Friday, November 29, 2013


As usual the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) was held in the Woolwich Council Chambers at 6 pm.. There were two formal Delegations last evening; one from myself and one from Pat Mclean. Hers dealt with a comparison of the citizen advisory panel she had seen in Alberta with what we have in Elmira. She challenged Chemtura to recommit on their ten year cleanup plan. Further she asked whether Chemtura had ever used neonicotonoids on their seed treatments. After a followup question from myself Jeff Merriman said they aren't currently and he doesn't think they have in the past. Hmm. She also challenged the Ontario M.O.E. to instigate real time air emissions for Elmira residents.

My Delegation was in regards to the latest off-site groundwater testing done last summer. While I focused on NDMA and how many times greater than drinking water standards the concentrations still were; I also read some chlorobenzene concentrations. Clearly the length and breadth of the three Elmira aquifers are totally and completely undrinkable for the forseeable future or more.

Ron Campbell the Chair of SWAT (soil, water, air & technical) gave an interesting and informative presentation which he described as Toxicology 101. The difference between bioaccumulative and biomagnification was described. We were advised that toxins such as DDT moving up the food chain can biomagnify uo to 200,000 times.

Sebastian Seibel Achenbach and Vivian Delaney made comments and asked Ron questions such as how toxicologists come up with their numbers and described changes in understanding as to how Agent Orange (dioxin) can adversely affect human DNA. Sebastian also got the GP1 & 2 ball rolling again asking about the change in capping plans and whether or not the removed soil was tested for contaminants or not. Graham Chevreau suggested that the TCLP analysis was not very helpful or comprehensive. One of the best comments was Ron's asking again why the multi million dollar project was done at all if there was no leakage or off-site impacts.

Richard Clausi raised the recent news about the Love Canal problems. I found Steve Quigley's (CRA) response to be rather defensive as he suggested that it was all about a nearby sewer cleaning project and perhaps some inappropriate sewer bedding materials ie. toxic soil.

There was a long discussion regarding discharge criteria into the Canagagigue Creek when the off-site pumping is allegedly tripled. While the M.O.E. will have some control through an amended Certificate of Approval (now known as an ECA); they flatly refused to do an independent study of the creek's assimilative capacity. They will simply respond to Chemtura's consultants (CRA) reports and therein lies the huge problem.

Overall Mark Bauman was a pleasant surprise with his questions and comments. Of particular interest to me (and CPAC) is his apparent strong common sense understanding of the folly of leaving Chemtura's solid and liquid wastes buried on their site for future generations to have to deal with. I can forgive a number of sins if Mark sticks to his guns on that matter.

Rich Clausi is also helping the Chair Dan Holt with attempting to get local high school students involved environmentally, including attending CPAC meetings. Chair Dan also suggested a speakers' bureau made up of CPAC members to attend and speak to local community organizations.

As Chemtura/CRA are having such difficulty in getting suitable ISCO (chemical oxidation) test sites I seriously suggested they try behind the old Varnicolor site near CH70 where there are extremely high Chlorobenzene concentrations especially in the Municipal Lower (ML) Aquifer.

The interesting turn suggested in the title relates to a matter Sebastian raised and then morphed into a discussion around the Bedrock Aquifer. Steve Quigley (CRA) had attempted to abort the discussion by suggesting that the Bedrock Aquifer wasn't currently important. Well Graham Chevreau initially, followed by yours truly, Ron Campbell, Mark and others all jumped in. As Graham had suggested this matter needed to be formally set out sooner than later otherwise in 2028 we could have the scenario of reasonably clean water in one or two aquifers while the Bedrock was still capable of contaminating the others. From here the discussion also touched on the possibility/probability of Chemtura someday packing it in and taking their marbles stateside. I suggested that that might actually increase the possibility of the M.O.E. doing source removal once Chemtura abandoned their site.

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