Monday, May 25, 2015


I posted here regarding barrels of solvents found buried near Wellington St. and the Hanlon Expressway in Guelph last September 8,9 as well as on December 9 and 18. In the September 9 posting I made it clear of the likelihood of many more barrels being found. Indeed last Friday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story titled "More barrels unearthed at Guelph construction site where chemicals found". From eight last fall they are now up to 29 barrels in various states of corrosion having been excavated. I also advised in one of the December postings that I felt that the extent of contamination was as usual being downplayed. The technical reports were claiming that there wasn't enough groundwater available for testing of chemical contaminants. Despite that a number of test pits showed groundwater infiltration and then immediately they ended the digging. To me that seems almost intended to avoid groundwater and the necessity for testing.

Of the 21 drums recently removed "eighteen of the drums were empty. Two were partially filled with liquid, and one contained a mixture of liquids and solids.". This is about par for the course. Decades of subsurface burial, rust and corrosion means that the solvent contents have all been released into the natural environment. Some will have evaporated into the air, some will still be in the soil and most will have been transported via rainwater infiltration into the shallow groundwater where it will have moved both horizontally towards a surface water discharge and the rest probably gone deeper underground towards the next aquifer below. All allegedly responsible parties and authorities will breathe a sigh of relief if it's been transferred out of site and they can pretend that it's no big deal.

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