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.

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