Friday, June 28, 2013


Well sometimes you just don't know ahead of time. Last night's CPAC meeting turned out to be a barnburner. Oh and just to let everyone know the next meeting isn't until Thursday August 29, 2013.

My Delegation to CPAC consisted of a series of quotes from a February 1996 Report done by a Mr. Jaagumagi and a Mr. Townsend of the Ontario M.O.E.. Their report was on the findings they discovered while testing the Canagagigue Creek for Dioxins and DDT. All the quotes I read made it clear that the probable contaminant transport method to the creek was by solvent contaminated groundwater.

The revised CPAC Terms of Reference were discussed briefly as they are still a work in progress. Sebastian as usual raised the issue of CPAC's lack of support for Chemtura's scraping, capping and landscaping of their south-east corner, namely GP1 & GP2.

Jaimie Connolly of the M.O.E. gave his take on CRA's Groundwater Flow and Transport Model which is the revised plans for cleaning up the Elmira Aquifers. Amazing isn't it, but even the M.O.E. are now categorically admitting/confirming that the old modelling plans for pump and treat were totally inadequate and could not succeed by 2028. Jaimie overall supports CRA's plans while having numerous criticisms surrounding the capabilities of their model.

Mike Spencer of the M.O.E. responded to my severe criticism from the last CPAC meeting directed at his downstream report allegedly comparing 2012 results with those of 1995/96. I would say that a number of his comments made sense and that a big part of the problem was his communications. In his point form comments he was too brief and general and despite what he clarified for us and explained further; his written words were misleading. Originally I thought that was intentional but after his second appearance and explanations I am much less so inclined to believe that. I give him credit for returning and clearing up a few issues.

Jeff Merriman and myself got into a discussion around Head Differentials between monitoring pairs in and beside the south-west corner of the creek. I had posted yesterday here in the Advocate about shallow aquifer containment being suspect due to very low differences between the creek elevation and the nearby groundwater elevations. With hydraulic containment the groundwater levels need to be kept below the surface water levels to avoid discharge to the creek. Jeff was adamant that he and Chemtura are keeping on top of these levels and monitoring them on a daily basis to maintain containment of the shallow aquifer (UA1).

A Doug Smith of Conestoga Rovers (CRA) presented the work and study being done on the south-east corner (GP1 & 2) to satisfy the requirements of the GRCA. These requirements have to do with flood control, vegetation cover and maintaining a psuedo natural environment. The discussion rapidly turned to the lack of excavation/removal of Dioxins and DDT and Ron Campbell, Dr. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach and myself led the charge. Steve Quigley of CRA and Jeff Merriman of Chemtura led the defence. Basically DDT and Dioxins are still leaving the site according to the recent M.O.E. information and Chemtura were challenged to tell us if not from GP1 & 2 then where on their site were they coming from. At one point I got Mr. Smith to contradict himself in regards to whether Dioxins were denser than water and thus sinkers. My point was that they had easily descended downwards through the aquifer to greater depths than CRA had tested and most likely from there are moving via contaminated groundwater into the creek.

The M.O.E.'s refusal to push Chemtura to fully clean up their Dioxins and DDT on their site is both disappointing and shocking. This is a huge indictment of their mandate to allegedly clean up grossly contaminated sites.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the best show in town. That may be a tiny exaggeration but do keep in mind there aren't too many alternatives that I know about going on tonight in Elmira. Some meetings are quiet and sedate with little contoversy and others are downright barnburners as either the M.O.E./Chemtura or Conestoga Rovers blurt something incredible out.

One thing that I need clarified is when is the next CPAC meeting. My calendar says that we have July off and the next meeting is Thursday August 29/13. There have been comments however both at the last CPAC meeting and since about having August off and a meeting in July. Personally I'm hoping we're off in July and on in August.

At the moment the three nominees to CPAC are waiting for Council endorsement of their nominations by CPAC. Susanna, Graham and myself were all nominated by the voting CPAC members and tonite is again unfortunately an example of why the current five members is too small a group. All of us have families and commitments and tonite to date there are two CPAC members who cannot attend. Hopefully Council will be able to schedule this matter shortly and hopefully Council will listen very carefully to the overwhelming recommendation coming from CPAC.

There will be further discussion tonite on Dioxin and DDT mobility such as at GP1 & 2 as well as the biomonitoring results in the creek. Clams, leeches and fish are all part of ongoing studies to determine whether more needs to be done at the Chemtura site to stop what appears to be ongoing toxic discharges to the Canagagigue Creek.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


As the name of the insecticide indicates, it is chemically similar to nicotine. It has only been widely used in agriculture since 2004 and shortly afterwards massive bee dieoffs started. Everything from global warming to mites was originally blamed however this recent study by a Laval Masters student is not the first pointing the finger at neonicotinoid insecticides on corn and soya seeds .

Bees are crucial in pollinating plants as they fly from flower to flower. The insecticides when used within three kilometres of a bee apiaries apparently caused a tripling of bee mortality. Clearly the seed industry are not pleased with the finger being pointed at them. If indeed bee dieoffs are a consequence of a better insecticide for corn and soya; it certainly would not be the first collateral damage caused by human ingenuity. DDT was fabulous in reducing malaria while damaging bird populations. Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring (1963) warned us early on of unintended consequences of man made chemical interventions. Last Monday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Insecticide threatens bees, student argues".

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Last Thursday I indicated that Chemtura's on and off-site pumping was finally achieving all of its' target pumping rates. This would refer to the Municiapl Upper (MU) and Municipal Lower (ML) Aquifers. Today I will be discussing primarily their shallow aquifer or upper aquifer (UA).

Attachment A, Table A.3 has some interesting chemical concentrations in the shallow or upper aquifer. Now do keep in mind readers that at no time has Chemtura/Conestoga Rovers ever suggested that their pump & treat system will EVER clean up their on-site mess. Following are a few chemicals and their concentrations found on their site nearly a quarter century since they shut down the Elmira wellfields (1989) and closer to a half century (OK 43 years) since they stopped disposing raw chemical wastes on site in shallow pits and ponds.

chlorobenzene 3,000 parts per billion (ppb)
toluene 30,000 , 43,000 , 78,000 ppb
mercaptobenzothiazole 2,800 , 4,600 , 10,000 ppb
carboxin 3,400 , 4,100 , 9,400 ppb

plus aniline, benzothiazole, chlorophenols . methyl ethyl ketone and others have method detection limits (MDL) in the 25,000 - 50,000 ppb mark which makes detections of them essentially impossible.

Figure D.3 is titled "Head Differential at Key Monitoring Pairs". These monitoring pairs refer to six shallow wells and the very nearby surface water elevations of the Canagagigue Creek. In theory at least, if you can artificially reduce the groundwater elevation below the surface water elevation, then you are preventing natural groundwater discharge into the creek. This of course refers to heavily contaminated groundwater discharge into the creek. For the month of May 2013 half of the monitoring pairs have a diffenece in elevation of .1 of a metre or LESS! This is not good! At one time a few years back the hydrogeologist for the Region of Waterloo suggested that it was very difficult to ascertain exactly how much lower the groundwater elevations needed to be in order to be confident that contaminated groundwater was not leaking into the creek. It is my opinion that CRA have lowered the groundwater only enough to prevent large amounts from entering but I do not believe for a second that it's all contained even in the one quadrant (SW) of the site that allegedly is hydraulically contained via pumping wells.

There is further evidence relevant to the alleged hydraulic containment of the south-west quadrant of the Chemtura site. That would be Figures D.4 , D.5 and D.6 . Figure D.7 refers to UA3 which is deeper than UA1 and which only incidentally is lowered by pumping in UA1. This Figure (D.7) shows one small area as being contained while this aquifer (UA3) over the rest of the site is referred to as "static". In other words CRA would have us believe that this groundwater magically exists but doesn't flow anywhere. That is way more than wishful thinking.

Table E.1 advises us of the depth of LNAPL (light non aqueous phase liquid) on the site in various areas. A lot of this LNAPL is toluene floating on the shallow water table (UA1). The M.O.E., CRA and Chemtura have known about it at least since the mid 90's. If you look above you will see the concentrations of dissolved toluene in the groundwater. The ongoing and neverending source is the free phase LNAPL still floating on the water table. Chemtura advises us that they can't remove this LNAPL/toluene. My belief is that for a price they can but until the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) grow a backbone, they won't. Such is the state of environmental "cleanup" in Ontario.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Last Friday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Protesters lock down Enbridge pumping station". The occupation of the Enbridge property began at 6:30 am. last Thursday morning. The pumping station is located near the hamlet of Westover which is in the Flamborough area. Approximately 50 activists are involved and are protesting Enbridge's plans to reverse the flow of oil in Line 9 "...which would send the Alberta oil east along a pipeline built in the 1970's." The Alberta oil is apparently more corrosive and could cause this older pipeline to leak, causing spills into the natural environment.

It is my understanding that part of Line 9 flows through Waterloo Region thus making this a local concern as well. As far as environmental protests go the biggest one locally and recently would have been the 80-90 people who protested against Woolwich Bio-En outside Woolwich Council Chambers possibly in the fall of 2011. There is a picture of this protest on the "Stop The Stink" website of Bob Jonkman.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Yesterday's Woolwich Observer have a very small article titled "Woolwich hedges bet on Hunsberger pit". Firstly I thought everybody had been referring to this pit beside Golf Course Road in Conestogo as the Hunder Pit?? Secondly I've said it numerous times before and I'll say it again; Council's credibility as a force in favour of its' citizens is on the line here. The Jigs Hollow Pit was a kick in the teeth for the dedicated citizens who spent thousands of hours researching and then presenting their finds to Council, only to have Council ultimately give it away at the OMB negotiations. Few Woolwich citizens will permanently hold that one against Council. The Hunder pit and the proposed Capitol Pit in West Montrose are another cup of tea altogether. The Observer refers to a sunset clause which is a maximun length of time the pit can be open. That certainly is hedging their bets. It's way past time to put a halt to idiotically located and environmentally, poorly located gravel pits in Woolwich Township. It's line in the sand time folks!

Friday, June 21, 2013


Strangely enough (to me at least) I don't see the name of Mike Spencer of the M.O.E. on next Thursday's CPAC Agenda. One he was supposed to present the very recent and latest DDT findings in the Canagagigue Creek plus he's got a lot to answer for in regards to both his written and verbal presentation of a couple of months ago. Yours truly essentially dissected his words and presented the multitude of errors in them. A non response would be very interesting.

Similarily I gave my Delegation at the start of the CPAC meeting in regards to free phase DNAPL having been found at TPW2 in 1993. This was contrary to jeff merriman's position at the previous CPAC meeting. Although my written references were impeccable (ie. all experts including Chemtura's own consultants) nevertheless I expect that Chemtura will not let it rest.

Looking forward to Thursday's CPAC meeting.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


One week from today on June 27 at 6 pm., CPAC will hold their monthly public meeting in Woolwich Council Chambers. In attendance as usual will be the volunteers of CPAC and SWAT (soil, water, air & technical) as well as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Chemtura and possibly their consultants Conestoga Rovers (CRA). There have been the last few months a small number of concerned Woolwich residents present as well. The Draft Agenda is currently being discussed and probably will include monthly staples such as CPAC's criticism of the scraping and capping of GP1 & 2 by Chemtura. Dioxins and DDT continue to leave that site and "enrich" the downstream environment to the everlasting shame of both the M.O.E. and Chemtura. CRA of course are merely hired guns in the pay of the polluter and while their data may be accurate their opinions are just that.

We have been told by Jeff Merriman of Chemtura that their off-site pumping problems have been fixed again. Indeed their May 2013 monthly Progress Report actually reflects that. While my personal copy has again been delayed getting to me I have peeked at a CPAC member's Progress Report and am pleased to see that both the on and off site pumping are up to snuff. I have both here and at CPAC in detail advised the public of the overall failure over many years of Chemtura's hydraulic containment system (ie. pump & treat). Let's all hold our breathe and see how long they can maintain this obviously difficult to maintain/operate system before it crashes again, whether on-site, off-site or both. I will make further comments on the May 2013 Progress Report once I receive my copy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


But here's the irony in all of this. 1) Chemtura and their supporters (known & secret) are always bitching about a lack of confidentiality. They want every meeting and every discussion deemed "confidential". My response is fine. If you want a confidential meeting to discuss your personal prostate surgery or your vasectomy then so be it. However if you want to have a confidential meeting with Council or CPAC dealing with any aspect of cleaning up the publicly owned groundwater in Elmira, then you are SOL (.... out of luck). Chemtura opened this can of worms with their ignorant, public attack upon the CPAC Chair at a Council meeting last December, falsely accusing him of breeching a confidentiality that did not exist.

2) Chemtura have indicated that they believe that CPAC are not a committee of council according to the Municipal Act. A Woolwich Councillor plus Staff say otherwise. Chemtura's purpose in their claim was to "free" CPAC from the requirement that they not attend private meetings. Chemtura wanted CPAC to update/amend their Terms of Reference (paragraph #13) which states private meetings are a no-no. Therefore upon Chemtura's request that CPAC examine and potentially amend their Terms of Reference; CPAC in the spirit of cooperation agreed to so re-examine them. This they have done and have made numerous changes dealing with voting groups and voting rights. In regards to private CPAC or CPAC technical meetings with anybody including Chemtura/CRA/M.O.E., they (CPAC) have upheld the principle of no private meetings other than those allowed under the Municipal Act. They changed paragraph #13 and it is now paragraph #15.

3) I believe and 100% support both CPAC's and Woolwich Township's position regarding private meetings between volunteers representing the interests of Woolwich residents and major polluters and their partners in pollution (eg. M.O.E.). This term has been grossly violated in the past. Does it include teleconferences as well as private meetings of CPAC members at Chemtura in Elmira, Conestoga Rovers in Waterloo, Ministry of the Environment in Hamilton and even CPAC members taking corporate (Chemtura) jets south of the border? If it does then no wonder Chemtura are so upset. They've had it to their liking despite written Terms of Reference to the contrary for a very long time. The past Council kicked me off CPAC when I appealed a certificate of Approval (ammonia treatment) privately negotiated between former councillor McLean and Susan Bryant with the Ministry of the Environment. Former Chair of CPAC, Mclean then shut down CPAC for six months to avoid debate on the ammonia certificate of approval as well as to get Woolwich Council to eject me.

I do give credit to the new Council elected in October 2010 for their firm position against any further private discussions/negotiations between CPAC and or individual members and Chemtura/M.O.E./CRA.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Now that was a working session! Major credit goes to Chair Dr.Dan for shepherding us through the entire Terms of Reference in one session yesterday. I had thought at best that we would only be able to amend the highlights such as the ridiculous voting methods laid out encompassed by paragraph # 1, 8, 9 . Instead we went through the entire document paragraph by paragraph. Everybody got into the meat and potatoes both of changing obviously undemocratic sections plus of wordsmithing awkward areas. When finished I believe everyone was happy with a much more relevant and current document. Quite frankly the new TOR are barely recognizable with the old.

Debate was vigorous on a couple of subtle points but everyone kept their eye on the major objective. One reason for this much more comprehensive update is that most of the young CPAC plus SWAT have now got a couple of years of experience under their belts. Thus they better know and understand the pitfalls surrounding CPAC. These pitfalls consist of politics and more politics. Basically I'm not to subtly referring to provincial and municipal politics. Also yours truly raised an awkward memory from over a year ago and to their credit two CPAC members tried to dissuade me from bringing it up. On the other hand they also realized that a problem relevant to the discussion should not be censored. Therefore I hope that I was reasonably factual and non inflammatory when I pointed out how a sad episode from fifteen months ago needed to be addressed and indeed it was quite satisfactorily.

What I found incredibly positive despite differing opinions to the specifics was that each and every person present was working hard to make the Terms of Reference much more democratic and fair. Also to my surprise this morning I found a flurry of e-mails as various members already had rewritten their assigned areas for further examination. These Drafts are excellent and I forsee this project moving smoothly to final Draft and then on to Woolwich Council. With respect, as Council do not have two years plus experience directly sitting at CPAC meetings, these changes will probably require significant discussion and clarification. Once that is done I expect that they too will agree that these chnages were absolutely necessary and will enhance both the current CPAC and future CPAC's abilities to follow their mandate.

Monday, June 17, 2013


9 am. at Woolwich Council Chambers or possibly one of the rooms next door , CPAC will hold their "Orientation" meeting prior to the next public CPAC meeting of June 27, 6 pm.. The purpose of this regular meeting is to determine things like Agenda items and who will take the lead on the different CPAC items. Today's meeting will also discuss the Terms of Reference. I am fairly certain that there is a unanimous concern that this document is years if decades out of date and quite frankly for example the voting method which assigns a vote to groups and then lumps citizens (4) together and only gives them one vote is highly undemocratic. These Terms of Reference were supposed to have been updated two years ago but in reality only extremely minor cosmetic changes occurred. This is ironic because the old CPAC falsely claimed that they pulled their applications from consideration because of the "new" Terms of Reference. The truth is they pulled their applications months after the election was over because they had finally figured out that they weren't being reappointed by the new Woolwich Council. It was sort of a face saving device as in resigning prior to being fired sort of thing.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


ISCO is currently being used in Cambridge in the Bishop St. community due to the environmental damage and negligence of Northstar Aerospace as well as the Rozell/G.E. site nearby. The idea is that injecting chemicals with large amounts of oxygen in them will chemically breakdown chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). The hope is that at Chemtura in Elmira, that it will also breakdown NDMA which while not having chlorine in it, nevertheless is also a hydrocarbon with some nitrogen included. Chemtura according to this week's Elmira Independent, in an article titled "Chemtura starts work on in-situ remediation", are beginning both field and lab studies this summer.

Editor Gail Martin incorrectly states that ISCO is part of a "new, aggressive cleanup strategy that was unveiled last November, after the company updated it's computer modelling of Elmira's contaminated aquifer.". This story is part of the public relations spin that Chemtura/CRA are putting on their response to CPAC's Resolution from over a year ago stating that Chemtura's/CRA pump and treat cleanup was not working and simply would not restore the aquifers by 2028 in Elmira.

Gail does accurately indicate the concern that CPAC and myself and others have with the proposed tripling of the off-site pumping rates. In a nutshell, talk is cheap. Chemtura/CRA historically have failed over and over again to achieve their own computer modelled pumping rates yet now they confidently advise they can reliably achieve a tripling of those same rates. Chemtura are world class in the art of puffery; not so hot in actually doing what they promise.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story on page A3 "Workers exposed to Agent Orange". Provincial agencies used 2,4,5-T from 1947 until 1979 to remove and reduce weeds along hydro corridors, roads and rail lines. The Minister of Natural Resources is encouraging hydro, road and forestry workers who may have been exposed to file claims with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Of course by waiting so long both government and industry have managed to reduce the number of living victims dramatically. A 219 page report commissioned by the province two years ago was released yesterday.

So what about the workers at Uniroyal who handled and were exposed to the Dioxins in 2,4,5-T? What about Elmira residents who have been denied a health study for the last two decades? What about the grossly inadequate scraping and capping operation of Dioxins scheduled for the south-east corner of Chemtura this summer? These questions are long overdue for intelligent answers. Unfortunately that seems to be beyond the abilities of our Ministry of the Environment and hangers on in this area.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


A week ago Wednesday I posted an article here titled "CPAC is Growing". At that time I felt that it was diplomatic to give a hint as to whom the nominees were without the three specific names. This was to give the CPAC Chair time to get back from his trip and to formally advise Woolwich Council. Dr. Dan is now back (yesterday) plus Council actually should have been informed by both CPAC member and Council member Mark Bauman. The three very well qualified and appropriate nominees to become full voting CPAC members are Susanna Meteer, Graham Chevreaux and yours truly Alan Marshall. The support by CPAC of these three candidates was extremely strong and I am confident that Council will approach each nomination with an open mind. I am also confident that Council will do their due diligence and listen to not only their Council colleagues but more importantly in this case the words and actions of their appointed CPAC members as well as the words and actions of the nominees. CPAC have been working with Susanna, Graham and myself for some time now. In my case I have supported CPAC through thick and thin with my knowledge, research, history and technical willingness and abilities to wade through the heavy stuff. I am not unwilling to be a silent partner nor am I unwilling to step up and challenge the M.O.E. and Chemtura head to head when they decide to try and pull the wool over CPAC's eyes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Recently I mentioned that Gail Martin, the Editor of the Elmira Independent, subscribed to the glass half full theory in regards to the M.O.E. doing more downstream studies of sediments and soils. I know that last fall I was very skeptical especially as George Karlos of the M.O.E. was not remotely interested in sharing their Work Plan ahead of time with CPAC. Sure enough their Work Plan was an absolute crock as expected. Any attempt at comparing last fall's (2012) results with 1996 & 97 is a complete farce. But... this latest emphasis and focus on downstream concentrations of Dioxins and DDT may not be a complete waste of time and money. Maybe just maybe local citizens, myself included, may gain a few insights from this whole deal.

This time around I am slowly getting a better understanding of the dynamics of the situation. Dioxins & DDT for example dumped in a pit by themselves without accompanying solvents etc., in an open field well above the water table, may actually bind with different kinds of soils. They might actually, after coming to some kind of equilibrium, have relatively stable soil concentrations over years if not decades based upon slow degradation into their breakdown products. A fast moving creek in a combined urban and rural watershed is a totally different scenario. The word indeed is dynamic. The Canagagigue Creek like most in the spring becomes a raging torrent after major snowmelts and or major thunderstorms. As a very shallow creek the bottom is scoured, sediments moved and even deposition areas are changed. Therefore I'm getting a totally different understanding of sediment and floodplain soil readings years apart. Reductions don't necessarily mean that the source of these chemicals has been removed nor do increases necessarily mean that there is more discharge of Dioxins/ DDT now than there was seventeen years ago. What any detections probably indicate, years after partial sediment cleanups at the Chemtura site, is that more needs to be done. Far more likely in this dynamic system is that each spring the old chemicals get washed further downstream merely to be replaced with fresh discharges from the Chemtura site. These discharges may be by soil erosion and or by solvent induced Dioxin/ DDT mobility in groundwater.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record's Editorial was titled "Contemplating incineration". My understanding was that past incinerator emissions were among significant sources of Dioxin emissions. Burning plastics at sub optimum tempuratures was one method of producing them. This is not to say that better technology, better management and better supervision cannot overcome this and other issues with incineration.

The sweetener seems to be the belief that energy can be produced from this incineration. Energy from waste is the term being used. Again I'm not an expert but I do know that massive amounts of energy go into burning garbage in the first place. Natural gas is the usual fuel and again the hotter you want to burn things at in order to destroy dioxin molecules for example, then the more fuel (gas) you have to add to the mix.

Should the latest technology at least be looked at? Most probably because we've learned the hard way in waterloo region that burying everything isn't without major costs and issues. Should our efforts at recycling and diverting waste for reuse and compost be expanded? Undoubtedly. Should issues such as excessive packaging continue to be attacked? Absolutely. To date I'm not aware of any magic technologys with one exception. Just as our use of water and abuse of water via sewage treatment plant discharges is a direct function of the number of residents; so certainly is garbage production. Unbridled growth, outstripping our ability to manage the worst effects on our finite piece of land is not sustainable. Until this is finally acknowledged by governments at all levels , we are in serious trouble.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Last Thursday 's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "An ill wind still blows about wind turbines". It was written by Thomas Walkom and points out that the Ontario Liberal government are taking baby steps finally to appease municipal councils as well as potential nearby neighbours of wind farms. Mr. Walkom also points out the huge divide between how our Liberal government treats vote rich cities versus how they treat vote poor rural Ontario. It is not a pretty picture and again reaffirms politics over doing what's right.

"A new policy outlined by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli last week would require large wind farm proponents to "work directly with" municipalities on where to locate any new turbines." Municipalities would also be given the power to tax wind farms more heavily. Mr. Walkom suggests that the Liberal government are simply offering municipal politicians "goodies" in hopes of bringing them onside. Meanwhile rural residents are still very angry over how their concerns have been brushed aside over the last five to ten years.

The recent World Trade Organization decision has also gone badly for Ontario. Government attempts at building a local manufacturing base around wind and solar projects has been seriously hurt by the WTO's dismantling of the 60% domestic content requirement. Further a lawsuit by giant Next-Era Energy against a Blogger in London Ontario does little if anything to dismiss the appearance of big business versus the little guy. Our provincial government are firmly on the side of big business in this one.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Last fall DDT was found at Station 21 downstream at 13 parts per million greatly exceeding rsults found about sixteen years earlier. What has gone downstream in the interim is anyone's guess because no one was looking. I view this as simply part and parcel of the M.O.E./Chemtura long range plan which I refer to as the Talk/Stall/Dilute plan. Essentially everything subsurface on the Chemtura site is leaking and moving off-site. If they do nothing it could take a thousand years to clean up and if they continue their hydraulic containment perhaps only a few hundred. This is what we are leaving next generations to deal with.

Gail Martin has an Editorial in this week's Independent titled "Making progress". I suspect Gail is of the glass half full attitude on this matter. If I thought pursuing more of the M.O.E.'s amateurish "studies" would actually lead to more source removal of DDT (& so much more) on the Chemtura site I would be thrilled. History has shown otherwise. This is all part of the Talk & Stall long term plan and the M.O.E. have been hand in hand with Uniroyal/chemtura from the start and continue to be their very best friends. There is no subtle or diplomatic way to put it. Twenty years ago journalists, a few brave politicians and the public were demanding an inquiry into alleged M.O.E. corruption. I see no real improvements in them since that time. Feel free to have any amount of confidence you want in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. I have none and that is based on their track record over the last twenty-four years plus.

Friday, June 7, 2013


The title of their front page story is "MOE, Chemtura pursue clues in DDT mystery". This of course is in reference to a significant spike in DDT at one monitoring station downstream in the Canagagigue Creek. Gail Martin's report on this CPAC meeting very much focuses on the DDT issue. It is particularily relevant at this time because Chemtura are planning on doing some scraping and capping of contaminated soil in their south-east corner (GP1 & 2).

Besides Mark Bauman getting some ink from Gail, yours truly was also quoted a couple of times . ""You can't say all the results are lower than 1996 results, when you only looked at two of the locations" said Marshall. "You can't cherry pick.""

Further in regards to time frames Gail wrote "Marshall also suggested that since the testing was done in a floodplain, test results only represent one moment in time, and could essentially mean fresh sources of DDT are being deposited on the floodplain, only to be washed away again.".

The final significant point I raised was that the clam and leeches monitoring stations were intentionally upstream of GP1 & 2 as they were looking for results of the major creekbank work done on the west side in 2005. Therefore these results could not accurately give any indication as to whether dioxins or DDT etc. were still entering the creek from Chemtura just a little further downstream. It does appear as if Chemtura have taken the criticism to heart and will be adding downstream biomonitoring stations.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Last Tuesday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Pit stops reopening soon". These two Service Centres just east of Cambridge closed in September 2011 and were to have been rebuilt and ready to go a year ago. Unfortunately but not surprisingly groundwater contamination under the former gas stations slowed the reopening by a year. That tells me that the gas and diesel tanks had probably been leaking for many years. What is even more worrisome is that wells on site had been drawing drinking water but were shortly after abandoned in favour of three kilometres of piping in order to obtain City of Cambridge water. The question in my mind is how long had that well water been unfit to drink and what kind of quality testing if any was being performed on it prior to the Service Centres closing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The god awful and soon to be discussed Terms of Reference for the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) indicate that up to twelve members are acceptable for this committee. Like any committee there is a tradeoff between being unwieldy and having too few members. CPAC over the years has been between six and nine members and whatever their past issues, being unwieldy or difficult for all members to participate has not been one of them. Our current "young" CPAC started with seven members over two years ago. There have been resignations, dismissals, replacements and additions. Nevertheless for the last few months there have been but five voting CPAC members. Last week CPAC took appropriate steps to remedy that shortfall.

Three excellent nominations have been put forward by CPAC. All three have expressed their delight at this nomination. The appropriate persons at Woolwich Township have been informed and formal Applications for (CPAC) membership on a committee of Council have been sent out. This committee of council matter has been discussed briefly and despite what the Municipal Act states, CPAC have been assurred by Woolwich Township that they are indeed a committee of council. Interestingly it was Chemtura who opened this can of worms. I have no idea whether Chemtura are planning on pursuing the issue or letting it drop. The one thing that is certain is that Chemtura's decision will rest solely on what's good for them. The public interest is not part of their mandate or behaviour.

One little hint as to who the nominees may be. There are currently six SWAT (soil, water. air, technical) team members namely David Marks, Dr.Henry Regier, Richard Clausi, Susanna Meteer, Graham Chevreaux and yours truly, Alan Marshall. The SWAT team are under the chairmanship of CPAC member Ron Campbell. Each and every SWAT team member is highly qualified in one way or another. Not all six have expressed an interest in being formal, voting CPAC members and for the moment I will leave it at that. It is my understanding that council will shortly be approached by the CPAC Chair, Dr. Dan Holt in order to move this forward.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Last Sunday's New York Times carried an article titled "A Failure to Police Chemical Plants". That article spoke directly to U.S. chemical plants only and I found it interesting that no mention was made of *Responsible Care or the American equivalent of our CIAC (Chemical Industry Association of Canada). It is my understanding that the Canadian model was admired and adopted by a number of other countries around the world including the U.S.. While this posting is no blanket endorsement of the CIAC, nevertheless from my experiences here in Elmira, Ontario I have seen one excellent example of how a chemical company have improved their environmental and safety record through participation in *Responsible care and the CIAC (ie. SULCO/CCC). Unfortunately we also have the example here in Elmira of a company who have learned how to game the *Responsible Care program and that would be Chemtura Canada.

The New York Times article makes references to the explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas last April. 14 were killed and 200 injured is a shocking reminder of how dangerous these plants can be. There is also ongoing discussion of chemical plants switching to less dangerous alternatives. Whether the ammonium nitrate that exploded in Texas has any practical alternatives, I do not know. The other issue is the original siting of chemical plants around the country. It has long been established that the poor and racial minorities have far more chemical plants in their neighbourhoods than their better off neighbours. Only some of this can be chalked up to cheaper land in depressed neighbourhoods. Questionable by-laws and zoning can also ensure that the wealthier neighbourhoods never see or smell chemical factories in their towns and cities. The U.S. statistics are as follows; "Last year, 1,270 people died in more than 30,000 chemical spills and accidents.". The Times article concludes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to take action now with the authority it has rather than waiting for either industry or politicians to get their act together.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Region weighs its waste options". According to this story the region only has three options namely building another unpopular landfill, incineration or mechanical biological treatment which consists of sorting and composting waste. Silly me but at first blush I wonder why we couldn't sort the waste; send more to recycling, compost what we can and then incinerate the rest. This doesn't seem to have made their short list. Also I know for decades there have been advocates of the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle school. An awful lot of our waste is and has been simply excessive packaging.

I would agree that landfills are a horrible way to deal with garbage. So called "engineered" landfills may be better than the old style of throw everything in, cover it up and hope for the best but not by all that much. Landfills stink, leak and are a permanent ongoing threat to groundwater, even "engineered" ones.

So called public input sessions will be held June 10-13 (next week) at the following locations in order namely 5-8 pm. at the region's community services 150 Main St. Cambridge, 3-6 pm. Kitchener City Hall, 5-8 pm. Wilmot Rec Complex and the last on June 13, 5-8 pm. at Knox presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. Waterloo.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


There were a number of other questions and comments raised Thursday night in Council Chambers at CPAC starting with CPAC & Council member Mark Bauman. The observation was made that Mark came up with a couple of reasonably technical questions to me about DNAPL after my 10 minute Delegation on the subject to CPAC. They included the fact that we generally think of oils as floaters not sinkers. The example is a spill of fuel oil on the ocean's surface. His other question dealt with the volume of free phase DNAPL found at TPW2 back in 1993. These were both excellent questions which I answered to the best of my ability. Coincidentally for the first time I felt compelled to hand out copies of my written Delegation ahead of time not only to CPAC & SWAT & the Township but also to the M.O.E. and Chemtura.

George Karlos of the M.O.E. advised CPAC that they the Ministry were indeed taking additional samples around a private nearby swimming pond. This is appropriate and shows some due diligence. Seabastian of CPAC also thanked George for his timely response concerning a cost-benefit analysis comparing pump & treat to serious source removal.

Sebastian also asked questions about waste disposal areas having been changed on the Chemtura site. Vivienne I believe referred to natural erosion as well as human erosion referring to Uniroyal's practice of burying, excavating and then reburying in another location. I was able to help somewhat by advising that the "consolidation" pits RPE4 &5 were filled with toxic wastes from both the east and west sides of the site.

A member of the public advised that in her opinion Dioxins and DDT were ubiquitous in the creekbanks of the Canagagigue through the Chemtura site. While this may be possible what I find illogical is Chemtura's insistence that Dioxins and DDT subsurface at GP1 &2 aren't moving into the creek or aquifers. These chemicals literally have already moved from the west side to the east side (with human help) and then gravity flowed south into GP1 &2. From there the contaminated groundwater discharges directly to the creek. We have yet to see any scientific (versus CRA) studies showing how tightly or loosely these toxic chemicals bind to soil much lesss the sand and gravel present.

All in all I found this meeting helpful and clearcut and am looking forward to the upcoming writeup in the Elmira Independent describing it further.