Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Last March 25, 2014 I appeared as a Delegate at Woolwich Council to inform them and the public regarding drinking water issues in Woolwich Township. I briefly described the problems with water received via pipeline from Waterloo. My focus was on the highest detections of Total Coliform and E.Coli bacteria throughout Waterloo Region being consistently found in the raw water for West Montrose. After a meeting on April 2/14 with Woolwich Councillors Bonnie Bryant and Mark Bauman I was asked by Mark to produce written questions that could be put to the Region of Waterloo. Within a couple of days and many hours of hard work I sent the Township three pages of technical questions regarding the West Montrose water supply and treatment.

Based upon a slew of paperwork e-mailed me yesterday by the Township from both the Region of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment; I have come up with the following timelines. On April 15/14 the Region of Waterloo sent a response to Woolwich Township regarding my written two page Delegation to Woolwich Council on March 25/14. Thus I received this formal response from the Region of Waterloo to my Delegation, three and a half months after the fact. Thank you very much Woolwich Township.

The Region then responded to my questions sent to them in early April by e-mail on May 26/14. E-mail that is to Woolwich Township personnel, not to me. After complaining in early June to Councillor Bauman about the delay in receiving the Region's responses I was advised that indeed the Region had responded to the Township but that I couldn't have those responses until after the Ministry of the Environment had also responded to my questions. When the hell did the M.O.E. get involved and added to the picture? Sure enough they took their sweet time in responding to my questions. Well actually they didn't. First of all they claim they received my list of questions from Woolwich Township on JUNE 18 TH. It took Woolwich Township from May 26 to June 18 just to get the three pages over to them. I've been advised that several carrier pigeons expired on route due to the contaminated air between Elmira and the M.O.E.. Secondly the M.O.E. then took from June 18/14 until July 25/14 to send not technical responses but a two page letter telling the Township that they agreed with and supported the Region's answers and position regarding West Montrose drinking water. This two page letter from the M.O.E. to the Township is undated and I have only the e-mail trail to go by.

This is quite a strange letter from the M.O.E.(Lisa Williamson). The M.O.E. apparently are going to remove their monitoring requirements regarding chloramine exceedances that are allegedly of short duration. This is quite a turnaround from their longterm practices. The 2013 Annual (Drinking Water) Report published by the Region for West Montrose has chloramine exceedances printed on page three as well as the bottom of page six and all of page seven. This is quite a method the M.O.E. have devised to avoid further embarassing evidence that disinfection of highly bacteria contaminated water produces dangerous compounds including chloramines. Perhaps future reports will simply avoid embarassing data and go straight to the world class puffery of which they are famous.

Finally the Region's answers to my detailed questions. One of them they answered surprisingly straightforwardly. They answered YES to this question: "Do the West Montrose wells have the largest number of detections of E.Coli and Total Coliforms of any wells in Waterloo Region?". Many questions they answered with a non answer. In other words they stickhandled and avoided a straight answer. The M.O.E. actually directly answered this one following question in their letter that the Region wimped out on. "Has the Ontario M.O.E. given the Region of Waterloo permission to operate the West Montrose System with regular chloramine levels in excess of the ODWS?" (Ont. Drinking Water Standards) The M.O.E. categorically answered NO. The Region also very annoyingly answered numerous straightforward questions by advising me to go online and look up a specific report they have done. Of course there was no page number, chapter number or other reference given. That is not being transparent or honest when you could simply answer the question directly. To date I've only noticed one internal contradiction in the Region's responses. Similarily I've only spotted to date one apparently idiotic answer. By their numbering system question #32 "Does the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act or O.Reg 170/03 suggest this differentiation?". I am referring to chloramines being defined as "short term analyser spikes". The Region's answer was: "The statement is for information only.". What the hell kind of an answer is that???

Therefore I and the public have waited from May 26 until July 28 for the M.O.E. to advise that they are going to remove the requirements surrounding allegedly short term chloramine exceedances. They answered all of one of my questions initially written strictly for the Region's response. The Region's responses require further study but to this point they are devious and unacceptable. Does the Township understand that or do they even care? Did making me wait two months to see the Region's responses have any legitimate purpose or was it simply bureaucratic and political delay and obstruction?

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