Thursday, January 16, 2014


The first Saturday of this month I posted here in the Advocate an article suggesting that Elmira's north wellfield may have been contaminated for many years prior to NDMA being found in the south wellfield in November 1989. Two other points should be added to that analysis. Firstly the south wellfield has been pumping to waste for over twenty years now. The rate is 26.5 litres per second which translates to about 300 gallons per minute or 18,000 gallons per hour or 432,000 gallons per day. This treated waste discharges into Landfill Creek and then into the Canagagigue Creek. If the north wellfield was not drawing contaminated water from Uniroyal/Chemtura due to the majority of the plume moving southwards via both natural groundwater direction combined with major southern pumping; then there would be no reason not to use these northwern wells to at least augment our water supply. Lest we forget Elmira's population has dramatically increased at the same time as the whole Region of Waterloo have been on lawn watering restrictions for many years. We need the water and I'm sure Waterloo who have been supplying us with their water for many years could use that water themselves. Secondly there is a water supply method variously referred to as "musical chairs" and or as "whac-a-mole". The latter expression is on page 240 of the book "TOMS RIVER" by Dan Fagin. The former is one I've used in reference to the games I see occurring with Cambridge's drinking wells. Essentially one either dilutes a contaminated well with other cleaner wells or one takes turns pumping multiple wells until the contaminant plume has been drawn towards the current well(s) being pumped. Those wells are then shut down and others started up thus pulling the plume back towards themselves.

This second method as stated I believe I have seen when looking at drinking wells being shutdown for weeks and months or longer in Cambridge, Ontario. Then they are started up and other wells shut down for extended periods. In the case of Toms River, New Jersey the water company with state and municipal knowledge played that game with Trichloroethylene (TCE) without advising their citizens and customers. In a nutshell if one set of politicians can persuade themselves that their citizens don't deserve the truth or they might correctly interpret this game as a desperate ploy to avoid accountability for water pollution then another set here in Elmira could have done the same.

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