Thursday, February 28, 2013


Unpaid CPAC volunteers will again be spending an evening doing their utmost to prod and push a corporate giant (Chemtura) into doing the right thing, environmentally. Who knows, perhaps if they receive their *Responsible Care verification (as expected) from the Chemistry Industry Assoc'n of Canada (CIAC); they will loosen the purse strings as well as their mindsets and become more flexible and reasonable.

On tonite's Agenda, under 6.1.1 the Soil, Water, Air & Technology sub-committee (SWAT) will briefly present comments concerning Chemtura's updated groundwater modelling report. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment are scheduled to discuss results of downstream monitoring from Chemtura, in the Canagagigue Creek. Unless the M.O.E. are simply updating us as to the status of this study; we will once again be in the position of not having seen the data prior to its' discussion at CPAC. Chemtura under 6.3 on the Aganeda will discuss their Community Outreach Program for 2012 as well as their plans for 2013. Last but not least they will present the results from their 6 person *Responsible Care verification team. This 6 person "team" consists of but one member of our current public advisory committee.

The current CPAC have performed miracles in regards to cutting through red herrings, techno babble, intransigence and benign neglect from the Ontario M.O.E.. I predict a renewed energy and focus in this their second half of their mandate. They will continue to call a spade a spade, will continue to treat Chemtura, CRA and the M.O.E. with courtesy and respect that they don't deserve and will attempt to expand the general public's understanding of the forces undermining a legitimate cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers by 2028.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


As I've been indicating for several months now Chemtura have greatly improved their off-site pumping rates. Once again for January all five of these wells have achieved their computer modelled pumping rates. One of the on-site wells (PW5) missed its' mark only slightly namely 1.9 litres per second versus the modelled 2.0 l/sec. Even with that the overall on-site pumping exceeded its' modelled rates of 5.2 l/sec. Overall again I would have to say that on and off site groundwater pumping are under control. Now if Chemtura/CRA can just maintain that for the duration unlike in the past.

This monthly Progress Report does not give us any new groundwater elevation data with which we can judge on-site hydraulic containment. I believe that these reductions in past mandatory reporting were with the blessing/consent of the past Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). I warned them at the time that giving concessions or agreeing to them from the M.O.E. was not CPAC's business. From the volume of on-site pumping at PW4 & PW5 it is likely that the Municipal Upper Aquifer (MU)is reasonably well contained. The Upper Aquifer (UA)which naturally discharges to the Canagagigue Creek gave me some concerns last month and I would like to have seen how it is faring this month.

Table C.2 continues with small detections in the surface water of Canagagigue Creek of the usual three suspects namely NDMA, NMOR (nitrosomorpholine) and Toluene. Conestoga Rovers suggest that these are not statistically significant. Unlike them I won't play with words. These ongoing detections whereby the arithmetic mean of the samples is higher downstream on the site than upstream, indicates continuous discharges of these chemicals via groundwater into the creek.

I believe that the current CPAC have added these monthly Progress Reports to the Agenda for tomorrow evening. I will most likely ask Chemtura for a clarification in regards to statistically significant versus arithmetic means being consistently higher for three chemicals downstream.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


The following information is taken from the Stop The Stink website. There will be a Community Liason Committee (CLC) meeting two weeks from today namely Tuesday March 12, 2013 at Lions Hall , 40 South St. W. Elmira at 7 pm.. The Agenda is on the Stop the Stink website. One of the Agenda items is the anticipated construction schedule. According to the write up this meeting is open to the public and I urge any and all to attend. It is always important for proponents of controversial projects to understand that community concerns do not disappear the day after the M.O.E., OMB etc. make their decisions.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Ombud clears Woolwich". There is probably at least a pyhrric victory here for Woolwich Council. A citizen complained about an in camera meeting held last November in which Woolwich Councillors voted to direct staff to settle with two gravel companies appealing to the Ontario Municipal Board. The citizen felt that the in camera meeting violated the municipal act. Indeed there have been a number of municipalities in Ontario over the years who have badly abused that act by holding in camera meetings more to avoid political fallout than anything else. Ontario's Ombudsman however seems quite confident that this particular case involving Woolwich Council was not in contravention of the act. That being said the Ombudsman did throw a bone to the complainant if you will by suggesting that in future Council should better describe the specifics of their in camera meeting, prior to holding it.

This complaint in my opinion was credible as was the Ombudsman's decision. That being said the Ombudsman was strictly ruling on the propriety of the in camera meeting. His decision is irrelevant in regards to Council's about face on the recycling of asphalt and concrete at this site. Passing a Motion in Council to prohibit recycling at this pit and then negotiating away your own prior Council decision will never sit well with the local citizens nor should it.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Flooding in local watershed becoming more unpredictable". The article is essentially suggesting that climate change has altered the timing of usual spring runoff flooding into a year round proposition. "...sudden thaws in winter, heavy runoff in spring, severe thunderstorms in summer and tropical storms in the fall,..." . While accurate about increased risks and flooding in the Grand River watershed nevertheless this article has missed a major point . One hundred years ago we did not have massive areas of Waterloo Region covered with concrete and asphalt. Think about all the sewers and manholes you see in our towns and cities. Instead of that water percolating slowly into the ground and eventually slowly discharging into surface bodies such as creeks and rivers via groundwater; instead the water flows directly by pipe to the nearest surface water body. Similarily if you live in the country watch the edges of fields and the ditches along them after a rainfall. It is absolutely amazing how many fields are tiled for the purpose of rapidly draining the soil and discharging it to ditches leading into creeks and rivers. My assumption is that tiled fields can be worked much earlier in the spring if they aren't a muddy mess . Obviously later in the summer in the middle of a drought the fields will also become arid much more quickly.

I have two predictions. Eventually cities and regions, perhaps in twenty years, maybe longer, will start to remove old asphalt and concrete from inner city abandoned areas in order to promote percolation of water into the subsurface. Secondly as our weather becomes drier watch farmers start to remove tiles from their fields in order to hold more rainwater and snowmelt on them.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Yesterday's Elmira Independent page 17 carrys a Letter to the Editor from Ron Campbell a local resident and CPAC member. The headline of the Letter is "CPAC is accomplishing a great deal". Ron's basic message is that the January 31/12 Editorial by Gail Martin is inaccurate and irresponsible. Ron also subtly points out the fact that CPAC members are unpaid volunteers working on behalf of the community of Elmira. Not so subtly I will suggest that Gail's rant was incredibly inaccurate, unfair and counterproductive to all volunteers in our community. Yours truly posted here in the Advocate last January 31 in which I focused on the numerous, factual errors in Gail's Editorial. I didn't even mention them all because there were so many. I don't object to professionals occasionally losing their calmness and objectivity but I do object when the result is an inaccurate, downright uninformed rant that misrepresents the facts. Perhaps in future Gail shouldn't rely on her "facts" from uninformed persons with their own agenda.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Conestoga Rovers, long time consultants to Chemtura, produced their five year groundwater update last November. The title is "Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model Update". This two volume report is filled with technical data, Figures and Tables which is fascinating reading for those few of us so inclined. Here is the rub. Nearly a year ago the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) produced a formal CPAC Resolution . This Resolution categorically refuted the entire basis of Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment's (M.O.E.) alleged cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers. This unanimous Resolution was then endorsed unanimously by Woolwich Council. Yours truly has been in seventh heaven since those two groundbreaking, game changing events. This Resolution and endorsement have vindicated everything I've been saying for many years and which were a major part of the reason that the old Woolwich Council and the old CPAC kicked me off the advisory committee.

I have fully expected Chemtura during the last year to go on the offensive in an attempt to defend the technical basis of their cleanup which is pumping and treating of contaminated groundwater throughout Elmira. It hasn't happened. Yes they've gone on the offensive, as in very offensive, but not technically. They've engaged a public relations firm, they've redoubled their efforts to get verified under *Responsible Care, even to the point of demanding a Do Over when they've failed. They have even gone on the offensive with false allegations that the CPAC Chair breeched non existent confidentiality etc.. They've pressured CPAC to minimize and marginalize their biggest critic, again yours truly. Finally in November they produced their five year update. Zero mention of CPAC's Resolution promoting source removal both on and off the Chemtura site. Zero acknowledgement of the major difference of opinion between numerous independent experts and their bought and paid for experts. Not a single argument attacking CPAC's technical position. Chemtura through CRA are simply pretending that CPAC's game changing Resolution never happened. This is NOT engaging the community honestly. This is NOT abiding by the ethics of *Responsible Care. This situation merely compounds Chemtura's shame and will sully those companies who have truly embraced *Responsible Care as well as the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). Finally shame on each and every member of the verification team who voted in favour of giving Chemtura a verification they do not deserve.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


In a sense the above title is actually a left handed compliment to Chemtura. Afterall it suggests that they do have ethics. At this point in time I think they should take whatever they can get. All appearances seem to suggest that that is exactly what they are doing in regards to *Responsible Care verification. Last week here in the Advocate I posted about a study underway at McMaster University examining how *Responsible Care has affected Sulco here in Elmira. This study focuses of course on Sulco (Canada Colours) however in its' analysis it compares Sulco to their next door neighbour Chemtura. Terms like CSR or corporate social responsibility and ethics are used extensively. I will admit to being a little skeptical about the use of such terms while describing corporate behaviour in general. That being said from first hand local accounts as well as from this study, I am strongly reconsidering. Sulco seem to have embraced the letter of the rules, the ethics and seem genuine in their attempts to behave in a socially responsible fashion.

Chemtura have not. That is the conclusion after a little over four pages being dedicated to them in the eighteen page Draft distributed to interviewees last week. That being said this Draft indicates that Chemtura were verified for the first time in 2004/2005. I believe they were unsucessful (failed, incomplete etc.) in achieving verification three times before that. They failed again in 2011 after once having achieved verification. It is no exaggeration to say that Chemtura are leaders within the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). No other company has failed verifcation attempts as often as they have. P Topalovic on page 18 of his Draft suggests that the CIAC do not have significant sanctions for companies (like Chemtura) who repeatedly fail verifications.

A two page response to this Draft has been distributed by the CIAC. I was quite amazed at how candid the comments were in regards to Chemtura. While the CIAC were supportive , possibly defensive, of the *Responsible Care program, they were blunt in regards to Chemtura's position within *Responsible Care. They stated that Sulco are at one end of the spectrum (presumably the top) and Chemtura at the opposite end. I and CPAC, based upon their public comments at the last CPAC meeting, would be in agreement with that statement. Nevertheless the CIAC also make the case that society and the environment are better off with Chemtura within *Responsible care than without.

It is very obvious to me and other SWAT (soil, water, air, technology) team members as to what the decision of the verification team is based upon the extraordinarily fast turnaround time and comments of the CIAC. They are clearly defending what will be a locally unpopular decision. I expect that the only possible way they can make this fly is by having one of the two local members (out of 6 verification team members) do what she has been groomed to do ( hotels, meals, travel expenses etc., per diem???). That would be to support Chemtura in their moment of extreme need. Afterall exactly how many times can they appropriately fail verifcation without putting a stain upon the whole program? How embarassing would it be to them to possibly get the boot from *Responsible Care or the CIAC? All of this should come out when the public announcement is made by Chemtura presumably at the public CPAC meeting of Thursday February 28, 6 pm..

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Well according to the article in last week's Woolwich Observer titled "Breeding season, snow cover fuel increase in number of coyote sightings"; "coyotes have a tremendously positive impact on an area's biodiversity and ecological integrity". Who knew. That quote by the way is from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). I had always understood that a significant part of a coyote's diet was rodents as in mice, rats, shrews and voles.

While currently there is increased daytime activity of coyotes it has to do with their mating and breeding habits at this time of the year. Further reason for increased concerned calls to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is the amount of snow cover making it more difficult for their brown fur to blend in with the background. Coyotes have been in southern Ontario for about a century now and have generally been out of sight out of mind. Apparently as a species they are incredibly adaptable including if necessary living within city limits. Normal precautions with small pets as well as very small children are always a wise idea including not leaving your pets' food bowls outside where they could attract coyotes or other wildlife.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


This post is dedicated to my long suffering friends Josef, Jeff and Dwight of Chemtura Canada Inc.(Elmira). It is also dedicated to Bob of the CIAC. The title is exactly what they've been looking for, for the last few days on the Elmira Advocate. This I know because while Chemtura visit my Blog/website on average five days per week, the Chemistry Industry Assoc'n of Canada (CIAC) have only visited three times and the last two were yesterday and the day before. They are watching like hawks and not for particularily noble reasons in my opinion. The decision on *Responsible Care verification has been made, again. Recall it was made back in early December by the verification team which consisted of Dr. Dan Holt, former CPAC Chair Pat McLean and four others. That decision was no, ie. incomplete. Dr. Dan as the current CPAC Chair which is a committee of Woolwich Council, did his duty and reported by means of a Delegation to Woolwich Council on Tuesday December 11, 2012. I was present and reported his words here in the Advocate the next day namely Wednesday December 12, 2012. Chemtura went ballistic and launched their verbal assault on the CPAC Chair at the next Council meeting.

Therefore this latest meeting of the CIAC verification team was for purposes of a Do Over. Can you imagine a Do Over of the Super Bowl? How about a Do Over of the Stanley Cup? You get the idea. This latest result of the (Chemtura) verification is bogus, bogus and more bogus. The current CPAC while not naive have nevertheless been surprised by the level of venom thrown at them by Chemtura and some of the former CPAC members including Pat McLean. The current CPAC Chair and the other five members have gone out of their way to be professional, courteous and respectful to the former CPAC members. Recently Pat McLean has attended a CPAC public meeting for only the second time. Other former CPAC members have attended very occasionally and have always been treated well and the Chair has always recognized them when they had questions or comments to present. This is the nature of the current CPAC. They are nice, honest and strong individuals. They have always gone the extra mile to accomodate all parties and stakeholders and Chemtura have taken advantage. Hence this current Do Over.

Getting back to the "...not for particularily noble reasons..." from my first paragraph; Chemtura are playing a game. They publicly verbally assault Chair Dan Holt and accuse him of lying about the final decision. Gee funny about that. It's now been over two months since Chemtura's public allegation and not one of the other five verification members to date have publicly disputed Dan's statement or supported Chemtura's. Not that I don't have confidence that if it suits their purpose at least one of the five will eventually speak up, however at this point you'd have to ask why so late. What Chemtura are now doing is extracting a seemingly innocuous promise from the six verification team members including Dr. Dan; that they not reveal the Do Over verification decision until Chemtura make the announcement. Dan of course, while completely innocent of any misbehaviour, but with Chemtura's public allegations still stinging, went along with the rest. Chemtura have cleverly now put Dan in a difficult position. Witholding the decision from the public for only a couple of weeks say to the next evening CPAC meeting on Thursday February 28/13 doesn't seem like such a terrible thing. However down the line Chemtura could suggest to Dan that he had held secrets from the public. Secrets don't forget that they asked for just for a very short period of time.

Hence the master manipulaters are watching carefully. Has Dan told? At the past CPAC meeting Dwight of Chemtura blurted out an allegation that I had revealed information in the Advocate that was either confidential or that I shouldn't have had. Balderdash! Any information dealing with the public's air, water and soil is NOT confidential. This is precisely why I'll never be asked to be on Chemtura's *Responsible Care verification team. The good news is that the current CPAC and their Chair, unlike the former, know that their duty and responsibility is to the public as well as to each other. Why does Chemtura want to catch Dr. Dan doing his duty? They desperately want a new CPAC and a new Chair; that is one just like the old one they had. Chemtura as I've mentioned here earlier are looking for an exit strategy. They are desperately trying to paint the current CPAC as the bad guys. If they can pretend that the Chair fibs and breeches confidentiality then they can walk away while pointing fingers at the curent CPAC. Oh just for the record Josef, Jeff, Dwight and Bob: the title above refers to the December 2012 decision. By rights it should also refer to any subsequent ones.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Region fights for control over depth of gravel pits". I seriously doubt that there is an environmentalist or hydrogeologist out there who would deny the importance of protecting underground aquifers from being excavated and exposed to surface contaminants. We've all seen manmade lakes resulting from below water table extraction. The groundwater is pumped out while extraction is ongoing but afterwards the below water table holes slowly fill back up with groundwater forming small ponds and lakes. From this point on the gravel that had originally protected the groundwater by filtering out surface contaminants including agricultural runoff or even wildlife excrement is no longer there to do that job.

The Region of Waterloo while disappointing me on a number of environmental fronts nevertheless deserve credit for their efforts to protect groundwater from aggregate extraction. Their Official Plan limits the depth (below groundwater) that gravel pits may be allowed to excavate. Especially for a region so dependent upon groundwater, this is the right thing to do. Woolwich Township are also on board with the Region's attempts at "vertical zoning". At the moment there apparently is not a firm timetable as to when the Ontario Municipal Board will hear arguments concerning "vertical zoning".

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Well, well this is getting interesting. I was aware that there was an ongoing study of *Responsible Care underway in regards to Sulco Chemicals here in Elmira. The study is being done through McMaster University by P. & M. Topalovic and G.Krantzberg. As an interviewee I received by e-mail today the "Sulco RC Case Study-Final Draft for Review". A number of Sulco's (Canada Colors) corporate neighbours as well as many, many others have been interviewed for this study.

I downloaded both the eighteen page Draft Report as well as a five page questionnaire. As of this moment I have done no more than a quick scan through the report and of course was pleased to see references to Sulco's north-west neighbour, namely Chemtura Canada. As mentioned yesterday here in the Advocate, they had a big day yesterday with the verification team further discussing/debating whether to give Chemtura a pass ie. complete or not. I expect that we will all soon be informed of the result although the public advisory committee (CPAC) appointed by Woolwich Council have made their position crystal clear. Chemtura do not deserve verification and it will be a huge blemish upon the Chemistry Industry Assoc'n of Canada (CIAC) if they get it.

One co-founding member of the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team, namely Rich Clausi has been involved as a Sulco CAP member for many years. He has long advised me of the vast differences in corporate philosophy and attitude between Sulco and Chemtura. I look forward to studying this Draft Report carefully and then filling out the questionnaire. The formal title of this Report is "Responsible Care's Effectiveness in Promoting Sustainable Industrial Performance". The sub-title appears to be "Case Study Series in Sustainable Production and Distribution".

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Several years back, Chemtura Elmira linked their *Responsible care verification fortunes with those of Chemtura West Hill (Scarborough). We were given some vague reason as to why this was appropriate but as CPAC had no control (or say) in the matter it wasn't debated. Nevertheless yours truly figured out the real reason was simply one of dilution. First of all Chemtura Elmira would have verification team members from both West Hill and Elmira. Although we would have an idea of the legitimacy and honesty (or not) of Elmira members none of us would know anything about the West Hill members. In other words were they legitmate, local residents who were actively involved or simply folks chosen either at random and offerred an expenses paid trip here and there or even chosen specifically as ringers that the company could count on?

Years later and Chemtura has both sucessfully completed their verifcation as well as on some occasions failing to do so as they must reverify every three years. I have read some of the verification reports and always come away with forebodings. When Chemtura have failed (ie. incomplete), the "reasons" have focused on community outreach. This I found both odd and very vague. Nowhere did I see the most obvious reasons for their failure and that would be a lack of honest communications with their local stakeholders. At the moment the lines are very clearly drawn for the first time in decades. On one side are Chemtura, their consultants CRA and the Ontario M.O.E.. On the other are CPAC and Woolwich Council. The Region seem to be in a state of flux watching how this is going to shake out.

We have been advised in the past that Chemtura West Hill was a model corporate citizen. Never has CPAC at public CPAC meetings been advised of problems with the community of West Hill. Yours truly has been on Google of late and I have to say that I seriously doubt any of the folks who have posted on-line their complaints of odours and health issues and a lack of communication, have ever been invited to sit on Chemtura's verifcation team. Neither has CPAC been advised of a release of sulphuric acid mist back in 2010 within the West Hill community. Nor were we advised that it occurred immediately before the noon hour and children at a local school were outside. Finally we weren't advised that the warning siren didn't go off until an hour after the release. Last but not least we weren't advised that almost two months ago Chemtura West hill were fined $187,500 for this illegal discharge.

We were not advised by Chemtura. We were not advised by the Ontario M.O.E. who attend CPAC meetings. We were kept in the dark and given the mushroom treatment, as usual. Today is yet another *Responsible Care verification team meeting in Elmira. Chemtura and the CIAC (Chemistry Industry Assoc'n of Canada) want to give Chemtura Elmira verification along with West Hill. Neither remotely deserve it. If you google either "good neighbours campaign" or "Chemtura West Hill" and do some looking you will find the details of the information I've presented in the preceding paragraph. CPAC (Citizens/Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) oppose this verifcation from a position of knowledge. This knowledge has come from many sources including I would like to think from yours truly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Health Canada tweaks wind turbine study methods". As has been mentioned here in the Advocate previously; there has been a lack of professional studies and research to determine the effect and extent of wind turbines upon human health. Health Canada are attempting to remedy this void with a study scheduled to be completed by late 2014. "Turbine opponents contend that exposure to low-frequency noise and vibrations from wind turbines- in particular, inaudible infrasound- can lead to problems such as sleep disorders, headaches, depression, anxiety and even blood pressure changes.".

As far as I know to date we have no commercial, multi turbine wind farms in Woolwich, however they are getting closer and closer. There is one planned for just this side of Listowel ie. on Listowel's south-east corner. I also believe plans are in the works for a wind farm in Wellesley Township. As I said they are getting closer and closer and to date our provincial government have been extremely insensitive to renewable energy projects impacts on local residents. The obvious local example would be Woolwich Bio-En planned for Martin's Lane in Elmira.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this article "Region backs brownfield projects". It is primarily a puff piece written to make us all feel good about a bunch of long ago bought and paid for professional politicians, doing their jobs, as seen by various wealthy elites. It's all about externalizing of costs and without government aiding and abetting this theft of taxpayers dollars it could never happen. We are advised by Community Services Commissioner Rob Horne that there are hundreds of brownfield sites throughout Waterloo region. These brownfield sites are of course former industrial and manufacturing plants who shut down leaving their contamination behind them, mostly in the ground and groundwater. The crap they released to the air is long gone and enjoyed by millions over the ensuing decades.

One recent redevelopment would be the soon to be built homes between Margaret Ave. and St. Leger St. in Kitchener. This site was formerly Pannill Veneer and before that Breithaupt Leather. Now there's a good Kitchener name that most should recognize. Leather tanneries used all kinds of acids in their processes as well as solvents. Riley Tannery in Woburn Massachusetts was made famous by "A Civil Action" starring John Travolta. Trichloroethylene from surface lagoons got into the drinking water and caused fatal cancers mostly in young children. A number of members of the Breithaupt family graced our municipal and provincial political scene over the decades. The fact that the nearby Lancaster St. Wells in Kitchener have been shut down for years and years only to be refurbished and restarted AFTER the environmental cleanup at the old Breithaupt Leather, I'm sure is mere coincidence.

So we now have current regional councillors like Jim Wideman singing the praises of tax incentives to clean up and develop old contaminated industrial sites. Talk about turning a turkey into a peacock! These same politicians in some cases had no problem with industrial sites being abandoned by their owners. Granted it is mostly provincial legislation and a myriad of intentional loopholes that let these criminals walk away unscathed in the first place. Oh wait a minute. They aren't criminals if they and their friends have lobbied and bought their way into the corridors of power before they behave in what only appears to be a criminal fashion. In other words killing someone with a bat, knife or gun is illegal but killing them as in the Bishop St. community in Cambridge via vapour intrusion of toxic fumes is merely good business. Afterall those businesses in Cambridge saved millions of dollars in proper disposal costs by letting TCE and 1,1,1 TCA leak into the ground. Did these millions of dollars in disposal costs go into the community via increased wages or did they go into off shore retirement havens for the owners? Did a few owners literally walk away unscathed while hundreds of local families lost members to premature death and illness due to intentionally lax laws and corporate loopholes?

How dare the likes of lazy, professional bull shit artist politicians like Jim and Ken Seiling brag about these incentives paid for once again by the overburdened taxpayers, to make a few developers wealthy. Citizens have already paid with grossly damaged environments affecting air, water and soil. They have already paid with their health. They have paid with lost taxes on those long time abandoned contaminated sites. Now taxpayers once again will pay up front for the cleanups that should have been done decades ago and should have been done by the guilty parties and weren't. Clearly "polluter pays" is and always has been pure political theatre. Finally shame on the media who further promote this twisting of a sordid industry/government alliance into something it is not.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


In the ongoing spirit of openess and transparency CPAC (Citizens/Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) continue to hold their last Thursday of the month public meeting (28th) at 6 pm. as well as their orientation/education meeting prior to it. This month the public orientation/education meeting is on Tuesday the 19th. To date I don't believe they've firmly set the time although I expect either 8 or 9 am..

One of the items for discussion at the meeting of the 19th includes the Agenda for the meeting on the 28th. Likely items would be the In Situ off-site treatment work plan, Chemtura's ongoing and highly inappropriate attempted verification under *Responsible Care and the proposed name change of CPAC.

Also at the orientation meeting I would expect further discussion around Chemtura's recent bizarre and aggressive behaviour. For over twenty three years while assiduously avoiding doing the right things they've always worked very hard to appear to be doing them. In other words they've smiled in the face of criticism and adversity while carefully preparing a paper trail of psuedo scientific reports including endorsements from their partner in pollution, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. This behaviour has dramatically changed with their attack on the CPAC Chair at a public Council meeting in December as well as their defence of it at the last public CPAC meeting on January 28/13.

It was as expressed here in the Advocate and still is my opinion that Chemtura and fellow travellors are preparing their exit strategy. They are like the schoolyard bully who no longer is constantly winning and therefore decides to pick up his marbles and go home. They've had CPAC, except for the last two years, exactly where they want them. They have sucessfully induced and manipulalated core members of the old in the direction they wanted and most importantly away from areas they'd rather ignore. Chemtura and their public relations professionals however want it both ways. They want to leave CPAC while doing their best to blame CPAC for their leaving. As CPAC members and Chair have always treated Chemtura/CRA/MOE with far more courtesy and respect than they deserve; it's made it difficult for Chemtura. Thus Chemtura have decided to publicly provoke a fight. They will continue to make personal attacks with rumour, innuendo and falsehoods. CPAC are human and at the very least will deny thus giving Chemtura more fuel with which to build their self serving, cowardly goals. My advice to CPAC is straightforward. Deny blatant falsehoods from Chemtura but you can't stop them from leaving if they so wish. In other words my opinion is good riddance to bad rubbish. Let them go but leave the door open in case they come to their senses again. They pulled similar crap back in 1998 and were gone for about a year and a half. I missed them for almost five minutes.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Today's Woolwich Observer (not on-line yet) has a Letter to the Editor from Victoria Lomax of Conestogo. While I totally agree with her comments regarding both a loss of habitat for wildlife and the quality of decades later rehabilitation; it is the sad truth that if the Ontario Municipal Board gives zero weight to the arguments, facts and research of human residents of the area; you can rest assurred that wildlife don't even make the top fifty concerns.

Ms. Lomax is congratulating the call for a legal challenge to the OMB decision, by local residents. She also points out a nearby comparison of gravel pit rehabilitation, namely the Wildwood Gravel Pit near Stratford. Currently the OMB process is heavily weighted and slanted in favour of money, developers and growth. I am sure that eventually we will see greater weighing of wildlife, natural environment and nearby residents. Unfortunately the history and nature of human beings is such that this will only occur when we are facing an imminent disaster whether climate change, air pollution or loss of food producing land. Politicians in particular are not leaders but followers. They will sincerely jump on the environmental bandwagon the day after 60% or more of the population say enough is enough.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record tells us what most of us already were pretty convinced of. The title is "Canada's environment protections lag behind resource development". Whether "...mining in the North, offshore drilling in the Atlantic and hydraulic fracturing in hundreds of thousands of shale gas wells springing up across the country.", our government are not keeping up environmentally. Similarily regulators are not adequately equipped "to deal with major oil spills or an expected 300% increase in tanker traffic off the West Coast.". These quotes come from a report produced by Scott Vaughan, Canada's Commissioner of the environment and sustainable development.

Further specific problems include two Atlantic offshore petroleum boards that are not ready to respond to major oil spills. The habitat of fragile ocean ecosystems are also at stake. Basically our federal government environmental regulators are being left in the dust of the mad dash towards resource development. Mr. Vaughan rightly believes there should be a cooresponding stepping up of environmental safeguards to offset the worst results of massive Canadian resource development.

It's not nice to understand that our federal environmental regulators are equally as far behind as our provincial ones.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


The Elmira Independent carried a Public Notice on January 24/13 "West Montrose Water Supply Class Environmental Assessment Notice of Completion". The preferred alternative appears to be connection of West Montrose by a pipeline to the Conestogo Plains Water Supply System. This is counterintuitive on a number of levels. Firstly there is a massive amount of water available in West Montrose whether from the Grand River, four current infiltration wells along the river or by drilling into deeper protected aquifers in the area.

The Public Notice advises that the Final report is on line at . Once you get there you have to look for water supply projects underway of which there are many in the Region. Keep looking and you will find West Montrose. So I figured I'd spend a few minutes looking things over and figure out how they concluded that water in Conestogo was the way to go. Well! 227 pages worth of report in total. I've just spent an hour and a half browsing through and believe me I could easily spend eight to twenty hours on this report figuring the ins and outs of the ranking system and how they end up in Conestogo for water for West Montrose. A couple of interesting things however. Allegedly West Montrose water suffers from both quantity and quality issues. Really! So what's new and different here? Yes it's river water somewhat naturally filtered by sand and gravel in the floodplain. This makes it GUDI or groundwater under direct influence of surface water. There will always be problems associated with that kind of source just as there is in the other Conestogo well system located by the Conestogo Golf Course and also GUDI.

My experience with "preferred alternatives" and reports allegedly weighing options is that they are all very subjective and usually the outcome is preordained. Somehow the authorities involved have already come to a decision and now they want to "prove" that it's the right one. Therefore they go through a convoluted list of scenarios and options supposedly objectively weighing all the factors. Most of the time the public are only given half of the facts because the authorities don't wish to alarm or panic the public. As a hypothetical example if there is increasing partially treated sewage coming down the Grand from upstream, the Region would prefer not to advise local citizens of that failure but instead would honestly state there are problems and then go through an elaborate process to fix the problem (ie. a new source) without being 100% forthcoming with the unwashed masses.

Will the hooking up of West Montrose to the Conestogo Plains System provide West Montrose citizens with better, more reliable water? Most likely. Are all the citizens of both communitys and nearby being given the whole unvarnished 100% accurate truth? Most unlikely.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


The above named report (work plan) was handed out to CPAC in late December by Conestoga Rovers, the authors, on behalf of Chemtura Canada. To date I have found a number of instances where the text discription of various Figures and Tables included is inaccurate. The first of these on page 3 I did verbally advise Jeff Merriman, Environmental Engineer for Chemtura about at last week's public CPAC meeting. He advised that he would look into it and contact CRA if corrections were needed. Unfortunately this is not remotely the first time that pretty glaring typos, transpositions and other technical errors have shown up in CRA's work. Even things like groundwater concentration lines have had glaring errors in the past whereby data points are located on the wrong side of the concentration lines. If yours truly the first time reading through a report can pick up on this stuff then it kind of begs the question as to who if anybody edits these reports prior to their public release. It also begs the question as to why the Ontario M.O.E. who receive copies aren't objecting to what are basically bush league errors. While I would suggest that the majority of these technical reports from CRA have more substantive problems including false premises and assumptions; nevertheless they should be picking up on these obvious and glaring errors. One logical reason as to why they aren't, could be that they simply aren't reading them, or they are reading them many months later and if nobody else has picked up on it, they feel better off leaving it unsaid. I do know that after two decades plus of reading nonsense of varying hues and colours from CRA, that honest, timely responses are in short supply. Normally Chemtura will simply ask to defer the questions to the next meeting while they confer further with CRA.

Regarding false premises and assumptions I would for this report include a couple of elephants in the room. CRA and Chemtura claim that the high concentrations centred around OW60, west of their site, are due to a relic plume which advanced towards the north wellfield back in the 70's and 80's only to retreat back southwards when the north wells were shut down. That is most probably absolute hooey which could readily easily be proven or disproven if CRA would include appropriate data in this report. They have not so far although they make incorrect references to where it is located. I am still looking for it.

The second elephant would be the long time high concentrations of NDMA centred around CH38 and further south at pumping well W3. So far no word as to why chemical oxidation is being used at OW60 and beside Chemtura on the Yara/Nutrite property but not further south. Even CRA's typical vagueness would be better than pretending there isn't an issue here.

Thirdly of course are the high chlorobenzene concentrations at OW57-32R beside pumping well W4, behind Varnicolor Chemical. Yes Chemtura/CRA finally addressed them last summer claiming DNAPL wasn't a factor. Their tortured and twisted logic combined with tepid support from the M.O.E. which included a Limitation clause on their report, did none of their credibility much good. Regardless they have a problem that reappears every time the pumping stops; from a few feet away. This area could also benefit from a dose of In Situ Chemical Oxidation.

All in all a typical CRA report.

Monday, February 4, 2013


First things first. Every single new residential development destroys either farmland or natural habitat for other species. Or trees and or ground and surface water quality due to residential runoff which includes salt, gas, oil, pesticides, fertilizers and on and on. Secondly NO ONE is into growth out of the goodness of their hearts. This especially includes governments who are merely puppets for monied interests who make even more money out of constantly expanding markets for goods and services. Do not believe that humanitarianism has anything to do with immigration. As far as natural birth rates go, my understanding is that they barely keep the population steady. Growth requires immigration and it's been ongoing and rising at least since the second world war. And it is damaging our environment, our ability to produce food, our health and the public's wallets. But certain small groups make lots of money from it and they have the ears and pockets of government.

With this background in mind the Region of Waterloo (and the province) through the Places to Grow Act of 2006 have decided to focus on infilling of cities to attempt to reduce urban sprawl. In other words more brownfields and fewer greenfields. While this doesn't do anything about ever expanding requirements for sewage and fresh water, it does reduce destruction of farmland , trees and habitat for other species. Recently the arbitrary and undemocratic Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) have thrown a curve ball at both the Region and the Places to Grow Act. The Region wanted to keep the opening up of new land for housing on the west side of Waterloo to 197 acres. Numerous developerstook the Region to the OMB and they sided with the developers and agreed to opening up 2,593 acres. The Region have responded by going to Divisional Court to overturn that ruling and at the same time by asking the OMB for a rehearing. Both these steps are highly unusual but the stakes are high. While I have often criticized the Region of Waterloo in regards to their coddling of industrial polluters and their propaganda about the quality of their tap water; nevertheless it needs to be said that they are apparently in the forefront of planning issues and serious attempts to limit urban sprawl. Hence environmental groups are backing the region's position and it would appear that the province through their 2006 legislation are as well. Perhaps the OMB simply misinterpreted their marching orders. These things do happen.

Saturday's Waterloo Region Record has this story titled "Region's legal battle over sprawl closely watched". Also Steve Kannon of the Woolwich Observer, on Saturday has this Editorial "Curtailing urban sprawl is a good idea on its own, no LRT needed".

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Today's Woolwich Observer has this story "Residents call for legal challenge of Jigs Hollow OMB decision". Citizens were back at Council this week seeking an appeal of the OMB decision particularily in regards to the recycling of asphalt and concrete on site. Yes this is the same recycling that was expressly denied by Council for the site, last June. Gordon Haywood and Jan Huissoon both advised Council of the risks with crystalline silica dust from concrete recycling as well as particulates from diesel exhust fumes. As well they mentioned the lack of baseline measures of either to be able to measure increases because of the pit. Woolwich Council through staff appeared to dispute those concerns suggesting that they will or have been addressed. I suggest that this pit and all its' issues including proponents reports that were found to be less than stellar, will come back to haunt Council. Due to the intense efforts of many local citizens, Council were very well informed of a myriad of problems that can be expected including health issues. Despite this, possibly in order to save a buck at the OMB, they caved. Some citizens are beginning to see a relationship between a constantly burgeoning staff, salaries and benefits with accompanying tax increases and yet no increase in services to the public. These services include the protection of our municipal government when our property and health are being put at risk for the financial benefit of others. It would of course not be just the current set of Councillors who have forgotten this duty but past ones as well.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Yesterday's Elmira Independent has a front page story which is titled "Responsible Care dispute continues at CPAC". Gail Martin has done a pretty good job in this more factual discription of last Monday evening's public CPAC meeting. This article spells out much of the details of the *Responsible Care program as well as the mechanics around appointing the verification team. Again as I had indicated here in previous days the company (Chemtura) approach the local community looking for reps to sit on this verification team. This of course is a huge failure of *Responsible Care in that how many of us ever get to pick our judges or jurors in any forum whatsoever? Apparently other companies are just as biased in that many of them do not have public advisory committees in place. Therefore the company can even more easily subject their handpicked reps to the mushroom treatment and they have no unbiased background information to overcome that. In Chemtura's case it is obvious that picking one member of CPAC out of six on the verification team is ridiculous and self-serving by Chemtura.

Just to be very clear. The young CPAC were appointed by Woolwich Council to represent Woolwich citizens for the purpose of restoring Elmira's groundwater by 2028. Woolwich Council did NOT reappoint any of the old CPAC to this committee. Yours truly who was initially appointed had advised the Township that there were two old CPAC members who I felt were appropriate candidates to the young (new) CPAC. Neither of them were named Pat or Susan. Neither of my two choices were appointed. The old CPAC after serious lobbying including private meetings with senior Township staff clearly understood that they were done on CPAC. They "resigned" and their reaction was and is one of nasty resentment, personal affront and actual personal confrontation of two young (new) CPAC members who were sincerely trying to be respectful and friendly. Make no mistake when Dwight Este of Chemtura suggested that "CPAC does not have an exclusive right " to represent the community on matters pertaining to Chemtura, he was being disingenuous. The young CPAC have one rep out of six on the verification team. The others are picked by either Chemtura or the CIAC (Chemistry Industry Assoc'n of Canada). This by anyone's definition is stacking your team to guarantee the result you want. Shame on Chemtura and especially after the vise-president of CIAC saw both CPAC members and the public's opposition to verification; there will be shame on the CIAC IF they verify Chemtura through their hand picked verification team.

A final thought on yesterday's Independent article and Editorial. The Editorial was bad and inaccurate. If you read it on-line please read my comment immediately beneath it. Gail Martin however has lifted the lid publicly on the elephant in the room. The only legitimately appointed citizens advisoy committee is being circumvented by Chemtura precisely because the young CPAC are honest and unbiased and hold Chemtura's feet to the fire. This is the proper job of CPAC. The old CPAC thought their job was to give and get. This included monitoring and testing concessions to the company in exchange for freebies, trips and appointments to national bodies for at least two of them. I've been publicly saying this for some time and now Gail Martin, Editor of the Independent has published legitimate concerns within the community about the behaviour of two former CPAC members. Thank you Gail.