Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Cities need to know railway cargo". A second councillor, this one for Kitchener, is getting on the railway cargo safety blitz. This of course is decades after the horse has bolted through the open gate. A Waterloo councillor was making noises a few months back about the Waterloo spur line that runs through residential areas in her constituency. There was a derailment last year in which chemicals heading to Chemtura in Elmira were involved. The inference at the time was that the chemicals were essentially inoccuous and non-threatening. That may or may not be true. If it is true then Chemtura and our local politicians all dodged a bullet big time because Chemtura (Uniroyal) have been hauling in toxic and dangerous chemicals by both rail and truck for decades. By the way they aren't the only company in Elmira so doing.

Here's where the hypocrisy comes in. Both the Region and the Cities of Waterloo and Kitchener are more interested in protecting their turf and their credibility than anything else. The only thing worse for a local politician than knowing about a potential hazard and doing nothing is not knowing about it in the first place. Procrastination and delay are bad but total ignorance is the kiss of death for local politiicans. Finger on the heartbeat of the community sort of thing. So now both the City of Waterloo and the Region are in the know as the railroad car manifests are shared with them. Guess what? Neither want to share with their citizens including those living along the railroad line. Guess why? There are tons of dangerous goods going through residential communities and none of our local politicians ever had any intentions to make things safer for residents. Hell no! Safety in their wee pro business minds means additional costs. Imagine the costs needed to make rail traffic safer in Lac Megantic, Quebec; prior to the 47 deaths.

Politics is a game and the people in charge are not there for the benefit of their constituents. They are there for their benefit and the benefit of like minded thinking people. Mostly that means the wealthy and powerful. It is not in their best interests to overeact with costly measures each and every decade when there is a disaster. It is much more cost effective for the wealthy elite to buy local (& provincial & federal) politicians and use them as buffers to absorb occasional outrage from the public. This is what democracy has descended to.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Last Thursday here in the Advocate I posted about Chemtura's June 2013 Progress Report. One of the items I mentioned were soil samples found in Attachment G taken at 11 Queen St. in Elmira. I'm planning on a road trip this morning to confirm exactly where that would be although I expect that it is quite close to Queen and Park St.. The "road trip" is kind of a private joke. I've just started driving again with trips to Home Hardware and Lazer Video both here in town . The soil samples were very deep and had serious concentrations of NDMA in them . This somewhat flies in the face of the understanding we've been given for decades that NDMA readily dissolves in groundwater and readily flows with it. That being the case how come this far off the Chemtura site are we seeing NDMA adsorbed to very deep soil particles at these concentrations?

Conestoga Rovers & Assoc., the long time consultants to Uniroyal/Chemtura, have an explanation that frankly makes no sense to me. It is somewhat akin to the disproven evidence given at the Environmental Appeal Board Hearings over twenty years ago in Elmira by their hydrogeologist Brian Beatty. He had suggested that Municipal Upper Aquifer groundwater flowed west from Chemtura where it was held somewhat stationary by opposing forces namely the pumping of the North Wellfield and the pumping of the South Wellfield. In the current case, Steve Quigley I believe of CRA, stated that the high concentrations of dissolved NDMA in the Municipal Upper Aquifer west of Chemtura, centred on well OW60 (Queen & Park) were due to contaminated groundwater being drawn north towards the North Wellfields which were shut down in the early 90's. Then the natural southerly flow of groundwater has drawn these high concentrations of NDMA back towards OW60. Quite frankly I give that explanation about as much credit as I give Brian Beatty's of twenty years ago. Afterall by this time that highly NDMA contaminated water should have been long gone. What makes much more sense is a subsurface source of NDMA in the neighbourhood. That neighbourhood would include the old shirt factory located remarkably on Shirt Factory Creek. Textile industries are known sources of all kinds of solvents and of NDMA whether in the dyes or otherwise. This scenario however runs counter to the M.O.E./Chemtura sweetheart deal of October 7, 1991 whereby Uniroyal/Chemtura falsely accepted 100% of the blame while saving untold millions of dollars in cleanup costs. This location is but one of the off-site sources that must be addressed prior to achieving the goal of restoring Elmira's groundwater to drinking water standards.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Yesterday I read a story on the Cambridge Advocate website that was taken from the Huffington Post, an on-line newspaper. The author is Maude Barlow and the subject matter is the horrendous rail disaster in Lac Megantic, Quebec. According to Maude the easy way out for the company and government is to lay sole blame on the engineer. The reality is a little more complicated. Apparently Transport Canada, just last year gave that railroad company permission to operate trains with but a single employee on board. In this case that meant one engineer in charge of 72 rail cars and five engines carrying hazardous materials.

There may well be a parallel here. The Walkerton tragedy was not solely caused by the Koebel brothers. Yes there were human failings but there had also been massive cuts at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment which contributed. Essentially all levels of authority from provincial to municipal to supervisory failed and the results were catastrophic.

One other thought has come to my mind and that is the environmental cleanup. Apparently the crude oil from the ruptured tank cars ended up both on land and directly into the nearby river. This is a golden opportunity, with everyone focused on the huge loss of life, to take shortcuts with the cleanup. The time is right now to do the proper job. Crude oil is not an LNAPL or light non-aqueous phase liquid. It is a DNAPL or dense non-aqueous phase liquid which means that it will sink through the water table and saturated soil until reaching a somewhat impermeable surface and then begin to flow horizantly depending on the gradient. In other words the DNAPL will gravity flow as long as there is a slope to follow. Here in Elmira, Ontario we are still learning decades later of the consequences of allowing DNAPLS to roam from a contaminated site further afield onto neighbour's properties. As unlikely as the 2028 mandated restoration of the Elmira Aquifers will be, it is the spread of DNAPLS both onto the Yara (Nutrite) property and further south past the Varnicolor property that greatly complicates matters.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Oh sure they get occasional undeserved victories along the way. With the invaluable assistance of former CPAC Chair, Pat Mclean, they actually got their last *Responsible Care verification. This was despite the well thought out and well written dissenting opinion of Dr. Dan Holt, current CPAC Chair. Combined with Pat's well and truly co-opted support was the support of reps from Chemtura Guelph and Chemtura Scarborough. Based on neighbour's complaints in Scarborough as well as recent M.O.E. fines for serious air emissions; one can be excused for understanding that Chemtura are gaming the system. Further, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) have as much as said that they can get better compliance with a Chemtura inside the CIAC than outside.

Oh the embarassment! Approximately fifteen months ago, CPAC unanimously passed a Resolution condemning the twenty plus year old cleanup program for the Elmira Aquifers. This program based upon extremely expensive bought and paid for advice from Conestoga Rovers (CRA) revolved around hydraulic containment of both the Chemtura site (on-site) as well as hydraulic containment of the rest of the contaminated Elmira Aquifers (off-site). CPAC also categorically stated that the cleanup deadline of 2028 wasn't within the realm of possibility. To further add to Chemtura, CRA and their biggest backer, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's horror; Woolwich Township Council endorsed this Resolution and sent it on to the Region of waterloo and the Province of Ontario.

While less embarassing, however only at the moment, is Chemtura/CRA/M.O.E.'s DNAPL fiasco. They literally spent years killing trees and producing reports trying to prove they did not have a) a DNAPL problem b) free phase DNAPL . The CRA multiple reports over the years tell the sordid tale in Figures, Tables, Plume maps, monitoring results and common sense. Their Conclusions however are blatantly self-serving, blind and disgraceful. The irony is the number of locations around their site where even inadvertently they've stumbled upon free phase DNAPL while desperately trying to "prove" it doesn't exist. Exactly how many "anomolies" does it take to become ubiquitous? At the May public CPAC meeting I presented technical reports and references detailing multiple groups stating that free phase DNAPL, similar to heavy oil or motor oil was found in TPW2 beside the old municipal landfill, now known as M2. One of these reports was from Chemtura's own consultants, namely CRA.

Yesterday I sent an old newspaper clipping to CPAC and SWAT team members as well as to the Township. This clipping dated December 13, 1993 from the K-W Record was titled "Uniroyal begins tar pit cleanup" and detailed everyone's expectations. Former Uniroyal general manager Dr. David Ash stated that some of the wastes to be removed will be solids and others will be DNAPLS, similar to heavy oils. Since that time it has been suggested by the M.O.E. and others that some of the very heavy soil contamination of DNAPL chemicals at Uniroyal/Chemtura's neighbour Yara (Nutrite) may well have migrated from Uniroyal. Keep in mind that residual DNAPLS are the tail or trail left behind by a moving front of free phase DNAPL. In other words residual DNAPL throughout a large area proves that free phase DNAPL has gone by those areas and is probably further downgradient. Again talk about embarassing when you are trying to sell scientific nonsense in order not to have to go after the DNAPL and clean it up. Just follow the money not being spent that should be.

Finally I dug up a newspaper clipping from December 3, 2008 in the Elmira Independent. The title is "Contaminants should be removed, says Marshall". In it I am quoted at length such as "Hydraulic containment is absolute rubbish". Also I suggest that whether residual or free phase DNAPL that " pockets on the site...should be excavated and the chemically contaminated soil removed." This article then goes on to quote Pat Mclean and Dwighte Este of Chemtura who state that they Chemtura have come up with a plan that involves all stakeholders. This is false. By kicking me off of CPAC and losing Dr. Henry Regier to hearing problems what they achieved was a CPAC to their liking in 2007 and 2008. Former CPAC Chair Pat Mclean's support of Chemtura's position is both naive and ridiculous. In hindsight with the current CPAC having embraced my position regarding hydraulic containment and source removal, one can understand Chemtura's current anger and angst. They've invested years in manipulating public consultation in Elmira to their wishes and it's all gone down the tubes. How frustrating when your long solicited friends and fellow travellors are no longer in charge of the public consultation process (ie. CPAC). How frustrating when your longtime and biggest critic is being embraced by the current CPAC. Even more embarassing is when that critic (moi) has been kicked off CPAC by Woolwich Council twice (2008/2011) and now has been nominated by CPAC to rejoin them. However Township Council decides I am a very happy camper with this extremely strong public endorsement by the current CPAC. Boy it sucks to be Chemtura.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys this story "ARA final report expected this fall". Our local M.P. Michael Harris was a member of the provincial committee which examined potential improvements to the act. There were public hearings with varying suggestions such as greater protection for farmland and greater financial support to municipalitites hosting gravel operations. Other issues included encouraging municipalities to make greater use of recycled aggregate to reduce the constant need for new aggregate as well as looking at alternate forms of transportaion for aggregate. This I assume would mean more rail and less truck traffic. The one glaring omission in yesterday's article and comments would be greater protection for nearby residents. Afterall that's what a lot of the Woolwich township protests are all about. Building gravel pits next door to homes, schools and urban areas is just plain way beyond stupid yet it goes on.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I really found some interesting stuff in the June "Progress Report". Overall on and off-site pumping (hydraulic containment) was excellent with one off-site well failing to meet its' target pumping rate. Well W4 by the water tower and behind (west) the old Varnicolor site averaged only 9.0 litres per second versus its' target of 11.4 due to repairs being necessary.

NDMA was again detected in the Canagagigue Creek although below the Provincial Water Quality Guidelines. The point is that this is more evidence that the site continues to leak and discharge off-site despite Chemtura/M.O.E. claims to the contrary. Nitrosomorpholine (NMOR) also still has a higher arithmetic mean concentration downstream than upstream. This also indicates past and probably ongoing leakage. To add to the mix, Lindane (insecticide) is also still leaching from the Chemtura site and being discharged via one of the MISA (municipal industrial strategy for abatement) outlets.

Table A.3 indicates some very high concentrations of DNAPL chemicals in the Upper aquifer pumping wells on site. These chemicals are MBT, benzothiazole (BT), carboxin and aniline.

Both Table D.2 and Figure D.3 do not give confidence in the alleged hydraulic containment of the shallow aquifer (UA) at Chemtura. The difference in groundwater elevations versus creek elevations at some locations is 3/4 of a metre. That is extremely impressive hydraulic containment. Another location however has an elevation difference of less than half an inch and despite reassurances from Chemtura in the past, I'm not buying it. That is NOT reliable hydraulic containment and I don't care how many times a day Chemtura are "monitoring" it.

Attachment G has tables of soil samples taken at 11 Queen St. in Elmira. These soil samples show concentrations of NDMA in the soil at ridiculous levels and this is more than seventy-five feet below the ground's surface. Chemtura when you do a job on an aquifer you really do a job.

Last but not least Figures E4 & E5 plus Tables E1 & E2 give us the groundwater concentrations of NDMA and Chlorobenzene in wells CH47 and Ch56. The first well is just west off-site of Chemtura on the former Yara (Nutrite) property and the other is on the south border between Chemtura and the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. CH47's concentrations of both NDMA and Chlorobenzene are above the Provincial drinking water standards. CH56's concentrations are above for NDMA and merely substantial for Chlorobenzene. Once again this is evidence of either ongoing leakage from the Chemtura site or evidence of off-site sources at Yara and the STP. In the case of Yara they are an off-site source of other chemicals however the NDMA and Chlorobenzene are most likely from Chemtura. When the STP was constructed in 1965, buried drums of Uniroyal's chemical wastes were discovered, so it's pretty clear that that current off-site contamination is all courtesy of Uniroyal/Chemtura. Once again this is contrary to the factually ficticious nonsense that Chemtura are selling with support from their partner in pollution, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


This is the typical response from professional manipulaters and deceivers namely "I don't know or I've never heard of it.". This was the answer given by Chemtura at the last CPAC meeting when SWAT team member (& CPAC nominee) Susanna Meteer asked them about a remediation method referred to as either STAR or smouldering self-sustaining combustion. Similarily our Ontario Ministry of the Environment sat silent while the discussion and questions took place. This silence while technically not lying most certainly indicated either gross ignorance or gross deception on their part. I've got news for Chemtura and the M.O.E.. You deserve no more respect from CPAC & SWAT then you are willing to give. Lies of either omission or commission are disrespectful and insulting.

It has taken me a very long time to understand the contempt that both Chemtura and the M.O.E. have for the public. Yes they try to hide their contempt but third parties such as Woolwich Council need to grow up a little on this matter. For Woolwich Council or anyone else to attempt to stifle or moderate aggressive questioning is counterproductive. For Woolwich Council to get hard nosed and strict about "Codes of Conduct" for their citizen volunteers while the other parties (Chemtura/CRA/M.O.E.) ignore them at will is counterproductive and hypocritical. Your citizen volunteers expose themselves to the abuse of their provincial government (M.O.E.) via misdirection, backroom deals and blatant lying (no leakage from GP1 & 2) and then you want to criticize them when they go on the attack. Caspar Milquetoast is just dandy when you are dealing with honourable, ethical people but less effective when dealing with either sociopaths or pyscopaths.

Both the M.O.E. and Chemtura are supposed to be experts in their fields. For Chemtura who send an environmental engineer to all CPAC meetings it is to say the least difficult to believe that they had never heard of smouldering self-sustaining combustion. Ten minutes on the Internet has shown numerous scholarly articles on the subject. Reading even a couple to date has given me an appreciation for this emerging cleanup technology. The Chemtura site may be the perfect location for this kind of cleanup. Possibly it isn't but we need to know why not. For the two guilty parties responsible for shutting down our water supply; burying your heads in your contaminated soil is inexcusable.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


On July 11/13 the Waterloo Region Record published their own Editorial titled "Get ready now for the big flood". That Editorial spelled out the likelihood as to what is coming down the pike not just for Waterloo Region but also the rest of Canada. Melting glaciers and ice caps due to global warming are putting more moisture into the air which ends up as rainfall somewhere. that somewhere includes Canada. In theory any city or town even hundreds of miles from large bodies of surface water can be flooded if more rain comes down then the storm sewers and natural topography can drain away quickly. here in waterloo region the bulk of storm water ends up in local creeks and storm drains and then discharges into the Grand, the Conestogo, the Nith and the Speed Rivers.

Yes development planning and larger floodplain areas will help the situation. So will common sense. Over twenty years ago my wife and I were looking to buy a corner store and start our own business. As soon as Betty advised me of a store in West Montrose I knew that one along the river with young children at the time was not in the cards. We did buy but the store was 100 yards away and more importantly at least thirty-five feet higher than the current high water mark in the Grand at that time. Municipal Councillors, developers and buyers MUST not build and buy homes only a few feet higher than current flood levels. Those levels will be surpassed.

The Record also appropriately advises homeowners of steps that they can take to reduce flooding in their basements. These also are commonsense but need to be taken before the floods come.

Monday, July 22, 2013


One last point in regards to the blue-green algae found in the Woolwich Reservoir. Last Saturday's Woolwich Observer ("Algae bloom makes Woolwich Reservoir off limits") advises us that besides all the other health warnings (no swimming/drinking etc.) that any fish caught right now absolutely should not be consumed.

In the Waterloo Region Record (July 16/13) there is a story titled "Beekeepers push Wynne to consider ban". She met recently in Guelph and talked to the Ontario Beekeepers Association. They are trying to get her to ban neonicotinoid pesticides which they are convinced have been playing a major role in massive bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


This is highly unusual to have all three local papers writing on the same local issue all in the same week. Last Wednesday I posted about the story in the Waterloo Region Record regarding Woolwich Township closing their file on the Capitol Paving gravel pit proposal in West Montrose. Thursday the Elmira Independent published the following story and headline "Capitol Paving application closed by township". Then yesterday the Woolwich Observer also followed suit with "Woolwich closes file on West Montrose gravel pit".

Naturally all three stories have slightly different focuses and information. The Observer story gives us an excellent history including things like the Woolwich Interim Bylaw that was passed that froze development while cultural heritage issues were identified. Surprisingly the Murray Group not Capitol Paving appealed briefly the Interim Bylaw. The Murray Group were also interested in gravel in the same area.

A passing comment on the blue-green algae at the Woolwich Reservoir. Agricultural runoff with phosphorous combined with manure and wildlife deposits are a cause. HOWEVER folks let's not avoid the obvious: Years ago I advised the Ontario Ministry of the Environment that there was a pipe running into the reservoir discharging sewage type smelling liquids. The pipe is near a number of residences and probably is the end of the pipe discharge for septic tank sewage systems. There is a reason septic systems are falling in acceptability and this is it. If it's one house on ten acres of land without nearby surface water you probably won't have any unacceptable results but letting the pipe discharge into a reservoir that people swim and fish in is unacceptable if not disgusting. People have gotten sick and we're going to blame geese and deer and nearby farms? That is hypocritical.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Yesterday's Elmira Independent has a story titled "Blue-green algae found in Woolwich Reservoir". Due to my current state of ongoing rehabilitation (hip surgery) I was unable to pick up the Independent in the late morning as I usually do. Therefore I first heard of these warning signs from my son, two fellow students and their Biology Prof, who dropped by yesterday afternoon for some cold water and cooling air conditioning. They had been in and around Guelph, Elmira and the Woolwich Reservoir, north of Elmira, taking plant samples.

You can then imagine my surprise when my wife brought home the Independent after work and there was the above story. Apparently there were some locals who became ill after swimming at the reservoir. Symptoms can include headaches, fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. A skin rash can also develop if you come into direct contact. These algal blooms are a phenomenon caused by excess phosphorous in water from manure, fertilizers and human waste. That combined with heat and they are off to the races.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Conservation body to spend up to $10M to fight ash borer". The Grand River Conservation Authority are cutting down dead and infested trees throughout Waterloo region and the Grand River watershed. The emerald ash borer is an invasive species courtesy of wooden crates filled with metal castings etc. having been shipped here from China where the insect is native.

Kitchener, Waterloo and Oakville are aggressively responding whereas to date Cambridge is not. There is avery expensive pesticide which if injected every two years will save ash trees. Due to cost it is being used sparingly. This insect has about a 100% mortality rate once it infects an ash tree.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Woolwich blocks gravel pit proposal". Woolwich Township have closed their file on the proposed Capitol Paving gravel pit at West Montrose. This was done due to the inactivity of the file since 2008. Thus if Capitol Paving wish to reapply it will be under more stringent rules that now cite the area as a heritage landscape. Both Tony Dowling of the Bridgekeepers and Mayor Todd Cowan were very pleased with this development with Tony stating "We applaud the Township for being proactive". Mayor Cowan stated "I am very pleased with the decision to close this file,", and "It is very important that we continue to work to preserve the cultural heritage and natural beauty of our communities.". Once again well done Woolwich Township and Council.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


So you ask, what is the big deal about a CPAC member criticizing council? My response: exactly; what is the big deal? In last Saturday's Woolwich Observer Dr. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach wrote a Letter to the Editor criticizing Woolwich Council for their decision regarding "rebranding" the Township including acquiring a new logo. Sebastian felt that the costs involved of a new logo replacing the current one were a waste of money.

A few months back I clearly heard a Woolwich employee make a comment about a proposed nominee to CPAC having their name dropped because they were no longer a "friend of the Township". I was miffed at the time and regret not stepping into that one, then and there. I personally know that proposed nominee and they certainly are both a resident and a "friend of the Township". What the Woolwich employee actually was saying was that this Woolwich resident had had a falling out with Woolwich Council. She was appropriately very upset with a Decision that four out of five councillors had made that she had researched and invested a lot of time in.

Obviously this senior Woolwich employee felt that a disagreement with Council precluded any hope of their being ratified by Council to CPAC which is a committee of Council. Boy does this do a huge disservice to the maturity and ethics of Woolwich Council. Any and every political body is going to have petty, immature members. They are called human beings afterall and to err is human. It is my sincere hope that our current Council while very green 2 1/2 years ago, have long ago found their feet and are confidently approaching each and every challenge. That said they will make mistakes and they will be so criticized. Sebastian has done so and that is his absolute right. Similarily this other Woolwich resident made no bones about her disappointment with a Council Decison. Neither she nor Sebastian should be "disciplined" by Council in any form whatsoever including being removed as a volunteer from a committee of council nor being denied as a member.

So in a nutshell are volunteer, unpaid members of a committee of council expected to be boosters of said Council? Are those members there out of civic duty and responsibility to an issue or cause; or are they merely rubber stamps and mouthpieces of Council? If Woolwich Council or any municipal council want yes men and women; there are lots of those to go around including here in Woolwich. Our current CPAC are independent, strong personalities. Just as important they are honest and focused on the issue at hand which is restoring Elmira's groundwater to drinking water standards by 2028. They are doing this onerous and stressful job on their own time and at their own expense. Being "a friend of Council" is insulting and trivial and must not be a prerequisite.

Finally Sebastian in his Letter to the Editor makes the suggestion that Council should earmark their "rebranding" funds instead to the upcoming legal battles at the Ontario Municipal Board regarding the West Montrose and Conestogo (Hunder Pit) gravel pits. This nominee to CPAC completely agrees with Sebastian.

Monday, July 15, 2013


I had a long conversation with a CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) member this weekend and that person came up with a very interesting scenario which I will now present. Keep in mind that this scenario is based upon circumstantial evidence and the fact that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) have lied to and deceived the Woolwich Township public before.

FACT: We have been advised that the partial cleanup of GP1 & 2 at Chemtura will cost $2.5- 3.0 million.

FACT: Chemtura claims that no toxic chemicals are leaving their site from GP1 & 2.

FACT: The M.O.E. are publicly backing Chemtura's above claim.

FACT: The most recent M.O.E. study (2012) indicates that Dioxins and DDT are still migrating downstream in the
Canagagigue Creek most likely from Chemtura.

FACT: While both the M.O.E. and Chemtura claim it is a voluntary cleanup ($2.5- 3.0 million) this same company insist
they can't afford to fund a professional peer review consultant for CPAC to the tune of $10,000.

FACT: A CPAC member (Ron Campbell) asked an excellent question of Chemtura at the last public CPAC meeting June 27/13,
namely if you're so broke and this cleanup isn't mandatory or being ordered by the M.O.E. then why are you doing it
at all? Neither Chemtura nor the M.O.E. cared to respond to Ron's question.

CONCLUSIONS: Woolwich residents, their representatives (CPAC) and Woolwich Council have been bypassed yet again in regards to the Elmira cleanup. Most likely there once again have been private, secret negotiations between Chemtura and the M.O.E., intentionally and dishonestly eliminating the most honest and best informed citizens from the process. Chemtura have long favoured private negotiations with CPAC with the express purpose of keeping the public in the dark, contrary to CPAC's mandate. The Ontario M.O.E. are incredible hypocrites both enabling these private, backroom deals with Chemtura while publicly trumpeting public consultation via the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee . Meanwhile thank god this Woolwich Council, I believe, only has one hypocrite on it who insists that CPAC should play nice and not confront either Chemtura or the M.O.E. That hypocrite will continue their campaign to keep me off of CPAC.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Today's Woolwich Observer on page 5 carrys a full page story/commentary titled "Doctors urge province to ramp up renewable energy". This article was written by three members of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and they have a history of advocating on behalf of cleaner energy. They quote statistics such as in Ontario in 2010, Ontario's coal fired electrical plants killed 300 citizens and caused over 158,000 illnesses. Yes it is shocking. Nuclear power, natural gas, coal and home heating fuel oil contribute to climate change, respiratory illness, brain damage, cancer and or radioactive wastes and acidified lakes.

Solar power and wind power do none of the above. The doctors also claim that recent studies (2009, 2012) show that there is no scientific evidence of Wind Turbine Syndrome. This claim I am taking with a grain of salt as I recall for decades in my youth that there was no scientific evidence that smoking caused cancer. Funny how as popular opinion turned against smoking, the studies suddenly popped up everywhere.

The bottom line is that our medical community recognize that our current energy sources not only aren't sustainable but they are slowly killing us.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Yesterday's Elmira Independent came out with another story about the June 28/13 public CPAC meeting. The title of the story is "Former waste pits still a source of contention". Gail Martin, editor and reporter, states "The pits (GP1 & 2) are laced with DDT, dioxins and furans, all chemicals with significant health risks to the public.". This is the crux of failure of the Ontario M.O.E. to demand a proper removal versus a scraping (1') and capping of these two areas.

Gail unfortunately repeats Chemtura's blatantly nonsensical position that these pits are "contained" on the Chemtura property. If they were "contained" we still wouldn't be finding DDT and dioxins, in quantity, downstream in the Canagagigue Creek.

The following quote from Doug Smith of Conestoga Rovers is typical of their psuedo science " We don't want to be excavating below the water table, because we don't want to be churning up the soil and making a bigger mess than we have". What kind of drivel is this? Is the "mess" no more than wet soil and muddy sand and gravel, which is essentially irrelevant, or is he actually being honest and suggesting that the "bigger mess" would be mobilizing the deeper DDT and Dioxins?

A big issue is the depth to which both groundwater and soil samples were taken. Conestoga Rovers (CRA) on behalf of Chemtura have very carefully refused to take any intermediate or deep samples, especially soil, as this would give a much better idea of the depth to which the dioxins and DDT have migrated. Yours truly was extensively quoted by Gail Martin as follows "Marshall noted that the density of dioxins and furans are greater than water, which could permit the chemicals to migrate below the water table.". This migration could be either as dissolved dioxins/DDT in solvent laden groundwater or even as a free phase mixture, namely as a DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid). I was further quoted as follows "I would suggest that if you don't test below the water table, you'll never find anything below the water table". Further "You don't know what is four feet down, eight feet down, but I'll tell you what is down there, UA1, UA2 and UA3, (upper aquifers 1,2,3) discharging to Canagagigue Creek.".

Steve Quigley of CRA stepped in to relieve the pressure on Doug Smith by stating that dioxins and furans are hydrophobic and don't readily migrate in groundwater. This old saw may apply on some sites but not on this one as I stated "Dioxins and DDT are mobilized by solvents", and "this site is just filled with solvents.".

All in all Gail has accurately reported the pressure that CPAC are putting on Chemtura and the M.O.E.. Chemtura and CRA are responding with junk science, bull...., arrogance and stubborness . They do not have a scientifically valid leg to stand on.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story " Water just doesn't have anywhere to go". A local university professor, Blair Feltmate, was interviewed regarding both the recent Toronto and Calgary flooding and more. I'm not sure as to how this would be accomplished but he is suggesting that cities increase the amount of permeable surfaces including using materials for parking lots, sidewalks and even roadways that are permeable. Obviously current concrete and asphalt surfaces while reasonably durable certainly are not permeable, by intention.

The prof also suggests that municipalities need to redraw their floodplain maps and encompass larger areas to reflect the new reality of larger precipitation events. This of course will meet opposition from vested interests namely developers who are constantly butting heads with municipal and regional councils. Currently here they have taken the Region of Waterloo to the Ontario Municipal Board regarding an alleged lack of new development lands. Finally cities need to be proactive in promoting and protecting wetlands within their borders as they are wonderful buffers during heavy rain events.

All of these ideas will not only protect cities from flooding but they will also promote more recharge of our groundwater resources. As cities grow they need more water not less and attempting to channel all rainflow into the nearest surface water body is counterproductive and indeed impossible.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This Decision was issued two days ago and is a very dry 30 pages of reading. It is all about a couple of Motions filed by twelve Directors of Northstar Inc. who are very unhappy about being put securely on the hook to pay for ongoing and long term remediation both of their site at 695 Bishop St. as well as the off-site contamination and finally the maintenance of residential air ventilation systems throughout the Bishop St. community. It is our Ontario Ministry of the Environment who have put them on this legal and very expensive hook via naming them in a Control Order. One could almost say that the days of Directorships being handed out to celebrities, retired politicians and other big shots are over. Apparently the M.O.E. believe that Boards of Directors do have legal duties and obligations. It is also conceivable that Directorships of companies may be related to financial investments or shares in said company; in which case these Directors represent ownership in one way or the other.

This is not the first time that the Ontario M.O.E. have gone after Directors when a polluting company goes bankrupt. They did so unsucessfully twenty-two years ago with Varnicolor Chemical in Elmira. They were unsucessful because those three Directors (& investors) were able to prove that they were patsys with zero control and zero authority, who were given a small return on their investment plus named as Directors. For them it was a status thing which they soon regretted as the owner Severin Argenton essentially treated them as less than idiot cousins.

I do not see any attempt by these Directors to use that kind of defence. My suspicion is that these twelve fellows are not plumbers, electricians and insurance brokers as in the Varnicolor case. My suspicion is that they may well be worldly, professionals in the field of accounting, engineering, manufacturing etc.. This particular Decision was merely a skirmish. The big battles are coming and it will be interesting to see if the M.O.E. stand up and fight like men or if they do their usual crying for mommy when the going gets tough. My experience with the M.O.E. is that they are bullys with the little guys and gutless wonder cowards when the big boys stand up to them and tell them to f... off.

There are two questions here. Are these Directors big boys or little guys AND how much damaging info do the Directors have on the M.O.E.. If the M.O.E. were negligent and incompetent as they were in Elmira with Uniroyal; then they will attempt to negotiate a face saving way out of this. Rest assurred if it goes that route the M.O.E. will sell out the interests of the local residents and the public in a flash. They will buy their reputation out of trouble once again, using taxpayers dollars.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


"Plausible deniability" was a Hollywood tag for CIA lying about their complicity in shady operations. In my opinion much of what Chemtura and their consultants have been doing for the last twenty-four years falls under the "plausible deniability" umbrella. Yes there have been occasions when Chemtura/CRA have written a technical report of some scientific and technical merit. There have been far too many occasions when the research and data have been reasonably rigorous while the Conclusions arising from them have been out of Alice in Wonderland. In other words the interpretation of the data has been client driven and incredibly self-serving. Unremarkably there have been occasions when these self-serving interpretations have saved the company large amounts of money in allegedly unecessary remediation.

The entire DNAPL scam, sham, investigations and farce fall into the above categories. Chemtura have soldiered on with half truths, full truths and no truths despite overwhelming evidence and proven technical literature and expertise contrary to their positions. They made a sweetheart deal with the Ontario M.O.E. back on October 7, 1991 which saved them hundreds of millions of dollars and no way, no how are they going to make any honest admissions now to jeopardize that. Quite frankly rather than my being personally offended by their DNAPL dishonesty I'm beginning to feel sorry for their Elmira staff being forced to come out to CPAC meetings and publicly and blatantly tell DNAPL whoppers.

Yours truly presented a one page Delegation to CPAC at the May 30/13 meeting which gave report and page references proving the existence of free phase (ie. free flowing liquid) DNAPL discovered during the 1993 excavations at TPW2 in Chemtura's south-west corner. These reports were from Conestoga Rovers, the Region of Waterloo and even an allegedly independent hydrogeologist occasionally parachuted in by the old CPAC, namely Wilf Ruland. I fully expected a debate/discussion either at the May CPAC meeting or at the very least at the following June 27/13 CPAC meeting. Neither happened to my surprise although Chemtura did hand out a multipage CRA document titled "Summary of South Yard Drum Excavations", dated that day, June 27/13.

In the interim I've had sucessful surgery and am recuperating at home and catching up on my reading. Lo and behold what a piece of "implausible deniability" this report is. It totally ignores the facts I presented a month earlier and continues on with the Chemtura version of the truth. They make zero attempt to debate or deny. They make zero attempt to reconcile their version with the smoking gun facts and reality as presented. They have no intelligent response other than "this is my story and I'm sticking to it". This is a *Responsible Care company without shame.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Until recently Chemtura and their long time consultants, Conestoga Rovers & Assoc. (CRA), have been somewhat in limbo awaiting various stakeholders comments and criticisms regarding their Groundwater and Contaminant Transport Model Update. This alleged five year update is in actuality their response to CPAC's Resolution from about fifteen months ago. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment via their hydrogeologist, Jaimie Connolly, did give a somewhat limited endorsement at the last CPAC public meeting on June 27/13.

Chemtura have of course been trying to get CPAC to comment and commit upon this their new cleanup plan as well. CPAC as well have been guarded in their enthusiasm and I believe that is an excellent idea. The Elmira cleanup is strewn with the wreckage of a number of half baked, poorly thought out proposals. Furthermore I have seen a tendency for the bare bones only skeleton to be waved around with appropriate oohs and ahs by Chemtura fellow travellors; while Chemtura and CRA await what they feel is their due namely admiration, trust and blind faith.

I believe the expression "the devil is in the details" is quite appropriate here. While currently I don't believe that source removal (ISCO) in two off-site areas combined with a tripling of the off-site pumping rates will accomplish drinking water standards by 2028; it certainly will greatly advance the process. The unresolved issue is this: what will be the environmental cost of achieving these much greater remediation efforts? Why am I so skeptical that major short cuts are not in the cards to "support" Chemtura's new five year plan?

Here is the worst case imaginable scenario. In order to blindly reduce chemical concentrations in the Elmira Aquifers quickly why not just ignore the Canagagigue Creek for example? Add pumping wells, time, labour and cash and pump the Aquifers damn near dry while discharging (dumping) directly into the creek with little or no treatment. Remember all eyes are focused on reducing chemical concentrations in the groundwater. The opportunities for cheating and short cuts are there and the talent for stickhandling and "managing" public opinion and criticism is as well. Who is going to actually stop Chemtura from doing this? Midnight and overnight treatment bypasses might actually not be caught. Our local cop on the beat (M.O.E.) is overweight, out of shape and lacking in ethics. These are just some of the unresolved issues to date.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Old foundry "a disaster waiting to happen". Apparently there have been a number of fires intentionally set to date although thankfully each was contained quickly. I do not know how it is that some factories including foundries are demolished fairly quickly such as the old Procast in Elmira yet others simply are allowed to fall down. Any of these sites after demolition are supposed to have some sort of site assessment with removal of at least some of the more blatant subsurface contamination. Foundries while operating dispose of what are known as foundry sands. These are sand that lines the moulds into which the molten metal is poured. These sands are often impregnated with phenolic resins which chemically are a benzene ring with an OH (oxygen/hydrogen) attached to them and therefore are considered hazardous. The Crowe site is described as being "...filled with 45-gallon drums of flammable, combustible and toxic liquids.". There is absolutely no excuse for leaving these behind. My guess is that these would be cleaning solvents such as toluene, TCA, xylene as well as the forementioned benzene. While these would be very bad to inhale via smoke from a fire I would be just as concerned with these drums being vandalised and leaking through cement floor cracks into the soil beneath. Is there anyone living in Cambridge (or K-W) who thinks that their fair city needs more solvents in their groundwater?

Just to add a bigger bang to the mix there are even compressed gas cylinders on site. Between the unnecessary hazards to nearby residents and responding firefighters; our politicians should be ashamed of themselves. Quit passing the buck and someone take charge of these derelict and abandoned sites and at the absolute least remove and properly dispose of these life threatening hazards. If any folks think that theatre is more important than public health and safety then you should be forced to live next to one of these sites. Can the municipalities not do the job and then bill the province for example? Why are these initially small problems being left until they are emergencies and people's health damaged?

Friday, July 5, 2013


This week's Independent which isn't on-line yet, carrys this article "Cleanup deadline questioned". Also Editor Gail Martin has an Editorial titled "No easy fixes". Both of these writings are excellent and because of them have helped me connect a few more dots in this long running local tragedy.

Gail points out in her front page article that M.O.E. hydrogeologist, Jaimie Connolly, while supportive of Chemtura/CRA's new remediation plan, nevertheless has major concerns with their computer model and doubts that they will actually be able to achieve their mandated cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers by 2028. Gail in her Editorial gives appropriate credit to CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) for publicly sounding the warning months prior to the M.O.E.; that there is doubt that the Elmira Aquifers will be cleaned up to drinking standards by 2028.

At this point I'm going to give the background to the current scenario. In the spring of 2012 CPAC unanimously passed a Resolution which stated that the past and current cleanup plan wasn't even going to come close to cleaning the Aquifers adequately and on time. Woolwich Township Council then took this Resolution and unanimously endorsed it and sent it on to
the Region of Waterloo, the province of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. These three groups were not happy campers and believe me neither were Chemtura and their longtime consultants Conestoga Rovers. None of them would agree with the CPAC Resolution and indeed some were greatly offended by it. Overall resounding silence was their response.

These guilty parties (which included former Woolwich Township Councils but not the current one) went into damage control.
Chemtura and CRA trotted out their 5 year Model Update last November (2012). Lo and behold they and they alone supposedly determined that their current off-site pumping rates and non source removal of subsurface wastes were inadequate. They solemnly and with straight faces advised CPAC that Conestoga Rovers had devised a new plan which included a tripling of the quantity of off-site groundwater being pumped as well as In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) of two highly contaminated off-site areas. ISCO is considered a form of source removal.

Keep in mind that until last November your Ontario M.O.E. has consistently supported Chemtura/CRA cleanup plans since the mid 90's. Last Thursday the M.O.E.'s hydrogeologist formally and publicly advised that the M.O.E. support the direction that Chemtura/CRA are now going BUT have doubts that with this new and improved plan; that they can still achieve the 2028 cleanup deadline. What the hell! If you hypocritical buggers have doubts with the vastly improved new plan where the hell have you been for years (decades) with the old ones????

A further bit of history and background. The old CPAC and their Chair, former councillor Pat Mclean were very supportive of Chemtura/CRA's cleanup plans. The old CPAC occasionally parachuted in, allegedly independent hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland, primarily in my opinion to support Pat, Susan Bryant and CPAC's positions and opinions. Dr. Henry Regier was the least impressed with Wilf's alleged independent opinions and I slowly began to understand why. Henry is a legitimate scientist with a deep respect for truth, facts and logical thinking. Hindsight being 20/20 ; the old CPAC didn't know what the hell they were doing and they resented my contrary opinions to their support of Chemtura/CRA's now proven grossly inadequate cleanup plans for Elmira.

In summation I ask the public to understand that your young CPAC have blazed the way through twenty years of hard core bull...., politics and self interest. The young CPAC have shaken up the game and put the cleanup back on track. None of this would have happened without Woolwich voters turfing out the old councillors in October 2010 and bringing in new thinking. This new thinking was led by Mayor Todd Cowan, who while no longer my friend; I will not deny the truth which is if he hadn't won the October 2010 election, this incredible turnaround at CPAC and the cleanup would not have happened.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Babies exposed to toxins before birth". A number of environmental/industrial chemicals have been found in the cord blodd of some newborns in Toronto and Hamilton. "The report by Environmental Defence released Wednesday suggests babies are exposed to chemicals in the womb because pollutants are so pervasive both in the environment and in widely used consumer products.". These chemicals include PCB's, PFC's and organochlorine pesticides. Of course our neighbour here in Elmira, Chemtura, have shared their pesticides with the Grand River watershed including DDT and from the recent look of things in an M.O.E. study, are continuing to so do.

It is my belief that twenty years after the loudest environmental critics and activists are gone, the common belief and refrain will be why weren't you louder. Down the road Canadian citizens with the benefit of hindsight will see what many of us have seen and understood for the last twenty years.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this Opinion piece by Martin Regg Cohn titled "Liberals trying to bury 2010 eco-fees mess". It is amazing to me how a basically solid environmental decision/idea, if implemented badly, can backfire and bring the whole good intentions into disrepute. Tory Leader Tim Hudak talked about "Dalton McGuinty's sneaky eco-taxes.". Granted the Tories generally aren't going to support any valid environmental venture that carrys a cost with it; but in this case Mr. Hudak was on more solid ground because again the Liberals implementation was done poorly.

The new plan makes producers incorporate all environmental costs and charges into their initial selling price. "Producers could no longer pass the buck-or fob off eco-fees-onto consumers at the cash register.". This is good news and affects all consumers in Ontario of so many products which absolutely need true environmental costs included in their prices.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Jaimie Connolly of the M.O.E. was describing his support for source removal via ISCO (In-Situ Chemical Oxidation) for two off-site problem areas immediately west of Chemtura at Yara (Nutrite) and further away in the North-West direction. I therefore suggested that if two off-site problem areas were good for ISCO why not also do it to the Municipal Lower Aquifer by Varnicolor. Here we have the largest plume of off-site chlorobenzene.

I also asked Jaimie if the proposed ISCO for the Yara site would take care of not only NDMA but also diesel contamination, ammonia and pesticides on the site. Jaimie didn't even blink about the further contamination but did say he didn't know which chemical oxidant was being used. I suspect that Fenton's Reagant is the likely candidate.

In regards to my question to Jaimie about whether he & the M.O.E. had confidence in Chemtura's ability to triple their pumping, he gave a very interesting answer. He said he was confident they could do it but the question was would they do it. Well!

Susanna Meteer, SWAT team member and nominee for CPAC membership, asked Jeff Merriman of Chemtura an interesting question about a new remediation method (for DNAPLS?) called smouldering. Jeff while not very familiar with it did suggest that it sounded more like a thermal cleanup method versus a chemical one such as ISCO.

Once again yours truly advised Chemtura and the M.O.E. that I wanted some literatire reviews regarding the ability of Dioxins ?DDT binding or sorbing to different types of soils. In other words while I may buy that they sorb to topsoil I'm much more skeptical that they sorb to sand and gravel.

Lastly Chemtura/CRA keep bragging about taking groundwater samples in the south-east corner of the Upper Aquifer 1 (UA1) and supposedly only finding low levels of solvents. I believe that the results in UA3 and the Municipal Aquifer (MU) would be substantially higher and would indicate the how and why of groundwater flow of Dioxins & DDT.

The young CPAC has Chemtura/CRA/M.O.E. on the run and on the defensive and that's appropriate. Good news from Chemtura would be their source removal of drums, waste and contaminated soil in the south-west. If Chemtura want more appreciation for their efforts then they must continue on the source removal path.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Last Thursday's (June 27/13) Elmira Independent carried this story "Township seeks sunset clause for Hunsberger pit". Basically Dan Kennaley of Woolwich Township is attempting to cover all the bases ahead of time in case the Township and citizens are unsucessful at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing starting September 3/13. This base has to do with a sunset clause as well as a heritage designation for a house on the property. All councillors supported the sunset clause after further discussion and explanation however councillors Poffenroth and Bauman did not support the heritage designation on the house.

Both The Woolwich Observer and Elmira Independent have covered this controversial proposed pit well and I think the citizens of Woolwich owe them thanks for their community service.