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?

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