment regarding subsurface conditions based on a review of the information provided in the above referenced documents. The conclusions, opinions and recommendations of the reviewer are based on information provided by others.The Ministry cannot guarantee that the information that has been provided by others is accurate or complete. A lack of specific comments by the reviewer is not to be construed as endorsing the contant or views expressed in the reviewed material.

The "...provided by others..." above refers to Conestoga Rovers (CRA), long time consultants to Chemtura in Elmira. "The Ministry cannot guarantee that the information that has been provided by others (CRA) is accurate or complete.".

Funny but I thought that was exactly what you (M.O.E.) had been asked to do; namely verify or confirm the accuracy and completeness of CRA's August 29, 2012 Memorandum. The two page "Review of potential DNAPL occurrence at OW57-32R" was written by Jaimie Connelly, Senior Hydrogeologist to the Ontario M.O.E.. His entire Review plus conclusions & opinions is based on information provided by CRA and yet he can not guarantee that that information provided by CRA is accurate or complete. Therefore his Review is meaningless. His Review is inherently moot. The Ontario M.O.E. are moot. The entire Elmira "cleanup" is moot.

Do us a favour M.O.E and go away. You are as useless as tits on a bull.