Tuesday, September 30, 2014


You will be asked to make changes to CPAC both by private citizens and by Councillor Mark Bauman. These changes could include major changes to the committee membership or even removing CPAC as a committee of Council. Both of these scenarios will have significant repercussions to the cleanup of both the Elmira Aquifers and the downstream Canagagigue Creek. Lately a couple of CPAC members have advised me that they believe they are seeing a positive change in Mark Bauman's attitude and understanding around Chemtura and M.O.E. intransigence and credibility. On occasion I share that opinion but frankly I believe his political instincts not to antagonize powerful interests undermine his speaking bluntly and forthrightly in opposition to their neverending disinformation.

Yesterday I posted that a couple of major positions taken by the current CPAC have been substantiated and reinforced by more third parties. The position that the 2028 cleanup deadline will not honestly occur was first promulgated and publicized by yours truly in this venue and as a Delegation to CPAC. The current CPAC assisted by three professionals in the field (David Marks hydrogeologist, Ron Campbell Acute Environmental & Dr.Gail Krantzberg McMaster Univ.) studied the issue and concurred. Their 2012 Resolution was unanimously passed (including Mark) and then endorsed by Woolwich Council. The old CPAC, Chemtura, Conestoga Rovers and the M.O.E. all denied it. The M.O.E. appear to have finally come around. The others have not.

It is possible that misinformation in Bob Burtt's recently self published book will be used in an attempt to persuade you to make bad decisions. Let me clarify misinformation coming from totally unqualified or even incompetent sources. Firstly the author Bob Burtt has been retired for close to a decade. He has not attended public CPAC meetings either regularily or at all since 2005 or earlier. Many of his sources are second and third hand. Former M.O.E Director (West Central) Bill Bardswick attended loudly and aggressively two CPAC meetings in the last four years. I believe it was many years prior to that since he last attended CPAC. Wilf Ruland has not shown his face at CPAC in the last four years. Eric Hodgins has attended at least a couple of times. Susan Bryant and Pat Mclean boycotted this CPAC for the first two years. After that the two of them have alternated attendance sporadically. On some occasions Pat made a Delegation to CPAC at the start of the meeting and then immediately departed. These are major sources in Bob's book, several of whom have loudly and emphatically criticized the current CPAC. Shame on them for their dishonesty, disrespect and plain sour grapes towards the current CPAC.

Conestoga Rovers & Associates, Chemtura and George Karlos (M.O.E. pg. 112) give credit to CRA for their "...large scale review completed in 2012.'. This review was released in November 2012, seven months after CPAC's Resolution stating that the 2028 cleanup wasn't going to happen and that source removal was required. CRA's review included incorporating the new idea here in Elmira of using In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO), a form of source removal. The CPAC Minutes reflect that I suggested using ISCO here years ago, after it was used in Cambridge (approx. 2009) to breakdown subsurface trichloroethylene courtesy of Northstar Aerospace. I believe that CRA with M.O.E. & Chemtura prodding introduced their plan as a face saving device. In the alternative the current CPAC were still well ahead of the other parties who vigorously denounced CPAC's Resolution then and now.

Past and current Woolwich Councils have made huge mistakes concerning the Chemtura file. Consulting only limited parties with either limited knowledge and expertise or with axes to grind will compound those errors.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Gail Martin published a story in last Thursday's Elmira Independent regarding a book being published by former Record reporter Bob Burtt. I suspect that Gail had not received it or read it before her article was written but I do not know that with certainty yet. The book's basic but confused theme is reflected in its' name "No Guardians At The Gate". While the book repeatedly and appropriately pounds the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for their negligence, at the same time it allows an extremely uninformed senior M.O.E. officer the opportunity to vent his frustrations both on the current CPAC and upon myself. While I am flattered with the attention including Bill Bardswick's claim that I have major influence upon the current CPAC; Mr. Burtt has failed as an allegedly unbiased author/reporter of the facts.

Mr. Burtt gives prominence to criticisms from persons with huge axes to grind. Neither Susan Bryant nor Pat McLean have ever gotten over their disrespectful and summary dumping from CPAC by Mayor Todd Cowan after the last municipal election. Their claims of withdrawing their Applications at the last minute were simply a facesaving device after they knew that I was on and they were off. While I cheerfully agreed with Todd's decision I also acknowledge that his and Council's unconscionable delays and stalling was unnecessarily cruel to Pat and Susan.

Then we have Bill Bardswick. He is clearly acting as a proxy for George Karlos of the M.O.E.. Poor George has been batterred at CPAC entirely by his own doing. George made it a mission to have me removed from SWAT a sub-committee of the current CPAC. George did this both publicly and privately but this time neither the M.O.E. nor Chemtura had inside men (Pat & Susan) to help with the job. CPAC indeed did give me a vote of confidence in August 2013 when four of their five members went to Woolwich Council asking to have me put back on CPAC. On page 93 of Bob's book we get a rare glimpse into M.O.E. interference into the public consultation process. Mr. Bardswick admits lobbying the Mayor against appointing me to CPAC. Bill is not and has never been accused of being an Einstein. Yes he retired last June from the M.O.E. but his admissions will damage them especially in regards to interfering in the public consulation process. While Pat & Susan led the charge eight years ago they did so by lying and constantly shifting their allegations. Perhaps a few honest members of the old CPAC will recall that the original charges by Pat and Susan concerned a Certificate of Approval for an Ammonia Treatment System (ATS). Funny how that dropped off the radar as they looked for more dirt to get themselves traction.

Mayor Cowan. What a piece of work. He is a pathetic, compulsive liar looking over his shoulder awaiting possible criminal charges regarding his admitted double expensing of Woolwich township and the Region. Regarding his lying he claims in the book that I phone him regularily. I haven't phoned him in three and a half years since Council ejected me from CPAC. The irony of course is that Council ejected me not CPAC. They welcomed me with open arms and yes I have properly and appropriately assisted their talented members by primarily providing them technical documentation that no one else has or will provide in a timely fashion.

Kudos to Jeff Merriman. Yes there are a few little lies in his quotes but they are to buttress his employer's (Chemtura) position. Overall he stays clear of blatant muckraking and personal lies. Wilf Ruland is ever the brown noser to the powerful. He too was a major loser when Pat & Susan got turfed. No more easy money from CPAC (ie. woolwich township) by supporting the position at CPAC of the two (Pat & Susan) who got him and kept him hired.

Why is the current CPAC the winner you ask. It is because we have further written support for this CPAC's (and yes mine as well) groundbreaking truth that the 2028 deadline will not be honestly met. This is supported by Eric Hodgins (Region of Waterloo page 112), Woolwich Council and yes even Bill Bardswick (MOE) admits it on page 94. We also have admissions that source removal is a good thing. Whether from Wilf Ruland (page 88) or Eric Hodgins (page 113) it is wonderful and long overdue. It is unfortunate that hydrogeologist Wilf could not have stayed in his area of expertise (hydrogeology) and kept out of internal politics and sour grapes.

We also see who are wearing the white hats versus the black hats. Both Chemtura and the M.O.E. support Pat and Susan in charge of CPAC. Both Chemtura and the M.O.E. despise myself and the current CPAC. That should say it all for perceptive readers of Bob's book.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Jeff of Chemtura once again claimed that on-site inspections done in the last couple of years indicate that ground surface contours from Chemtura's former east pits (RPE 1-5) are not heading off site in an easterly direction. As I have done countless times over the past two decades plus I corrected Jeff (& Uniroyal/Chemtura). His inspection fifteen years after approximately 28,000 tonnes (or cubic metres?) of grossly contaminated material was removed from RPE 4 & 5 is irrelevant. A huge hole was left in the ground which would have at best been backfilled level with the surrounding terrain. There are detailed drawings and diagrams of the pits produced by their consultants when they were in use clearly showing that they were elevated by a few metres above the surrounding topography.

Mark Bauman indicated that he did not advise the Martin family this last summer that they have been diverting water into their swimming pond that comes from both ground and surface water from Chemtura's property as well as Stroh's. Mark also privately before and after the meeting is lobbying myself and others to be responsive to Woolwich Council no longer having CPAC as a committee of Council. Perhaps Mark is honestly echoing a suggestion of mine going back many years or perhaps he is dishonestly making like a politician and setting the stage to rid Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment of their worst nightmare. That worst nightmare is an honest, informed and dedicated CPAC who are not beholden to the company for expense paid trips around North America like former members.

Dr. Dan appeared to shock Jeff Merriman when he advised him that a professional geophysicist was preparing a technical report on CPAC's behalf dealing with off-site (east side) contamination with Dioxins and DDT. This is so patently unfair to Chemtura as they have had a monopoly on using client driven consultants to promote their self serving agenda.

Dr. Dan also took a round out of the absent M.O.E. by reading exerpts stating that contrary to George Karlos repeated claims; the M.O.E. need neither warrants nor permission to go on private property in their mandate to protect the environment. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura advised that the M.O.E. always ask for permission first although he did admit that they have shown up announced at their front gate. This is a small improvement over the bad old days.

Ken Jantzen a local resident spoke at the Public Forum part of CPAC's Agenda. He is extremely well informed technically and shared some excellent information with CPAC. He bluntly stated that the M.O.E. are in a conflict of interest position regarding dealing with polluters while their duty is to protect the Crown and public's interests. He also suggested that the Elmira cleanup has taken far too long to date and is absurd.

As indicated yesterday Graham Chevreau's Motion carried unanimously regarding M.O.E. failures to investigate and clean up off-site contamination onto the Stroh and martin properties. Further their failures to end the decades long contamination of the Canagagigue Creek with DDT and Dioxins is incomprehensible.

Both Chemtura and the M.O.E. are becoming desperate as this CPAC exert pressure both for the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers by 2028 as well as for more source removal to clean up the creek downstream.

Friday, September 26, 2014



Oh boy are the Ontario Ministry of the Environment doing their utmost to throw away whatever tatters of respect they have left in Elmira, Ontario. George Karlos the Assistant Director of the West Central District of the M.O.E. had a subordinate send an e-mail to the CPAC Secretary at 1:55 pm. yesterday advising that zero M.O.E. staff would be in attendance for last night's public CPAC meeting. These meetings are set for 6 pm. of the last Thursday in each month. The dates for the entire year are set at the start of each calendar year. Normally from two to four M.O.E. personnel attend each monthly CPAC meeting. The e-mail sent has been shared with CPAC and SWAT and there was not any excuse or reason given for the no show advised four hours before the meeting. In twenty-three years of UPAC and CPAC meetings I have on a couple of occasions seen the out of town M.O.E. (Hamilton) cancel due to severe weather conditions in the winter time. Last evening the weather was perfect and this behaviour unprecedented.

Without so much as a hint of a "force majeur" as suggested by CPAC member Ron Campbell; it appears that George's nose is way out of joint based upon the evolution of this CPAC from well educated and intelligent individuals without a background regarding Chemtura in Elmira; to a group of experienced CPAC members fed up with being given the mushroom treatment by the M.O.E.. This evolution over nearly four years has been helped by two highly experienced and technically knowledgable individuals namely Ron Campbell and Graham Chevreau. I would modestly like to suggest that I have also assisted in the process with my 25 years of Chemtura/Elmira experience.

The most likely recent cause would be CPAC Chair Dr. Dan Holt's Delegation to Woolwich Council on September 2/14. Dr. Dan pulled few punches in his presentation as he expressed concerns over the M.O.E.'s negligence in their handling of the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers. Both Chemtura and the M.O.E. requested and received copies of Dr. Dan's Delegation after his presentation to Council.

Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach made a Motion of Censure against the M.O.E. last evening which was seconded by Graham Chevreau. It was passed unanimously by CPAC. Furthermore both an e-mail and a registered letter will be sent to george Karlos. Finally a letter will also be sent to the new Minister of the Environment Mr. Glen Murray regarding the behaviour of the M.O.E. yesterday.

Attending on behalf of Chemtura was Jeff Merriman. Coincidentally or not the usual contingent of himself, Dwight Este and often Josef Olejarz were not there as a group. Jeff once again gave a prime example of corporate untruthfulness or if you wish corporate wishful thinking. Despite my having repeatedly over the years provided technical references indicating that hydrophobic compounds such as DDT and Dioxins can be mobilized in solvent contaminated groundwater; Jeff still insists otherwise. Secondly he also claims that the large concentrations of DDT found in the Canagagigue Creek in 2012 and 2013 had been there for decades. Once more it became necessary to publicly correct his corporate self serving nonsense as I quoted from the Jaagumagi and Bedard Report of 1996/97. That M.O.E. report dealing with downstream contamination advises repeatedly that DDT and Dioxins are transported via spring flooding and major storm events on an ongoing basis. Shallow sediment and floodplain contamination downstream especially by DDT is most likely due to recent erosion and deposition from sources on or near the Chemtura site.

More will follow on last night's CPAC meeting especially including a fabulous report by Graham Chevreau dealing with Chemtura (Uniroyal) contamination that has most likely gone off-site on the east side (Stroh farm) as well as the south border (Martin farm). At the end of his report Graham proposed a Motion requesting the M.O.E.'s response within a week for requested data. Without that response CPAC will proceed including a report to Woolwich Council. This CPAC report will be supplemented with a report currently being done by a professional hydrogeologist focusing upon the issue of the east side pits having caused contamination off-site and quite likely being the cause of ongoing and never ending Dioxin and DDT downstream in the Canagagigue Creek. Graham's Motion passed unanimously.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The Chemtura Public Advisory Committee will be meeting this evening at 6 pm. in the Woolwich Council Chambers on Church St. in Elmira. While CPAC is a committee of council; due to its' very late start four years ago the current council chose to extend its' mandate by six months. Therefore this CPAC, as is, should be with us until April 2015. That is a very good thing because the obvious weakness of CPAC is the fact that it is council appointed. Overall this council did a better job than prior councils in choosing this committee but nevertheless it should not be politically appointed as it currently is.

Tonight's meeting should be interesting as both the M.O.E. and Chetura have specific items that they are to be reporting on. Of course delay is the name of the game so it's likely that they will make more excuses for not being ready to report on these items. We have yet to see any report by a biologist or toxicologist as to the effect of tripling off-site groundwater pumping and then discharging it, albeit with treatment, into the Canagagigue Creek. Similarily while testing has occurred regarding In Situ Chemical Oxidation to date there have been more failures than sucesses. Finally both SWAT and CPAC will have information to share with Chemtura and the M.O.E. that should also interest the public.

The last couple of CPAC meetings have been well attended by members of the public and this is a very positive change and one we hope will continue. Delegation of 100% of the responsibilty to a few council appointed representatives is neither good nor prudent democracy. It has led to problems in the past and this is why it is very helpful for accountability reasons; both CPAC's accountability to the public and most importantly the Ministry of the Environment's accountability to the public.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Over three different studies (1996, 2012, 2014) of the Canagagigue Creek in Elmira I have seen the sampling locations both reduced and relocated. Some of these relocations are minor yet the difference in the results is major. From this I must infer that deposition of sediments or soils in a flowing creek is hit and miss and very difficult to predict. Furthermore creeks and rivers actually move over time as a result of high flows of water both eroding and depositing soils. Therefore picking representative and repeatable sample locations is both a science and an art. Similarily, unfortunately, if there is no oversight or accountability, picking the least likely locations to detect deposition of sediments or soils could also occur.

Three studies have been done and all three have detected DDT at levels in excess of the PSQG (provincial soil quality guidelines). The 1996 study showed both DDT and Dioxins above standards whereas the 2012 study showed DDT only as exceeding the standards. Dioxins were present at significant levels although with greatly reduced sampling points namely only 2 in 2012 versus 10 in 1996. This very weak "reduction" in Dioxin levels was then used in the 2013 study to justify focusing on DDT and ignoring Dioxin testing in the Canagagigue Creek. Dioxins were tested for in the berm around the Martin pond but ignored elsewhere. Talk about shaping the sampling to provide the results you want.

Further testing was done this past summer (2014) and I have no reason to be confident that that study will be done anymore scientifically then the last two. Most likely it will be an attempt to downplay and minimize the contamination which is the M.O.E.'s specialty.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


If you guessed both then you are the grand prize winner. I've been spending my free time lately playing much less squash and doing much more reading through Ministry of the Environment reports dealing with Elmira, Ontario. God they are so hopeless it's embarassing. Today's reading focused on downstream studies of the Canagagigue Creek done in 1996, 2012 and 2013. These studies were focused on Dioxins and DDT in the creek sediments and floodplain. The 1996 report in my opinion was professionally done from start to finish. The last two were not.

The followup 2012 and 2013 reports were done to allegedly "...provide the community a level of comfort regarding contaminant trends". Boy did they screw that up royally. Therein lies the incompetence. The corruption appears to be in either the direction or lack of direction given to the authors of the last two reports. It's almost as if they were instructed to do their very best to make these followup reports difficult to read and especially difficult to compare to either each other or the original 1996 report. Whether units of measure as in ug/g versus pg/g or the calculation of Total DDT with or without metabolites or even the locations of the various sampling locations, it is extremely difficult to make valid comparisons. Add to this the fact they even have changed the time of the year in which they did their testing. This is very important when you consider that erosion and deposition of sediments with associated contaminants are a function of stream flow and velocity.

Despite these drawbacks either professionals with time on their hands or extremely well versed amateurs can decipher the results. For the majority of well intentioned and well educated citizens it is much more difficult, unecessarily. Dioxin results appear not to have changed dramatically one way or the other. This is bad news as it indicates to me ongoing sources of contamination leaving Chemtura and vicinity via spring flooding as well as via heavy rainstorms. In other words solvent contaminated groundwater (partially) has mobilized persistent organic compounds such as DDT and Dioxins and deposited them into surface water bodies. From here whether in sediments, floodplain soils or creekbanks they continue to be sources to the downstream creeks. DDT however is even worse. In 2012 and 2013 we have seen a few of the highest readings in the Canagagigue Creek to date. These readings are what have shocked the M.O.E. into further studies which samples were taken this summer. 2012 was the prizewinner but 2013 also had extremely high readings downstream at two locations. Considering how reduced the sampling locations are this is very troublesome. My best guess is that DDT and Dioxins have left and are leaving the Chemtura site on the east side and moving down the manmade surface water drain that I discovered last May. This is why despite work done both stabilizing creekbanks and removing contaminated soils on the west side of the creek in the late 90's and early to mid 2000's; the downstream creek is still in terrible shape. Despite this the MOECC continue to run interference for Chemtura when we ask for more cleanup.

Monday, September 22, 2014


The list of seemingly neverending hits to their credibility goes like this. GP1 & 2 "scraping" of one pit only versus a real cleanup (excavation) of both pits. Blatant falsehoods at last year's GRCA Annual General Meeting claiming CPAC approved the "scraping" while a Chemtura rep (Jeff Merriman) was present. Wilf Ruland and Jaimie Connelly 's (M.O.E.) DNAPL letters of May 15, 2008 and May 2, 2008. These letters clearly showed both of them had views and concerns contrary to CRA/Chemtura's, despite Chemtura's claims of "concensus". These letters were also sucessfully suppressed for six years. The Minutes of the last two DNAPL technical meetings namely June and October 2008 were also suppressed and only released recently. They confirm again, contrary to Chemtura's position, that both Wilf and Jaimie held firm in their positions that more needed to be done regarding DNAPL source removal/reduction.

I am aware that George Karlos (M.O.E.) has been pressuring CPAC for a long time regarding my so called behaviour. Apparently one inadvertent e-mail booboo that I was guilty of and apologized for wasn't satisfactory to George. CPAC accepted it but George kept on trucking until the CPAC Chair had had enough of George's whining and put an end to the serious lobbying to have me removed. At the August 28/14 CPAC Graham Chevreau read a report on behalf of SWAT which took the M.O.E. to task for their longtime and ongoing failures to deal properly with the Chemtura site in Elmira. This was followed by the CPAC Chair going to Council on September 2/14 and also reporting on the Ministry's failures here in Elmira. Dr. Dan's comments were reported in the Elmira Independent, Woolwich Observer and K-W Record.

There have also been major credibility issues for the M.O.E. relating to Dioxins and DDT downstream in the Canagagigue Creek. Ditto concerns that neither Chemtura nor the M.O.E. have ever investigated off property contamination on the east side of Chemtura. The discovery of a surface water drain draining the wetlands both on and off Chemtura's property into the Canagagigue Creek decades after the Elmira crisis occurred has been shocking. The further discovery that this drain which runs parallel to Chemtura's property for a few hundred yards (20 feet away) is also used to top up the downstream Martin swimming pond is beyond shocking. Shame on both Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


There is more work being done this month to remove some DDT and Dioxin in GP!. GP2 was determined by the Chemtura/CRA/M.O.E. brain trusts to be unworthy of excavation despite having samples above health and required action standards. Apparently in Ontario larger corporations routinely tell the Ministry of the Environment which standards they will respond to and which ones they won't.

Page 5 carrys a typical Conestoga Rovers typo in their reports. I believe over the last five years I am seeing more and more obvious errors that should be caught by normal editing prior to publication. Please note I am not referring to intentionally misleading or client driven factual fictions that are in a class by themselves.

Table A.2 purports to give the flow rates for both on and off site pumping wells going to the treatment system. Quite frankly I don't find the numbers in Table A.2 matching up with the flow rates as expressed in the text on pages two and three. This may require a clarification at this Thursday's (Sept.25/14) public CPAC meeting.

Table A.3 advises us of various on-site contaminant concentrations in the influent to the treatment system. It is a good reminder of the centuries of pumping ahead if Chemtura and the M.O.E. continue to refuse on-site source removal/reduction.

Appendix B deals with the MISA or Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement outlets on site. Aniline and carboxin are very high in the SWS (surface water system) outlet but are not tested for in MISA 0200, 0400 or 0800 outlets. Obviously they and other industrial contaminants should be.

Finally Table C.2 deals with surface water. The overall non-detect averages are making the creek look reasonably good. BEHP still appears to be an upstream issue but don't hold your breathe waiting for the Ontario M.O.E. to investigate. One suggestion: SS +925 is the furthest downstream sampling point. Based upon further knowledge including Wilf Ruland's suggestions of free phase DNAPL having exited RPE4 & 5 it would be appropriate to move the downstream sampling point another 100 to 200 metres further downstream. Then we could have an ongoing sampling that probably would capture more of Chemtura's neverending off-site leakage. Similarily the upstream location could be moved further upstream to ensure we are not including Uniroyal/Chemtura's Bolender Park (dump) contaminants that Uniroyal added to many decades ago.

All in all I give CRA a C+ for their efforts to minimize and hide the severity of the Chemtura mess.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Woolwich Council has raised the fee for amending zoning for gravel pits to $25,000. Unsurprisingly the Township received a letter from the lawyer for Preston Sand & Gravel stating that the new fee was unreasonable. Work on the Jigs Hollow Pit outside Winterbourne stopped last fall shortly after starting due to higher than expected groundwater levels. Hence the township expect that Preston Sand & Gravel will be back before Council asking this time for approval for below the water table extraction of gravel. This news is in today's Woolwich Observer and is a small article titled "Gravel pit fee hike OK'd by council".

Thursday, September 18, 2014


The timing is intriguing. The location more so. The players behaviour both past and present is tantalizing. These players include George Karlos (M.O.E.), Jeff Merriman (Chemtura), Mark Bauman (Woolwich Councillor) and one other oddball. Mark and his protege both adamantly state that the drain on the Stroh property twenty feet east of the Chemtura property line was built in order to drain the corn/soybean field north of it. The problem is that it does no such thing. The corn/soybean field is draining quite nicely on it's own via both gravity, surface flow and groundwater flow due south into a wetland which is part of both Chemtura's property and the Stroh farm. It is even quite possible that this field has tiles beneath it to assist in its' southern downhill flow. This wetland has existed for a very long time and is the collection point for everything from rainfall to leakage and overflow from Chemtura's/Uniroyal's former east pits particularily RPE4 & 5. As low as this wetland is topographically it is nonetheless still a little higher than the Canagagigue Creek a few hundred yards further south where both ground and surface liquids eventually discharge.

So why was the manmade drain built in 1985 as recently indicated? There is gravel available off the south property line of Chemtura either on the Martin or Stroh property or possibly on both. Perhaps in the springtime the rising water table and marsh made accessing it from the gravel road coming from the east and former Stroh home area more difficult. Hence a manmade draining of the wetland literally immediately north of the access road to the gravel would be to the Stroh's advantage.

There is also an advantage to the Uniroyal/Chemtura corporation. There is evidence, despite strong denials from Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, that Uniroyal Chemical's east pits flowed both overland and via groundwater across the property line onto the Stroh property. There is also decades old word of mouth evidence indicating Uniroyal Chemical was paying their two neighbours for both livestock and crop damage caused by this off-site spread of their toxic contamination. Indeed the death of a dozen cattle in 1965 owned by Leander Martin is local lore as well as having been documented in various technical reports decades ago.

Now to the timing. I have long been intrigued by the M.O.E.'s alleged surprise "discovery" of NDMA in the south wellfield in 1989. Yes there was NDMA and so much more that they had known about for a very long time. Perhaps they couldn't prove that various innocuous and manmade solvents were from Uniroyal but they sure as hell were worried years prior. They were worried enough to have laid a Control Order on Uniroyal in 1984 demanding a dramatic increase in monitoring wells both on and off site. In the mid 80's Uniroyal began closing their western ponds and shipping sludges from them off-site. They also began more consolidating of buried drums and wastes into the two remaining eastern pits, RPE4 & 5. Three pits existed on the east side of RPE5 and were basically squeezed between RPE5 and the Stroh property line. All of those eastern pits were outrageously located but the RB1 and RB2 (reburied barrels) sitting literally on the Stroh's doorstep must have been particularily egregious to them. BAE-1 was excavated the first time in 1970 with some toxic drums going off-site and others, in poor condition and leaking, unceremoniously dumped into RPE5. Other drums from BAE-1 were reburied in RB1 & 2. The idea of excavating buried drums in various stages of corrosion and sending some off-site while reburying others is horrifying. Why excavate them in the first place if you weren't seriously trying to avoid a disaster? The ones put into RPE 4 & 5 at least had the feeble excuse that there was a mylar liner (leaking) under them. Leaving some behind in BAE-1 and putting some into RB1 & 2 was bizarre and in my opinion speaks volumes about the real attitude behind this work.

Then in 1987 we are informed in the 1991 Environmental Audit ordered by the M.O.E. that RB1 & 2 were excavated as was BAE-1 again. The Audit report states that the liquid contents were drained and temporarily stored on site prior to off-site disposal. These three pits are 90 metres uphill from the manmade drain dug a year and a half earlier. This drain goes directly into the Canagagigue Creek. Uniroyal through the charade of dumping both liquids and solids into pits and ponds located on the floodplain of Canagagigue Creek had pretended for decades that they weren't directly dumping into the creek. The creek through the 50's and 60's was devoid of life courtesy of Uniroyal Chemical. A hose or hoses pumping downhill into the manmade drain would have saved Uniroyal Chemical literally millions of dollars in disposal costs for the toxic liquids from approximately 2,000 drums or more.

I seriously wonder if Chemtura have photographs, receipts and invoices which back up their disposal story for these 2,000 + drums? Would investigation today off-site south and east tell the tale? Is the ongoing DDT and Dioxins downstream in the sediments and floodplain of the Canagagigue Creek already telling the tale? Does our M.O.E. have any evidence or proof that these drums' liquid contents didn't get illegally dumped?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Recently I noticed some Time versus Concentration graphs in a number of Annual Monitoring Reports produced by Conestoga Rovers on behalf of Chemtura (Uniroyal). Some much older ones included chemicals such as aniline, carboxin and more while the more recent ones focused upon NDMA, chlorobenzene and ammonia. For at least the last decade or more that is the norm as the Ministry of the Environment has permitted the company to focus on three chemicals which allegedly represent groups of larger contaminants in the groundwater. The reality of course is that they do no such thing. In fact after I compared a number of specific on-site wells and their chemical results from twenty years ago and longer it became clear that only looking at NDMA, Chlorobenzene and ammonia grossly underestimated the quantities and concentrations of chemical pollutants in the groundwater. The following chemicals routinely greatly exceeded the concentrations in groundwater of the routine three parameters. The chemicals are aniline, carboxin, MBT, chlorophenol, trichloroethylene, dichloroethylene, phenol and toluene.

Elmira's and Chemtura's groundwater is a witchs' brew of manmade toxic chemicals disposed legally or otherwise by chemical companies for the financial benefit of their shareholders, to the detriment of human beings and wildlife, under the nose of well paid, incompetent and corrupt Ministry of the Environment personnel. You reap what you sow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


They ignore them because politically it's safer. No bad news gets incumbents re-elected. At the moment there will be a minimum of two changes on the makeup of the new woolwich Council. Julie Ann Herteis is not running and either Bonnie Bryant or Todd Cowan will be off Council. The other two include Mark Bauman who is uncontested and Allan Poffenroth who has five challengers for two positions. Right now the last thing any of them want to get into is a serious argument with the Region of Waterloo over water quality in the West Montrose wells as well as in Heidelburg and Maryhill.

Heidelburg needs an independent of the Region serious examination as to whether the former Strauss service station is "enriching" the drinking water. The fact that it has enriched the groundwater is undisputed; what isn't known is how far and how deep it has gone.

Maryhill has some bacteria problems and either further treatment or a relocation of the wells may be necessary.

West Montrose has sufferred with both high bacteria including E.Coli in the raw water as well as chemical by-products of disinfection for many years. These by-products are toxic and may include NDMA as a by-product of chloramine and nitrogen courtesy of septic systems.

Councillors Bauman and Bryant are aware of these problems and have not pursued them since being informed and since receiving a grossly inadequate response from the Region of Waterloo. To my disappointment I have also not heard back from Ward 2 candidate Lynne Hare on the matter.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Last Thursday's Elmira Independent advises under a story describing a recent Council meeting that the Township have again attempted to engage the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in a dialogue regarding the inadequate cleanup of Elmira's groundwater. This has occurred earlier at an AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) conference and was attempted again at the latest one in early September. There was also a meeting which included three CPAC members and Woolwich's CAO and Mayor a couple of years ago. While verbal reassurrances were given by Environment Minister Jim Bradley, the followup letter was very disappointing.

Last week's Independent story advised that the Township wish to engage the Ministry in a conversation both about the inadequacy of the current cleanup as well as about increased funding for CPAC. Currently CPAC receive fundng for secretarial and administrative costs from Chemtura ($10,000) and have recently received an equal amount from the Township to go towards a consultant who will provide technical assistance. I can say that this Council despite inexperience and other flaws have overall been more supportive of an honest, proactive CPAC than any other. Past Councils have cheerfully "supported" a CPAC which stayed within strictly defined parameters such as not rocking the boat on the cleanup approved by the Ministry of the Environment.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I've been called a whistleblower more times than I can remember. In the vast majority of times if not all I have taken this action not for personal gain but in the public interest. In fact I can confidently state that being a whistleblower has been to my personal disadvantage more times than I can count. I am therefore a little perplexed and stymied regarding the blowing of the whistle on Mayor Cowan's expenses. The issue certainly doesn't appear to be at all about the size and amount of his expenses; rather it's about being doubly compensated for them.

There is no doubt in my mind that when a public official is reimbursed twice for his expenses hence putting taxpayers on the hook more than is appropriate and proper that it is indeed an issue the public need to know about. Fair enough. My concern is the timing and the motivation. The timing is exquisitely damaging to the current mayor. I do not know categorically that the motivation is about personal gain at the expense of a political opponent. It just looks that way and while the expense irregularities needed to be exposed should the public find out who did the deed? The whole deed by the way not just the filing of the Freedom of Information request. I would not argue that over the last four years the Mayor has personally offended numerous people. Some of the offense was necessary and in the public interest and other times the offense was no such thing at all. It was petty and immature. Does this justify exacting maximum pain and humiliation from a less than perfect Mayor? On all our best behaved days I would think not.

Friday, September 12, 2014


By now after four days of radio, television, Waterloo Region Record, Elmira Independent and Woolwich Observer I think we are all aware of the sins of either omission or commission by Mayor Todd Cowan regarding political expenses. Compared to the allegations againts various Senators, and both the Mayor of Brampton and Toronto they are relatively minor. Some people want to know categorically if they were as Mayor Cowan has stated mistakes due to inattention or ignorance of the details surrounding expenses procedures or was it done intentionally for personal gain. I do not know the answer to that question.

I do know that most Mayors go into a campaign for re-election emphasizing their experience particularily in protecting taxpayers money. Todd is reduced to advising us that he is not a "details" man nor is he particularily adept at accounting. This is not what the vast majority of electors want to have in an elected official, especially a Mayor.

I have no opinion or even a prognostication at this point in time as to whether the police will lay charges and whether the Crown will prosecute. I do know that the citizens and electors have their chance to voice their opinion on October 27, 2014. Whatever the choice voters make it is strictly as to whether they belive that Todd Cowan will be a better Mayor than either Sandy Shantz or Bonnie Bryant. It should not be viewed ahead of time as some kind of plebiscite as to whether Todd is worse than being distracted or inattentive. That said his competitors in the last election for the Mayor's spot must be kicking the election gods right now.

I and others have had issues with Mayor Cowan. That said he is in 1000 times more crap than most of us in our pettiest moments would have wished upon him. If he loses the Mayor's position that is a huge blow. He is still a human being and has children and financial responsibilities to them. Let us all be a little careful in our throwing of stones lest down the road someone we know or love ever ends up in similar trouble.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


To date the fall from grace of Mayor Cowan has not brought forth public shouts of glee. There have been some private ones I am aware of only. I will predict the following shouts of glee, possibly or not restrained, but glee nevertheless. Mayor Cowan has been the first and only mayor to step up and say that the status quo regarding the cleanup of Elmira's drinking water is not adequate. Hence I expect some shouting from Chemtura whose credibility has been badly hurt by the Mayor and Council's ongoing support for the efforts of the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee.

The second issue is the forthcoming book about the Elmira water crisis written by former K-W Record reporter Bob Burtt. I reported here back on June 6 of this year in regards to data I had been sending Bob; both regarding Varnicolor Chemical and Uniroyal Chemical (Chemtura). Bob covered the Elmira/Uniroyal issues I believe from 1989 until his retirement in 2004. His articles and stories were accurate and comprehensive. I was a little disappointed that he didn't attend at least some of the public CPAC meetings of the last decade. It would have given him a firsthand look into the difference between the current CPAC and the old ones. Bob's book I have been advised by an e-mail from him is being released on September 26/14 with a book release and launch at the Holiday Inn in Cambridge.

Best of luck to Bob and I eagerly await the opportunity to read his book. After reading it carefully I will of course comment here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Two or three years ago I might have been forgiven for gloating just a little bit over Woolwich Mayor Todd Cowan's latest troubles. He kicked me off CPAC either in a fit of pique over my response to his disrespectful and rude behaviour or he did it to avoid losing his one ally on Council, Julie Ann Herteis, who was threatening to quit. She was threatening to quit also in an apparent fit of pique. She was the appointed Chair of CPAC and had adamantly refused to convene a meeting literally for weeks and months and was thus under pressure from also duly appointed CPAC members to get the show on the road. Todd and Julie Ann had attended the first formal meeting of CPAC members and while both behaved badly Julie Ann was a complete piece of work including walking out of the meeting early in a major huff that she had also walked into the meeting with.

However that was then and this is now. I do not know Todd Cowan's intent when he was collecting legitimate expenses twice. I will not comment now on whether I believe him or not. I will say this: he has fully cooperated with the investigation to date including voting with Woolwich Council to refer the matter to the Waterloo Regional Police. Secondly as stated in today's Waterloo Region Record he was distracted on the home front which is true. Whether that clouded his abilities to do his job including expenses I do not know.

Honestly my concern at this point has to do with what if any effect these proceedings will have on Mayor Cowan's support of and initiatives dealing with the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. While there is no doubt that he is a seriously flawed character nevertheless under his watch the whole dynamic at CPAC meetings has greatly changed for the better. No longer does the tail wag the dog as in Chemtura and the M.O.E. ruling the roost. They are on the defensive and that's exactly where those buggers need to be. Todd was briefly CPAC Chair after Julie Ann hit the road and after Todd we have had the best CPAC Chair we've ever had, namely Dr. Dan Holt. Today's Record article is titled "Region backs Woolwich plan to call in police over expenses".

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Neighbours fear toxic waste". Apparently the identified list of toxic chemicals has been updated from toluene and xylene to include benzene, ethylbenzene and styrene. These are all related and very common hydrocarbon solvents found in gasoline and diesel fuel as well as used in industry as degreasers (solvents). The fact that residents in an apartment building overlooking the construction site had irritated eyes, headaches, dizziness, and could feel it on their tongues and throats is not a good sign. It's basically an indication that the solvents were of a strong concentration in that they could produce those effects from a hundred yards away or so. While a healthy person from that distance would not suffer any serious longterm effects is no excuse for it to have happened to anyone. Elderly persons or those with respiratory illnesses could indeed have serious effects and that is not acceptable. The other issue for me is the accuracy of the data being given the public. Maybe those solvents to date are the only compounds present and maybe they aren't. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment do not readily share bad news. Hence quite frankly I'm skeptical that they've told the public even a fraction of the truth. Their job is to minimize bad news and support the status quo. If the status quo says that our environment is properly protected and that our authorities are on top of all problems; then discoveries of illegal dumping whether recent or decades old does not support that. Also I'm certeily not buying the current claims that only eight buried barrels are in this former landfill. That quite frankly is ludicrous. Keep looking and ye shall find more.

Monday, September 8, 2014


The more things change the more they stay the same. Landfills in Ontario have been banned from accepting liquid toxic wastes probably from at least the mid 80's and yet every now and then up they pop. Examples have included the Ottawa St. Landfill in Kitchener and of course Varnicolor's infamous Lot 91 in Elmira was an illegal landfill with dozens of barrels of solvents (& PCB's) being unearthed.

Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story plus two others "Ooze from barrels unearthed in Guelph identified". Eight barrels buried two metres below the surface were discovered on the north side of Wellington St. , just east of the Hanlon Expressway. The drums have now been identified as containing toluene and xylene which are very commonly used solvents in industry. The area apparently was a former landfill which therefore should hardly make the discovery terribly surprising. The former landfill was unearthed as a result of water mains and sewer pipes being installed in the area. An earlier story suggested that the Sterling Rubber Company was located nearby and the inference was that they may originally have been the source of the solvents in the drums.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


The title of yesterday's front page article in the Woolwich Observer says it all "CPAC calls out province on failure to deal with contaminants". In Dr. Dan Holt's Delegation to Woolwich Council last Tuesday evening he stated " There is overwhelming evidence that significant sources of pollution still remain under and around the Chemtura site, and these sources continue to pose potentially serious risks to human health and the environment...". Furthermore Dr. Dan (CPAC Chair) stated that the M.O.E.'s investigations are inadequate and that there is "...evidence of statutory negligence" by the M.O.E.. The Observer also repeated Dr. Dan's words stating that the Ministyry's actions are "inadequate at best and at worst wilfully negligent.".

All in all a devastating turn of events for both Chemtura and their partner in pollution the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. At long last their PR and blatant misrepresentation of the facts is being confronted and challenged head on. No longer are the local citizens pretending that either Chemtura or the M.O.E. are either reasonable or responsible parties simply putting forth somewhat different perspectives on the cleanup and their responsibility.

Friday, September 5, 2014


The Elmira Independent has repeated the words of Graham Chevreau at last week's public CPAC meeting regarding the Ministry of Environment namely that they are inadequate, ineffective and their response to CPAC unacceptable. Gail Martin of the Independent also quoted Graham's comments that "we have come to realize that 25 years after finding NDMA in the municipal water supply, we are really behind the eight ball".

Regarding CPAC's request that the M.O.E. update the progress of establishing cleanup criteria for Chemtura; George Karlos originally suggested that it was a bit premature at this point in time. After further discussion by CPAC he relented and advised about a couple of the specific terms that needed to be settled earlier on and that the final report wouldn't be that far away.

Chemtura also advised that their plans for further excavation at of Dioxins and DDT in GP1 would proceed sometime during September. Overall Gail Martin captured the disatisfaction that CPAC have been expressing of late with the Ministry of the Environment.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


It is unfortunate that neither our governments not their regulatory bodies are capable or willing to do their jobs. Yesterday the Sierra Club released a media release stating that the Ontario Beekeeper Association has filed a lawsuit against two manufacturers of "bee killing nicotonoid pesticides". The Director of the Sierra Club has indicated that the Ontario Beekeepers attempted to work with their provincial and federal government to no avail. Regarding the regulatory body, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA); John Bennet of the Sierra Club stated that in a meeting with them "...it became clear that the PMRA is infused with inertia and has no sense of urgency."

The lawfirm employed is Siskinds LLP who specialize in class action lawsuits. Once again it is a systemic failure with our governments and regulatory system when citizens must rely upon extremely slow and expensive courst to obtain relief from polluters with a financial incentive to continue their polluting ways.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Be still my thumping heart. I never thought that I would witness the day when responsible, intelligent and informed citizens would do that which has been necessary for the last 25 years. Briefly for perhaps two or three years citizens through APT Environment from about 1989 to 1992 would appropriately publicly blast the Ontario Ministry of the Environment as well as Uniroyal. Since then with only a couple of notable exceptions such as in 1999 when CPAC's air subcommittee took Crompton (Uniroyal) to task for their air emissions; CPAC have always played "nice" with Uniroyal (Chemtura).

Last evening at a Rogers cable televised sitting of Woolwich Council, Chair Dr. Dan Holt told Council and the public about the MOECC's abject failures in Elmira. He stated that CPAC believe that there is "...overwhelming evidence that significant sources of pollution still remain under and around the site..." . Furthermore these sources "...continue to pose potentially serious risks to human health and the environment...".

Dr. Dan listed three specific failures of the MOECC; one since the 1991 Control Order dealing with DNAPLS plus two more this year alone. The one failure this year deals with the MOECC's inability and unwillingness to pursue investigation of Dioxins and DDTs on and over their eastern property line. Similar to SWAT's (Soil, Water, Air & Technical) presentation at the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting last Thursday; Dr. Dan advised Council on CPAC's behalf that the MOECC were ineffective, inadequate and their behaviour unacceptable. To this he added last night that CPAC felt that the term "inadequate" was the best case scenario "...and at the worst (they were) willfully negligent".

All of this is true and has needed public stating for well over two decades. No doubt both Chemtura and the MOECC will have their public relations folks into overdrive but the harm to their credibility is profound. No longer are one or two individuals sounding the alarms. Now it is a formally appointed committee of council who are challenging the status quo of denial and falsehoods.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


The Saturday August 24, 2014 Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Papers seized in Lac-Megantic probe". To date three lower level employees of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway have been charged with criminal negligence causing death. The transportation Safety Board released their report which was highly critical of both Transport Canada for its' poor oversight and of the MMA Railway for their "weak safety culture". For these reasons it should be apparent that charges need to go much higher and include the real decisionmakers within both organizations. There has been way too much abilty for human negligence at the corporate level to be unaccountable which leads to literally putting money and shareholder profits ahead of both human lives and environmental protection. Lac-Megantic at the very least needs to open Canadians eyes to the current imbalance favouring capitol and profits at all costs over our fellow citizens and a healthy environment.

Monday, September 1, 2014


As briefly mentioned earlier the 25 year old lawsuit filed by CN Railway against the City of Kitchener and Hogg Fuel & Supply was dismissed last month in the Superior Court of Justice (presumably in Kitchener). Although not named as a party to the suit, Parks Canada was involved I believe via the former home of Mackenzie King down on Wellington St.. It has been open and closed in recent years due to alleged coal tar waste entering the basement of the house.

This whole scenario has been a farce and a charade at the least for twenty-five years as the moving and dumping of coal tar wastes from the former downtown Kitchener (Gaukel St.) Gasworks occurred closer to sixty years ago. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment had issued a Control Order for the cleanup of the coal tar found on CN Railway's property in or around 1989. The parties readily admitted that they were involved in a collaborative effort through the hiring of consultants in order to keep the M.O.E. at bay. Ten consultants' reports were delivered to the parties including a proposed remedial action plan. The M.O.E. over the years was mollified with site specific risk assessments along with remediation proposals. Unfortunately after years of delay by all parties the consultants advised their clients that their work had become outdated and needed to be refreshed.

So who is responsible for this abuse of process both legal and environmental? The M.O.E. got the ball rolling by ordering a cleanup and then apparently sat on their hands for 25 years while CN, Hogg and the City of Kitchener played legal games. Our judicial system played their part as well. NO wonder our courts are so clogged when parties are allowed to stickhandle around and through the courts simply to keep M.O.E. Control orders at bay literally for a quarter of a century. Indeed it would seem obvious that the City not CN nor Hogg Fuel are responsible for the transfer of coal tar waste to an insecure location on Lancaster St.. The fact that their lawyers felt it was acceptable and cheaper to delay cleanup for all intents and purposes forever via manipulation of the judicial system is shameful. The other two parties consented to the vast majority of the delays so they too bear some responsibility. Most blame however must rest with both the provincial Ministry in charge of our courts (Attorney General?) and with the provincial Ministry of the Environment. We pay taxes through the nose and what we get are paperwork and manipulation going in circles for 25 years. What a disgusting joke that we taxpayers have to pay for this nonsense. Meanwhile the coal tar mess is still in the ground unremediated.