Monday, October 5, 2015


Last week (Wed.) at the RAC meeting we were not presented with the copy of the most recent study of Canagagigue Creek. A M.O.E. tech person raced through a presentation while we strained to see what was on the overhead screen. Last Friday we received via e-mail the actual report for the 2014 study, dated September 30/15. It is not good news for the environment in general nor especially for life in and around Canagagigue Creek. It also adds to the growing body of evidence that a disproportionate quantity of the Dioxins/Furans and DDT ending up in Lake Erie sediments and fish are courtesy of Uniroyal Chemical aka Chemtura Canada.

This study confirms the very bad news from the 2013 study and the particularily nasty news from the 2012 Canagagigue Creek study. These three confirm that the remediation done on the Uniroyal site after the groundbreaking Jaagumagi & Bedard M.O.E. study of 1995-96 was inadequate. Inadequate but not unnecessary. In fact if anything all three studies clearly show that excavation and removal of contaminated creek sediments and creekbanks are indeed worthwhile in the long run. They do remove the source areas. The problem of course is that you need to remove all the source areas not just some of them.

I have criticized the last two studies (2012 & 2013) for not being scientifically rigorous. While the nature of sediment deposition and erosion is inherently variable over time based upon volume of water in the creek (ie. rainfall), severity of weather, soil types, livestock breaking down the creekbanks etc.; nevertheless certain variables could have been avoided and were not. For example time of year is huge. Having some of these multiple reports done in April, others in Novemeber and finally in June is frankly ridiculous. If you are testing sediment from year to year then at least do it at the same time relevant to the spring flooding. Secondly location in the creek is also a huge factor. From the photographs given it again looks as if the specific and exact locations of the sediment testing are inconsistent from year to year. We also appear to have varying depths of sediments being compared to each other. The original studies referred to 0-10, 10-20 cm. etc. The 2014 one talks about top, mid and bottom core samples. Meanwhile the guidelines are all in reference to surface sediments only.

There is also some weird discussion around an alleged pond in the floodplain. It almost appears as if the M.O.E. are setting up a red herring for remediation. This pond allegedly is upgradient from the highest contaminated sediment area. One can not have any trust in longterm proven liars like the Ontario M.O.E..

There no longer is any process for concerned, honest and informed citizens to even ask questions of the M.O.E.. TAG consists of the mayor's curling buddies plus a pair of proven Chemtura sympathizers. The public can neither give a Delegation nor ask questions publicly of the M.O.E.. What a disgrace. Woolwich residents this is your council who are in bed with Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E..


  1. So somebody tries to have a scientific discussion with you and you delete it?? Nothing offensive in the post whatsoever. Just asking for clarification and interpreting the blog post. You really have issues.

  2. Anonymous at 9:36 am. Nothing whatsoever has been deleted this morning. What are you talking about?
    Anonymous at 9:54 am. Your comment is only still up as an example of a silly comment.

  3. Do you have a filter on posts? I wondered why it kept disappearing. Is there a length limit?

  4. 1 of 2:
    Is the report available publicly online? If so please provide a link.

    RE sampling post-snowmelt versus other times of year - this depends on what they are sampling. If things are in the soil, they are "in the soil". This is longterm legacy stuff, not new additions that get added and removed year after year. Thus,
    it is not quite as relevant what time of year you sample. On the contrary, if you are indeed looking at the "stored" (accumulated) sediments in the creek bed, then yes, when you sample in the year is relevant because the freshet will scour the creek. That being said, this DOES vary year to year - consider 2014 and 2015 snow melts (which were smaller than normal) as opposed to some zany storms in June and July that flooded everything. Appropriate environmental
    sampling is a tricky game. You do the best that you can. Not always perfect but some samples are better than others. Sampling April 1st of every year doesn't necessarily remove seasonality from samples collected.

    The top, mid and bottom of core presumably have depths associated with them. If the cores are 20 cm, then you kind of know that things are surface, 10 cm and 20 cm. I imagine this would have been outlined somewhere. Good point about consistency though.

  5. 2 of 2:
    Re discussion around the pond - why do you assume this is red herring? Maybe there is something you don't know. In this age of transparency (and daily criticism from concerned citizens who blog these concerns), the M.O.E. is not in the business of wasting money. If they think it needs to be cleaned, maybe it does. How do you know it isn't discharging to the groundwater system? Being up gradient from your site topographically does not mean it isn't hydrologically connected somehow.

    I get your concerns about sampling in the creek but this is an issue people often face with the environmental sampling of sediments. Don't ever go and try to get "before and after" samples from a single site - the inherent spatial variability will far exceed temporal variability and it will just get messy. You can't ever try to get "removal rates" based on sediment storage of the contaminant of interest. The idea is to randomly sample throughout the creek and have a sample size that is big enough to actually show a before and after signal in terms of storage. Is there a significant (statistical) difference across the two sample populations? This is pretty basic stuff and is probably their motivation for the selected sampling strategy.

  6. In regards to the pond I am suspicious for several reasons. One the M.O.E. have a long history of lying. Secondly they have been aware of this and other floodplain ponds since at least 1996 yet only now is it an issue. Weird. I am not aware of this report being on-line. That said a phone call to Woolwich Township should get you put on the contact list and then the RAC/TAG secretary can e-mail you a copy. So far I've found no definition of top, mid and bottom depths of the core samples.

  7. I can't imagine why M.O.E. would lie about a pond. Even if they have known about the ponds previously, they may not have been an issue in the past, or, the scientists may have learned new information about the hydrology of the area. Let's see what they come up with.

    Was there info about the LENGTH of the cores extracted?

  8. Also, you are getting hung up on not knowing the precise depths. Once they highlight what these are, you will likely find that this is likely a MUCH improved sampling design. Contaminants may be stratified in the soil profile. So, it COULD be that there are really really high values concentrated in the top 3 cm and moderate in the middle, and low at depth (or, maybe they are all sitting at 20cm and below and the surface doesn't have any). By previously taking 2 cores @0-10 and 10-20cm depth, a 10cm core of soil would have been mixed (composited) which would have "dampened" high concentrations (i.e. averaged out with lower ones). Better sampling in the profile gives insight into where in the soil things are and helps come up with better solutions to reducing runoff losses.

    1. The anonymous commenter above sounds "wolfie" to me!

  9. Zero info on the length of the cores.

  10. Do you have a copy of the report? Can you not post it if you do have it?

  11. I've got a copy but as it's probably 25 pages or more including photographs so I'm not posting it here. If Lisa Schaefer at the Township won't send you a copy tell me and I'll take further steps.