Monday, December 30, 2013


I have two newspaper references for this posting namely the New York Times "For lakes, Small Beads Pose Threat" and the Waterloo Region Record "Group of 100 cities calls for action on "microplastics". These microplastics are tiny little beads that are used in used in personal care products such as facial and body washes, deodourants and toothpaste. They do not biodegrade but in fact are mistaken for food by fish. They also tend to become coated with poisons already in the water such as PCB's. These beads therefore bioaccumulate and could eventually work their way up the food chain, back to humans. Apparently these plastic beads are so tiny that they are not screened out at water treatment plants (ie. sewage treatment plants). This health care threat to wildlife and humans shows the wisdom in the O'Connor Report dealing with the Walkerton, Ontario water crisis over thirteen years ago. Justice O'Connor recommended a multi barrier system to keep toxins out of our water, namely not counting on end of the pipe treatment to cure all ills. Clearly Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and others counted on our sewage treatment plants to deal with this problem of their making. Poor decision.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


O.K. first off the proposed Northern Northern Gateway Pipeline is a very long ways away from Woolwich Township. So sue me for my being geographically challenged. A week ago Friday (Dec. 20/13) the Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Review panel supports Northern Gateway pipeline, but with 209 conditions". My experience with support for a project with so called "conditions" involved is that they are essentially meaningless. Here in Elmira, Ontario "conditions" on Certificates of Approval or on Control Orders are mostly window dressing. They are supposed to alleviate and mitigate concerns simply by being put on paper. In other words the 209 conditions are only as good as the integrity and ethics of both the review panel and the proponent. Hence they could be significant or not at all.

From this far away and being basically retired it's very easy for me to throw stones and bemoan the incredible environmental risks involved. These risks are more than just tangible and possible; they are most likely probably going to happen. The more miles, the more volume, the more rivers and streams that are crossed accompanied with typical Canadian oversight and supervision environmentally means there will be spills, leaks and God help us out and out disasters eventually. Does Canada as a whole actually benefit that much from this project or is it the usual very few and very wealthy simply becoming more so? We, Canadians, have become skeptics but for very good reason. Our governments at all levels lie to us constantly and without shame. Then they act surprised when we tell them we no longer believe a word they say.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Well there you go. I went down to Lazer Video this morning to pick up a DVD for the wife and I this evening as well as to get this week's Woolwich Observer. So I get home and I'm finding the Observer seems somewhat familiar. I check the date and sure enough it's last week's edition. What the heck!!! So either it's late today or it's not coming out till tomorrow. Regardless I notice a little tiny article I had missed last week. The article is titled "Woolwich to fight for transfer stations".

Quoting Mayor Cowan in the article "Addressing the issue at this week's council meeting, Mayor Todd Cowan said the savings would pale in comparison to the inconvenience caused to rural residents, noting the Elmira facility alone has seen some 25,000 visitors this year.". Well this is a good thing that our council are on board. As per yesterday's posting here I agree with him that the savings are very minor versus the services rendered. Now of course the big problem is for our one regional rep (Mayor Cowan) to be able to disuade the rest of regional council from this token, ineffective course of action.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Four waste transfer stations may close". Firstly the amount of money to be saved is a pittance. Secondly why pick on the services to the Townships other than they are low voting areas and regional councillors in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge vastly outnumber the single reps from each of the Townships. There are certain core, fundamental areas of government responsibility and I would argue that waste collection and handling is one of them. Residents here in Elmira are conscientous about taking to our waste transfer station on Howard Ave. things that can't go out in the weekly garbage.

We pay our police department $135 million per year. These four transfer stations together will save $300,000. Policemen are all rapidly approaching the $100,000 mark on wages. Yes regional councillors and others are belatedly recognizing that police salaries and wages are not sustainable. They aren't the only ones. Teachers, firemen, politicians and municipal and regional staff all have to wake up and smell the taxpayer angst. Our costs are constantly rising while our incomes are stagnant.

Cutting back on a proper outlet for our garbage will increase vehicle trips to out of town landfills/transfer stations and or increase illegal dumping. Too little too late our politicians are waking up to the reality that taxes are not a bottomless well.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


This article was in last Thursday's Elmira Independent and the title under Woolwich Council Briefs was "Township to get Source protection funding from province". Boy talk about a classic case of slamming the gate after the horse has bolted. Granted the funding is only about $30,000 and it's to cover costs of changes to zoning by-laws as well as public education programs.

The irony comes in a number of issues. First off Council are currently attempting to stop underground fuel tanks being installed on Earl Martin Drive almost beside the former south wellfield (E7/E9). The car wash would like to install them as part of their business. The question is whether that wellfield will ever be up and running again. Certainly putting underground fuel tanks beside it hardly is a vote of confidence and could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, down the road. The village of West Montrose are having their local infiltration wells in the Grand River floodplain replaced with a pipeline from Conestogo. The wells in Conestogo being used will be the ones west of the Golf Course Rd. wells which are also somewhat impacted by Grand River water.

Last but not least we look at the village of Heidelberg. A little birdie has advised me that the gas station on the main corner is being excavated again to remove source material ie gasoline. My belief is that the former owner was Elmira's illustrious, longtime former mayor, Bill Strauss.

Source protection of water supplies is a good thing but preferable when done before the wells are contaminated.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Well here in Elmira, Woolwich Township, we had our power out yesterday from 11 am until 5 pm. I know places in Kitchener had been out of power as of 6 am yesterday and were still out by 9 last evening. Meanwhile for the third time this year we had branches come down off of mature but certainly not old trees. April and yesterday was due to ice and the wind brought two branches down this past summer. Speaking of summer this last one didn't have a drought as it usually does. The prior summer however was bone dry. This fall we had weeks of rain and with the local construction on Church St. a muddy mess for months.

Are there still climate change skeptics out there? That's the deal with "global warming". It's actually more a case of climate change with extreme weather slowly becoming the norm. Certainly our neighbours to the south have had more than their fair share of destructive weather the last few years.

Anyhow this morning I'm off to replenish my supply of sand and what I call psuedo salt. it's supposed to melt ice but not actually be salt. Home Hardware here I come.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


This is a wee bit embarassing in that I have a hard copy in front of me dealing with Woolwich Township "...installing emergency standby power generators at their sanitary pumping stations...". The problem is I'm scratching my head as to the source of this document. Usually if an article comes to my attention in a local paper I physically cut the article out for use here in the Elmira Advocate. This paper clearly has been printed out by my computer printer which makes me suspect that it was an on-line news article. While possible you usually don't see on-line stuff dealing with Woolwich. Oh well the title of this article is "New Emergency Standby Power Generators at Woolwich Pumping Stations".

As I took a shot at Woolwich Council yesterday I think it's only fair to commend them when they make good decisions. This case is one of those. A few years back we had a spill/overflow of raw sewage into the Canagagigue Creek when a pumping station backed up due to no power to pump the contents to the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. It seems as if Council and staff have taken this seriously and have appropriately spent taxpayers funds to protect the health and safety of both citizens and the environment. I would hope that these appropriate infrastructure expenses are never criticized as these are the meat and potatoes of what government spending should be all about.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys this story by Gail Martin "Woolwich Township rejects funding for biogas committee". A delegation to Woolwich Council from the Woolwich Bio-En Citizens Liason Committee (CLC) asked Woolwich Council for matching funds for peer reviews of technical documents that may arise in the future. This citizens committee was mandated by the Environmental Review Tribunal after these local citizens put their time and money on the line to protect themselves and all of Elmira from possible negative effects of having a biogas facility within Elmira and very near residential areas.

A week ago I posted here that the story in the Woolwich Observer stated that Woolwich Council turned down providing any money at all to this CLC because they weren't a committee of council. As the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) was raised as an example of a committee of council it appeared in the Observer article that council were inferring that CPAC were getting money from council. I was appropriately upset by this erroneous inference hence the title of my posting "Are Woolwich Council being a tad hypocritical?"

Yesterday's story indicates that council's concern is one of both fairness and control. It wouldn't be fair to be cheap and miserly to CPAC and then give money to the Bio-En CLC. Further as was mentioned in Bob Jonkman's website (Stop the Stink) the other issue is control. Dave Brenneman, CAO of Woolwich, refers to it as council not having "...any influence on who and what our money is being used for." In other words control. I certainly hope that Dave's reference to "our money" doesn't mean council's money but instead refers to Woolwich citizens' money. To put it very bluntly this council may be in charge of Woolwich expenditures but that certainly doesn't mean they are either qualified or knowledgable about what they are doing. That being said, to their shame, past councils have behaved equally badly or worse. Their support of their own committee has been based on total control through their past Chair Pat McLean. They have not financially supported CPAC via peer reviews unless again they were in total control of the peer review through their Chair.

This Council made a major positive step in supporting CPAC's groundbreaking Resolution over a year and a half ago. Their half ways subtle removal of the old CPAC was also a huge positive step. Their financial non-support as well as their interference into CPAC's choice of new members (moi) is troubling. Will the real Woolwich Council please step forward.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Back in the early 90's when Uniroyal and the M.O.E. were talking Pump & Treat containment of their site, APT Environment coined the phrase Pump & Dump. It expressed their concerns that toxic Uniroyal compounds would be discharged directly into the creek albeit at lower concentrations than were already so discharging. Eventually the M.O.E. and Uniroyal came to an agreement on a Certificate of Approval allowing them to so discharge their treated on-site groundwater. Later on this C of A was expanded to include not only the Municipal Upper Aquifer and 1/4 of the shallow aquifer (UA) but also the off-site pumping wells.

In Table A.1 of the November Progress Report we can see the Discharge Limits for the off-site treatment of groundwater. These limits are way too high starting at .14 ppb for NDMA through 4, 5, 7, and 10 parts per billion (ppb) for other compounds. Keep two things in mind 1) there are way more than ten compounds shown in the groundwater and 2) the Ontario Drinking Water Standard (ODWS) for NDMA is .009 ppb. Therefore the current discharge limit is about fourteen times higher than the ODWS. Clearly our M.O.E. are all about dilution being the solution to pollution.

I wish to point out that the four compounds shown in Table A.3 at high concentrations in the shallow aquifer containment wells all have been defined as DNAPL chemicals. There are concentrations in the 5,000-8,000 ppb range and particularily as these compounds are hypothetically either non soluble or have extremely low solubility then it is probable that they are present in their free phase form as well. This is but one example of many indicating the falsehoods being sold to Elmira citizens and the M.O.E.'s enabling of it.

Table C.1 has an interesting detection of methylene chloride theoretically upstream at SS-110. It is usual for Chemtura and other polluters to write this chemical off as a laboratory artifact however they found it and in this case I believe them.

The good news continues to be the pumping rates off and on site. Chemtura are at long last on track with their Pump & treat system which seems to be operating these days with minimal breakdowns, shutdowns and unexpected maintenance. Let's see how long this continues.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The short and simple answer is yes. Will they be restored by 2028? Absolutely not. That was a date thrown out there via private agreement between the polluter (Uniroyal) and the (ir)responsible governing bodies of the day. The date was picked far enough down the road to ensure that most of the living activists in Elmira were either dead or senile.

Municipal, regional and provincial governments all shared responsibility for the Elmira disaster. Unlike the Walkerton disaster, the extent of Elmira's mass poisoning of citizens via drinking water has never been properly documented or publicized. This is exactly what the (ir)responsible parties have worked hard to keep hidden. Similarily the (ir)responsible parties have never provided the financial or legal resources necessary to clean up the Elmira Aquifers in a timely fashion. At the moment Chemtura, while being enabled by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, are simply running out the clock. The credibility of both parties is exactly where they have put it, and that is in the dumpster. Current promises to triple off-site pumping rates while doing source removal via In Situ Chemical Oxidation are stalled. Over a year after tripling the pumping rates was proposed we have seen no studies showing that either the Canagagigue Creek can assimilate that volume of semi contaminated discharge or that they will have a superior treatment system to dramatically lower future discharges.

The Elmira Aquifers will either be restored when we are desperate for potable water or via fifty more years of pumping and treating off-site. The former will occur when governments realize they need the drinking water now and will spend the money for proper cleanup. The latter will occur only if there is better and more complete on-site containment and more on-site source removal occurs. Both are required. All three levels of our government lied to us one to hide their culpability in the disaster and secondly to induce Uniroyal to spend time and money even on an inadequate cleanup. The public interest has come in a long, long way behind private and government interests.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Dropping water demand pushes Lake Erie pipeline past 2051". So our population continues to grow dramatically as evidenced by continuing real estate sales, new residential construction, higher traffic volumes and of course the so called need for Light Rail transit. So far so good and I can certainly agree with John Jackson's position that reliance on Lake Erie's water is very problematic. There are both huge quality and cost issues involved with the long proposed pipeline.

The problem is the horse manure being sold to the public. Yes summer lawn watering has been greatly reduced via essentially voluntary restrictions. As far as fewer washing machines, dishwashers , showers and toilet flushings give me a break. They have but one direction only to go as our ever increasing population continues to rise. The elephant in the room which apparently politicians don't want to mention is Ontario's and the Region of Waterloo's industrial collapse. Heavy and light manufacturing uses vast quantities of water. Budd, Uniroyal, Kaufman, textiles, furniture manufacturing; they've all gone south and east thankyou very much to our federal politicians via one way "free trade" deals. The rich have gotten richer while the rest of us have lost high wage jobs and the next generation never will have them. This and this alone is why the Region of Waterloo as well as other jurisdictions are experiencing relief from evergrowing water demands. It would be nice if this silver lining would extend to air pollution improvements as well but with production merely shifting around the world and air being much more homogeneous this will be limited.

Monday, December 16, 2013


CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) are proceeding with a couple of ideas which are part of their public education mandate. Speakers from CPAC whether in pairs or singularily will be accepting invitations from community groups to talk about the Elmira water contamination including the current status, future plans and goals. Yours truly has volunteered to assist in case either historical or extremely specific questions regarding Elmira's groundwater are forthcoming from the audience. Volunteers to date include Dr. Dan Holt (Chair), Sebastian Seibel Achenbach (Vise-Chair), Ron Campbell and Graham Chevreau. Certainly the last two have very technical backgrounds and as we have seen, Sebastian and Dan have attacked this, for them, new field of knowledge with vigour. Although CPAC meetings are routinely reported in the Elmira Independent neither the K-W Record nor Woolwich Observer attend, which makes it more important for CPAC members to take the message to the public directly.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "River loaded with diet sweeteners". These sweeteners specifically include cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose and acesulfame. The theme of my posting was going to be that you only find in either groundwater or surface water; compounds that you are testing for. In other words diet sweeteners today and God knows what tomorrow. It puts an entirely different perspective on our so called heritage Grand River when we begin to realize how little we actually know about what is in it courtesy of human beings.

Then my wee brain did a little jerk. I recalled from decades ago certain controversies surrounding saccharin. Sure enough a few minutes on Wikipedia brought it all back. Saccharin at one time was banned for various health hazards allegedly including carcinogenic properties. To this day cyclamates are still banned in the U.S. whereas many other countries permit them. Saccharin seems to have been rehabilatated reputation wise. One of these four even has a different name which is almost identical to a Chemtura (Uniroyal) toxic compound known as Benzothiazole. While I recognize that chemical compounds can be very close to each other and still have entirely different effects on living organisms; nevertheless I have a personal concern when I see cyclohexlamines, amines (NH) and other toxic compounds being used in foods or drinks. There definitely seems to be some serious scientific concerns with at least some of these sweeteners and that's enough for me. They should not be in the Grand River in the first place but now that we know they are there will we do anything about it or will we wait until we see negative biological effects either on wildlife or humans consuming the water?

Friday, December 13, 2013


Today's Woolwich Observer has a small article titled "No Woolwich funding for biogas group". Another title for my posting here could be "No good deed goes unpunished". This group of citizens represent the interests of all Elmira citizens via their spending their time and money by sitting on the Citizens Liason Committee (CLC) dealing with operations at Woolwich Bio-En. Thay had originally participated in public meetings and protests with the support by the way originally of Mayor Cowan and Woolwich Council. This turned south rather abruptly although major efforts were made unsucessfully to relocate the operation outside of Elmira.

They also spent their money, not the Township's in appealing to the Environmental Review Tribunal which among other things mandated setting up the CLC and a system of matching dollars for peer reviews. What I found most hypocritical in this article was the fact that councillors in refusing to turn public money over to this group who are representing the public; dared to suggest that as a committee of council they would more likely receive money. In fact they used the example of the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) being a committee of council and hence eligible for peer review money. Fat chance of that as the Township has always tried to get Chemtura to pay for any CPAC expenses. CPAC are constantly asking for money for peer reviews of technical documents produced by Chemtura's consultants CRA. To state that CRA's reports are client driven is a major understatement and even newer CPAC members understand that. Just recently Council have offerred to pay travel expenses for CPAC members to attend meetings. This is nothing more than a reminder as to which body are in charge and as the article states CPAC are under the control of the Township. It absolutely isn't a case of the blind leading the blind. It's a case of the woefully ignorant and biased constantly imposing on a group of dedicated and constantly learning volunteers. To have Councillor Bauman reporting back to Council on CPAC matters is unfortunate. His ideas and motives quite clearly are in conflict with the rest of CPAC with only one possible exception.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


This past spring as usual we received the 2012 Annual Monitoring Report. Appendix D is referred to as "Trend Analysis". In reality it is no such thing. Ostensibly it shows contaminant trend directions (up/down/no trend) for NDMA and Chlorobenzene both on and off the Chemtura site and in different aquifers primarily the Municipal Upper (MU) and the Municipal Lower (ML).

There are numerous difficulties with their analysis. First off they use the Mann Kendall test which on occasions gives bizarre interpretations. Most of us can look at a simple graph and determine if the line is rising versus falling. As the vertical axis is concentrations and the horizantal is time it's pretty straightforward. Secondly only looking at two parameters is ridiculous. There are most likely all kinds of nasty surprises in the Elmira Aquifers from a plethora of sources including Yara, Chemtura, Varnicolor and a myriad of past leaking gas stations. For example I doubt that Chromium vi has ever been tested for despite the long standing textile industry in Elmira.

Thirdly are the wells that Conestoga Rovers have chosen to examine for their "trend analysis". Many of these off-site wells are essentially outside the NDMA and Chlorobenzene plumes. Hence they have a multitude of non-detects. Basically there are enough MU and ML wells in Elmira to get a good understanding of the trends. Except of course they are not tested regularily by CRA. Therefore there isn't enough data to really see any longterm trends.

Finally with all these drawbacks what does CRA's testing show us? Essentially nothing. There are a few Decreases, a couple of Increases, a lot of No Trends and a lot of > 50% non-detects. There is absolutely based on Chemtura's/CRA's analyses no realistic optimism that they are indeed cleaning up the Elmira Aquifers on a timeline that would remotely achieve drinking water in all Elmira Aquifers by 2028 as ordered.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Ontario tilts against wind turbines as costs soar". According to this article written by Martin Regg Cohn someone has goofed big time. Apparently too many contracts for too much money wasn't such a hot idea. It turns out that wind blows generally not during peak demand times for electricity but during low demand times. Isn't that just dandy? The belief in Ontario to expand wind power generation without due diligence has caused poer bills to rise beyond what is politically acceptable. Hence while we still hope that coa; is soon to be gone apparently natural gas is still the go to power source. You can turn it off and on when required; easier, faster and cheaper than anything else. Like all good ideas maybe enough homework wasn't done sooner.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I and many others have been waiting patiently now for two months to find out what decision the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) are going to make regarding the proposed Hunder Pit between Conestogo and Winterbourne. I posted two articles on October 9/13 giving my summation of the hearing as well as my summation of the entire process. While I was positively impressed with the case made by the Conestoga Winterbourne Residents Association (CWRA), Woolwich Township and the two participants (Della Stroobacher & Bob Weber) I can not say the same for the overall OMB process. I must also add that the proponent, his lawyers, witnesses and various experts all did their job professionally and clearly.

I do not know if two months is a usual time frame for these decisions or not. I do know how much testimony and evidence was presented and while significant it was far from overwhelming. Whichever way the decision is going it is time. People need to get on with their lives and they need to know under what circumstances. There is an opportunity through this hearing to add a couple of new conditions to a go ahead decision. Whether that is a sticking point while the Chair gets legal advice or not I do not know.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Here are a couple of further thoughts or ideas relating to the now biannual Biomonitoring Study. This study occurs in the late spring/early summer and involves clams and leeches bioaccumulating toxins from the water and sediments of Canagagigue Creek for only a three week period. After the three weeks the clams are removed and their tissues tested for the presence of DDT, Dioxins/Furans. The leeches are tested for chlorophenols only in their tissues. There are at least two problems that I see with this methodology and that is the short time span of only three weeks and the other is the time of year. I am beginning to see a pattern with both the downstream testing of soils and sediments for DDT and Dioxins as well as with this biomonitoring study of clams done in late spring. In other words if there is a spring scouring of sediments during high flow season (March/April) then most likely DDT and Dioxin/Furan presence is temporarily reduced. The fact that these toxins are most likely being moved downstream to be enjoyed by wildlife and humans on an annual basis is another issue that needs to be addressed.

As was mentioned in last Thursday's posting here; these toxins continue to leave the Chemtura site. It is recognized that they are leaving in reduced quantities from the past but that only is evidence that source removal is the way to go in addressing these issues versus decades more of questionable hydraulic containment. Chemtura and consultants have never been particularily forthcoming on the transport mechanisms of DDT and Dioxins. They have long argued that they can not flow in groundwater. The evidence does not fully support their position. CPAC need an honest, unbiased peer review around this report and numerous issues arising from it. As long as the Ontario M.O.E., Chemtura, Region of Waterloo and Woolwich Council think otherwise then it is clear that none of them are interested in the truth. They are still interested in short term politics versus the long term health of the environment and all living things in it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Gail Martin, editor of the Elmira Independent, wrote this Editorial last Thursday namely "Clarity needed". The previous week we the public as well as CPAC and SWAT learned that there are no written specifics surrounding Chemtura Canada's 2028 deadline for restoring Elmira's groundwater. We learned that there is absolutely no mention of whether the Bedrock Aquifer is considered part of the Elmira Aquifers and thus included in the remediation process. That the Bedrock Aquifer is highly contaminated with NDMA is undisputed. What appears disputed is whether it will be addressed in a timely fashion.

Secondly Gail Martin has rightly pointed out that Chemtura's attempts to do pilot testing of ISCO or In Situ Chemical Oxidation have to date been unsucessful. ISCO is a type of source removal of contaminants via chemically breaking them down. What Gail only briefly touched on was the plan, now a year old, to triple the pumping rates of off-site wells allegedly in order to speed up the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers. Again to date no progress has been presented. There are major issues and studies required and while the consultants to Chemtura, Conestoga Rovers, may be doing them, that is unacceptable. When it comes to tripling the volume of mostly remediated groundwater to the Canagagigue Creek; an independent study needs to be done. Mostly remediated groundwater in moderate quantities is a far cry from even better cleaned groundwater at three times the volume. Simply exporting the contamination from Elmira's Aquifers down the Canagagigue Creek to be shared with Kitchener-Waterloo is not the solution.

Friday, December 6, 2013


This week's edition of the Elmira Independent has two articles as well as an Editorial by Gail Martin all dealing with last week's Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). The titles are "No cleanup target defined for Chemtura" on pg.1, "Chemtura advised to take lessons from Alberta industry" pg.3 and the Editorial on pg.4 titled "Clarity needed".

The no cleanup target refers to the lack of specicivity around how many aquifers need to be at drinking water standards by 2028. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach and Graham Chevreau raised the issue concerning the Bedrock Aquifer in Elmira. Yours truly had read NDMA concentrations greater than 5,000 parts per trillion in this aquifer. With a drinking water standard of only 9 ppt, one can see the huge problems ahead. Conestoga Rovers gave CPAC the vague response that they were currently focusing on the Municipal Aquifers and that was adequate to address the deeper Bedrock aquifer. CPAC made it clear that the targets for 2028 needed to be clearly spelled out now as ignoring the Bedrock Aquifer issue until then was a grave error.

Regarding the pg. 3 article Pat McLean pointed out that Chemtura had broken promises that they had given in order to receive their last verification under *Responsible Care. These promises included focus groups, community newsletters and an updated, ongoing website. The irony here is that it was Pat McLean herself who handed Chemtura their last verification against the wishes of CPAC and their representative Dr. Dan Holt. The locals did not believe Chemtura remotely deserved this verification but with representatives from Scarborough and Guelph combined with Pat McLean's vote they got it. Her hypocrisy and ignorance of the facts is stunning as is her support for this company. By the way the last broken promise of Chemtura's has to do with fenceline monitoring of their air emissions. This is a pet project of Pat's and as long as she and her colleague keep giving concessions and kudos to Chemtura they will keep accepting them. Afterall the only price they have to pay is broken promises.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


This study used to be annual and now it's only every two years. It's been going since the mid 90's and the parameters being examined for biological uptake are chlorophenols (leeches), DDT and Dioxins into clams. We at CPAC and SWAT received this study probably back in September and as there have been really only two improvements namely in 1997 (upper aquifer containment) and 2006 (excavation of island and creekbank); it's difficult to jump into this report. Nevertheless I am refreshing my memory as well as seeing a few anomolies in this year's report to date.

As expected the big drop in chlorophenols in leeches occurred after the south-west corner of the Uniroyal/Chemtura site was hydraulically contained in 1997. Chlorophenols flow readily in groundwater and were being discharged via groundwater from the south-west ponds namely RPW 5,6,7, & 8. The M2 area a former Town of Elmira dump also used by Uniroyal was also a source. Similarily DDT and Dioxins had preferentially bonded with soils and sediments in the south-west area including a small island in the Canagagigue Creek. This excavation and removal of soils and sediments also has greatly reduced the uptake of them by clams put in the creek in cages every second summer.

Here is where it gets interesting. Chlorophenols, DDT and Dioxins and Furans are still being discharged into the creek from Chemtura and being absorbed via clams, leeches and probably many other organisms moving up the food chain. Also of interest is the relatively higher quantities being found at Station 17 downstream past the Chemtura property line. This data combined with the recently found high concentrations of DDT further downstream in the Canagagigue sediments may actually force the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) into action. Their long held excuse for not ordering more on-site source removal has been that everything is contained. This is absolute rubbish and the M.O.E. know it. That site, while improovements have been made, nevertheless has never stopped discharging its' toxic contaminants into the natural environment including air, groundwater and surface water.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


While sewage treatment is hardly the sexiest of environmental topics nevertheless it is of huge significance. The fact that the City of Waterloo plant is four months behind schedule; in the long run should not be significant. Far more significant are updates and improvements that aren't even scheduled yet. If and when the time comes that all sewage in Waterloo Region receives tertiary treatment prior to discharge to surface bodies of water, that will be a day worth bragging about.

Right now there are gaps in treatment capacity and quality. Emergency backups for power and holding capacities still require attention. Every single year there are spills and bypasses from our wastewater facilities into receiving bodies of water. That the Ontario Ministry of the Environment authorizes these bypasses during heavy rain and or other treatment plant emergencies does not justify them. More money should be funnelled towards the necessity of keeping our Heritage River, the Grand, clean for the future . This may delay or even end various "legacy" projects that our politicians want for their self aggrandizement, but so be it. A prime example is the LRT. Put that money instead into infastructure and sewage treatment. Future generations will thank us. Today's Waterloo Region Record story is titled "Waste water plant delays costing another $1.2 million".

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


There was an interesting article in the Waterloo Region Record last October 31/13 titled "Making wise energy investments for Ontario". This article was written by Tim Weis and Jeff Harti of the Pembina Institute. While they applaud Ontario's decision not to build more nuclear reactors they criticize the plan to spend billions refurbishing old ones. They claim that nuclear refurbishment is extraordinarily time consuming and expensive. Recent headlines do indicate that all Ontario residents are paying through the nose for their electricity.

Part of the calculations involve forecasts of future demand. Apparently the "new economy" ie. less heavy manufacturing and more high tech has resulted in a huge drop in electricity demand by what manufacturing we have left in Ontario. These two gentlemen are suggesting further going down the road of energy conservation as well as renewable energy alternatives.

Monday, December 2, 2013


First huge point. Pat Mclean appeared as a Delegation to CPAC and she was treated with courtesy and respect which in my opinion she does not deserve. She has shown a politician's willingness to throw colleagues and serious environmentalists under the bus when it suits her purposes. She did this only partly by ganging up with the former CPAC on Dan and Vivienne at a meeting at the public library to which they had been invited a couple of summers back.

The CPAC Terms of Reference used to be totally ridiculous. Now they are merely hypocritical as our Woolwich Council pick and choose which items to either enforce or not. The most asinine terms deal with membership. The document states that best efforts will be made to invite and include environmental groups in Elmira/Woolwich. There are two groups which have led the aquifer cleanup charge since 1989 and they were specifically in mind when that term was included back in 2000. APTE were specifically excluded by this Council in the spring of 2011 as Mayor Todd Cowan had advice from a number of experts (myself included) that their leadership had strayed dramatically and politically from the path necessary to rehabilitate the Elmira Aquifers. The Elmira Environmental Hazards Team (EH-Team) via myself were put on CPAC in the spring of 2011 only to be removed shortly thereafter as the Mayor and Councillor Julie Ann Herteis sufferred hissy fits. This past summer Mayor Cowan reversed himself and along with Alan Poffenroth voted to put me back on CPAC, at CPAC's express wish . Councillors Bryant, Herteis and Bowman voted no. Hypocrisy, stupidity, pettiness and politics go hand in hand with this Council. The politics refers to the apparent voting block between Mark Bauman and Bonnie Bryant. This may be to counteract the Julie Ann Herteis/ Todd Cowan voting block.

Steve Quigley of Conestoga Rovers, longtime consultants to Uniroyal/Chemtura reminded me why I stay on top of things technically. I have found over two decades of dealing with polluters, the Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.), consultants and other assorted experts that when pressed they often automatically resort to bullshit. They attempt to intellectually intimidate honest and involved citizens. Long ago I decided to even up the playing field by learning and memorizing everything I could in order to meet them head on in discussions, debates and arguments. It wasn't nearly as hard as I expected because they don't have either the truth or facts on their side. This time Steve Quigley tried to use the old excuse that there was a thick aquitard below the south-east corner of Chemtura's site which prevented deep penetration by DDT, Dioxins, solvents and other nasty toxins. I called Steve on this by pointing out that CRA's own reports showed otherwise. There is little or no aquitard between the Upper Aquifer (UA) and the Municipal Aquifer (MU) in the south-east corner. Steve was left sputtering which has happened often enough that he should no better by now than to be resorting to inaccurate technical arguments to back his client's position.