Thursday, March 31, 2016


This past week has been another exciting time for Woolwich Township. That is not necessarily a good thing. So are Woolwich Councillors going to wake up in time to avoid yet another public relations disaster for themselves personally and for the Township? If the short history of this Council is any indication, I would say not. Well at least similar to our beloved and esteemed Todd Cowan, there will again be a higher turnout at the polls next election.

Councillor Merlihan has been trying very hard to find common ground with his Council colleagues. It kind of reminds me of the old joke about wanting to soar with the eagles while being surrounded by turkeys. Name calling aside each and every councillor have in their past made some good decisions. If they can't find it in themselves to do so again this coming Tuesday then they deserve every stone and arrow tossed their way.

Luisa D'Amato's Opinion piece deserves to be both quoted and linked again. She refers to Woolwich's "profoundly anti-democratic decision". She also references the horrible state of Canagagigue Creek with Dioxin and DDT concentrations "that far exceed any acceptable threshold for human exposure". This is why Council are attempting to censor citizen Delegations. They know that we are fed up with Chemtura and M.O.E. lying and denying while hiding behind our Council. If Woolwich Council refuse to do the right thing then get the hell out of the way for the citizens with the honesty and integrity who will.

Going to Council appointed sub-committees should be an option, not yet another obstacle in the way for citizens' concerns to be heard and dealt with by our elected Council.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


The above title is a direct quote from Luisa D'Amato's Opinion column in this morning's Waterloo Region Record.


I've explored a number of motives for Woolwich Council's unbelieveable behaviour against CPAC, democracy and the public interest. Lying, maligning and disbanding a group of volunteers who achieved so much in one short term on CPAC took incredible stupidity, nastiness, deceit and motivation. Similarily I've speculated on Council's willingness to bend over backwards for Chemtura Canada. Enabling their boycott of the public consultation (CPAC) set up by the previous Council which included Councillor Bauman was contemptible and contrary to the public interest. Disbanding CPAC because Chemtura told them that was the only way they Chemtura would return to the table was blackmail. Now this plan to ban Delegations to Council, pertaining to Chemtura, from CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) and the public is yet another example of Chemtura twisting Council's arm.

The question is why does Council allow Chemtura to get away with this behaviour? What does Chemtura have on Council or some of its' members? Could there be hidden campaign donations for example? Brown paper bags of money of the Brian Mulroney- Karl Heinz Screiber style and fame? Or is it something entirely different? Chemtura are a multi-national, multi-billion dollar American corporation. They have gone through several restructurings as well as a bankruptcy a few short years back. Have they pulled out of their bag of tricks the old saw that give us everything we want or else we'll pull up stakes and leave? Are they capable of stooping to blackmail? It appears as if the answer is yes when you see how sucessfully they misbehaved by boycotting CPAC and then had Council disband CPAC.

Chemtura have over the years been called many names although I've always been partial to them being referred to as a "rogue" corporation. It does of course presume that other corporations are better behaved although that might be just wishful thinking. The amount of Chemtura's property taxes would be interesting I expect. That would give us a small idea as to their value to the community. The fact is though that if they departed there wouldn't be a rush by other companies to take over their still grossly contaminated site. Their biggest contribution to the community would probably be the jobs they provide. One of my neighbours works at Chemtura as did my father decades ago. Perhaps our current Council don't want to be known as the Council that "chased" Chemtura out of town. Certainly a couple of hundred votes plus spouses and adult children isn't as significant as it was when Chemtura had more employees and Elmira was a much smaller town.

Is it back to the old and hopefully discredited argument of jobs versus the environment? Are Chemtura flexing their muscles with a Council who already have members predisposed towards rewarding money and power even when contrary to the public interest? One thing is certain. Our local politicians are serving Chemtura's interests, not ours.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


The problem with this Council is their incompetence. Having them on your side is a real mixed bag of nuts. Right about now I suspect that Chemtura Canada are begging Woolwich Council to please stop "helping" them. It's pretty much a toss up as to whether it's Councillor Mark Bauman or Mayor Sandy Shantz who are doing the most damage to Chemtura's twenty-seven year campaign of misinformation and public relations fluff. Whomever it is please continue on Sandy and Mark, along with your three other posse members on Council. Those five (of 6) Council members through their nonsense, biases and ignorance are aiding and abetting the efforts of what I and other informed citizens have been trying to do.

Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following front page story titled "Woolwich moves to limit delegations from speaking at meetings". The on-line version carrys a wonderful synopsis immediately beneath the picture of Dr. Dan Holt which goes like this "Elmira resident Dan Holt beside Canagagigue Creek which was polluted by the downstream chemical plant. Woolwich politicians have approved a motion banning delegates from speaking about Chemtura and contaminated water, unless they have already gone through a challenging, non-transparent committee process. There is nothing in the Municipal Act or the township's procedural bylaw that permits banning delegates."

Mayor Shantz is being disingenuous when she states that citizens can take Delegations to RAC and TAG. They can not. TAG flatly does not accept oral Delegations and in fact won't even accept written ones without conditions. The conditions are they must be technical and can not exceed one page in length. Then they must be vetted by the Chair of TAG before he will even send them on to his fellow TAG members. RAC do accept Delegations at their regular meetings. In other words citizens can only speak to RAC four times a year when they hold their meetings. To date that has been September (2015), December (2015) and March 2016 with the next meeting scheduled for June. What mayor Shantz and Councillor Bauman are clearly doing is moving the Chemtura/M.O.E. pretend cleanup out of sight of the public and of CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee). They also wish to avoid the media listening in as well hence the banning of Delegations regarding Chemtura, drinking water and the creek at Council meetings attended by our local newspaper, the Woolwich Observer.

Then we have the ongoing issues of Council violating the Municipal Act regarding in camera (closed) meetings. They clearly had decided prior to last Tuesday's Council meeting to prohibit Dr. Dan Holt from speaking as Chair Murray Martin refused him before he'd even gotten out of his chair. No mention of that in camera meeting subject on the Council Agenda last week as it should have been. Then there is the even stickier issue of not inviting a fellow Councillor to a private, closed Council meeting. Councillor Merlihan clearly stated that he had no pre-warning that his Council colleagues were going to shut down Dr. Holt's Delegation. Shame on this Council yet again.

Monday, March 28, 2016


I'm torn. Was Woolwich Council's behaviour last Tuesday evening all about their love for Chemtura Canada and all things chemically polluted or was it due to their hatred of CPAC? A CPAC mind you not of radicals but of intellectuals with passion, energy and experience. Oh yes and something else rarely found in thirty years of Uniroyal/Chemtura/M.O.E. dealings, namely integrity. Also may I remind citizens that CPAC had the confidence of the prior Council which appointed these citizens, including myself, because they had expert, unbiased third party information that the current CPAC at the time were both in bed with Chemtura and the M.O.E.and were not critically examining their so called "cleanup" plans. Therefore both new, honest and intelligent citizens combined with integrity and experience from myself as well as the likes of Ron Campbell, David Marks and eventually Graham Chevreau was the ticket required for reform. It has worked to the shame and humiliation of Chemtura, their consultants and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

We also have Dr. Henry Regier and Richard Clausi on board. The Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) is now the Citizens Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). I am proud and pleased to be on the first fully 100% citizens panel without co-opted citizens either on board or in charge. I am also pleased to be on a true citizens committee versus the mockeries of public consultation that Woolwich resdients have been subjected to by Woolwich Councils over the last thirty years.

Why are Council kissing Chemtura's butt? What's in it for the two most rabidly partisan Chemtura supporters on Council? The fact that they passed a Motion refusing to hear further Delegations dealing with Chemtura Canada in any manner is astonishing. Perhaps this posting should actually be titled " Woolwich Council Finally Publicly Admit to Being Under Chemtura's Control". Is Council merely weak and cowardly or do they derive some personal benefit from eliminating all informed criticism by local citizens? Is this all about Chemtura/M.O.E. recent plans to stall and delay for more years/decades overdue Dioxin & DDT cleanup of the downstream Canagagigue Creek?

I will give Council a small concession here. Yes they are petty, vindictive wannabe dictators. Yes they want to squelch informed, intelligent citizen opposition especially CPAC. That said I think their number one motivation is to help Chemtura sell their misinformation and lies to the public. Council members (five out of six), are selling out the public interest in favour of the interests of a private polluter.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


I found the Prosecutor's 20-30 minute speech to be self-serving and bizarre in Provincial Offences Court last Wednesday morning. As much as possible he went out of his way to say nice things about mayor Shantz. Things like she demonstrated good faith. Things like she remedied and corrected her errors when she was made aware of them. In my opinion both of those statements by Mr. Fraser Kelly of London, Ontario are inaccurate. Why did the Crown Prosecutor feel it necessary to buttress the credibility or honesty of the accused?

Mr. Kelly seemed to have little compunction against criticizing my actions. Some of the criticism was subtle. Things like Mr. Marshall again did not appeal the Compliance Audit Committee's (MECAC) decision to the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ). Mr. Kelly knew exactly why I did not appeal those decisions to the OCJ because he asked me why in my two hour and five minute interview with him 45 hours before Wednesday's Court appearance. He failed in presenting a balanced, truthful scenario.

Fraser Kelly emphasized that several of the charges were "improper". How were they improper? Did Mr. Kelly give the impression to the court that these "improper" charges were due to a failure on my part? I came away from court feeling that way. Was there something obvious in the Municipal Elections Act that somewhere said that only evenly numbered Sections of the Act are chargeable offences and odd numbered Sections are merely filler? Is there a magic phrase in certain Sections such as "May" or "May not" that determine if a candidate can be charged for failing to comply with that Section but it's O.K. to not comply with other Sections? Finally why was I not given the courtesy of a copy of the Crown Prosecutor's decision?

These alleged "improper" charges are not remotely due to any failure on my part. I went to the courts in actual and real "good faith". I relied upon Superior Court in Kitchener to advise me as to what I had to do to properly lay an "Information" which didn't become charges until after a Justice of the Peace went over the "Information" slowly and carefully and in detail. Yes it took two different J.P.s to finally succeed at this. Was that my fault? Was it my fault that I had to attend Superior court six Fridays in a row to finally get these charges laid? Was it my fault that the process is stilted, awkward and agonizingly slow? I don't think so.

Two Justice's of the Peace over six weeks. Two Prosecutors (Andres & Kelly) over six months and approx. six court appearances. Two private meetings one on December 23/15 with Mr. Andres and one on March 21 with Mr. Kelly. And then on March 23/16 Fraser Kelly springs on me in open court that four or five of my ten charges are "improper"? When did either of these prosecutors actually figure that out? I mean each and every charge was a one sentence simple and brief statement. For example charge one "Sandra Shantz failed to record as Contributions all goods and services given to her municipal election campaign contrary to Section 66.(1) of the Municipal Elections Act (1996)ie. MEA on March 27, 2015." Similarily charge two was just as straightforward namely "Sandra Shantz failed to record as Expenses all goods and services used in her municipal election campaign contrary to Section 67.(1) of the Municipal Elections Act (1996) ie MEA".

If and I say IF there are flaws in these charges what are they? I've doublechecked the Section numbers. Did I make a spelling error? Maybe a grammatical error? The date (March 27/15) preceeded all the charges but I added it anyways for some of them. Was this a failure?

And now the final kicker. Could my alleged "improper" charges have been amended or corrected at any point in time? Could they have been corrected three months ago? Two days before court? How about now? The silence from the court is both deafening and sickening. Is this just one more example of the courts doing in an unrepresented litigant (URL)? I am left with the impression that the courts have just played a big joke on me. They exploited some minor flaw that was their responsibility in the first place, not mine, in order to withdraw all the charges.

What exactly is the definition of "withdraw" charges? Is this the same as "stayed" the charges? Again for incredibly more time and money I could hire a lawyer to answer some of these questions. Silly me I thought I was already paying through the nose via taxes to have the courts work for me. Clearly not and clearly the courts have just behaved in a manner to have brought themselves into disrepute. A lot of disrepute.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Oh what a night! First off Steve Kannon of the Woolwich Observer knows full well that Council's "cring-worthy" behaviour this past Tuesday will be mentioned again and not just here. A Press Release has been issued regarding Council's biased, petty, dishonest and undemocratic attempt to muzzle Dr. Dan Holt, the Chair of CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee), at Tuesday evening's Council meeting. Already media outside of Elmira are interviewing Dr. Dan and CPAC members regarding Council's abominable and dictatorial behaviour. Steve Kannon has described it well in his Editorial today including the focused and biased further attack upon CPAC by a group of literally ignorant, incompetents. There isn't a knowledgeable single individual on Council regarding Chemtura and M.O.E. negligence and dishonesty even if you added five of them together and multiplied by ten. The one exception to this bluntly accurate discription is Councillor Patrick Merlihan as described in my posting here yesterday.

To the further detriment of this Council is their obvious illegal behaviour involving five Councillors meeting In Camera, without Councillor Merlihan, to determine prior to the public meeting to deny Dr. Holt his Delegation. Council had their knuckles rapped publicly less than a year ago by the Ombudsman for precisely this behaviour and yes I'm the guy who tipped off the Provincial Ombudsman. The Municipal Act has been repeatedly contravened by these (un)trained monkeys on Council.

Councillor Merlihan was so appalled by his Council colleagues that he apoligized to Dr. Holt for their treatment of him. If Council had any brains (and they don't) they too would do the same thing. What Council (most) are conspiring to do regarding supporting Chemtura and the M.O.E.'s delay and do nothing position; while muzzling and censoring both CPAC and the public at Council, is beyond the worst of the last thirty years. The public have been lied to and deceived on almost every environmental front regarding Uniroyal/Chemtura and that has only occurred with the explicit support of unaccountable local politicians.

"Cringe-worthy" has been used before to describe Woolwich Council's actions. Citizens in increasing numbers are getting fed up with these jokers and are paying attention. Your lies and manipulation of the truth are becoming a harder sell all the time. You've been warned .


These above biases are built into the Municipal Elections Act whether intentionally or not. Any law that puts the sole responsibility upon citizens and laypersons while assiduously avoiding giving them any practical assistance or means to fulfill their responsibilities is a sham. At every step of the way the system have done their absolute utmost to throw up roadblocks of time, money and frustration. From the wrong Forms handed out to me last September, followed by sending the case to the wrong court (Superior) and now finally telling me six months later that some of the ten charges I laid are "improper"; this process has been a bust and it's all on our judicial system. Customer service? Non-existent. Client respect? Zero. Oh and let's not forget the idiocy of having Justices of the Peace only available at Superior Court for this process ONE DAY OF THE WEEK namely Fridays. What a pathetic joke. Yet the Municipal Elections Act claims that citizens can go directly to the Courts to have the Act enforced . Pure, lying bullshit. I wanted to see if I had finally found a law holding politicians accountable for their inattention, stupidity, mistakes or downright dishonesty and disrespect for the law. If such a law exists it isn't the Municipal Elections Act.

Then we have the Crown. I have in writing from the out of town Crown the statement that he will not do any investigation whatsoever. Not even a phone call or request to the police for assistance. Everything and I mean everything constituting evidence must be spoonfed to the Crown. I and every other citizen have zero authority to collect evidence, interview witnesses or in any fashion whatsoever compel cooperation in this investigation. Oh and yes meanwhile the Crown yesterday stated in court that under the Elections Act I am not able to charge the accused with the offence of Obstruction (Section 93 MEA) for either her lawyer's dispicable attempt to keep me out of Superior Court last July or for her ten minute "ambush" of me with 30 pages of documents just prior to the July 2/15 hearing. According to the Crown yesterday this Obstruction charge doesn't apply to me. While I am the complainant I am a legal nonperson apparently.

All the Crown had to do was request an interview with the mayor's accountant. Nope he wouldn't even ask.

The Crown advised the court that eventually the mayor had included all her Contributions (donations) after multiple Financial Statements. He is of course guessing about that. They kept rising throughout the process. He was a little less clear about her expenses. Despite a minimum of four Financial Statements she did not include expenses such as her live band as pointed out here in my February 4/16 posting. Further evidence could have been obtained by a phone call or interview with the Elmira Curling Club but of course that was out of the question. Crown's are very busy people.

I mentioned four Financial Statements. Actually there is testimony to another one that was removed from the Township's website prior to the February 2/15 one going up. Of course neither the mayor nor the Township ever got around to mentioning this allegation to MECAC, Superior Court or anyone else. I advised the Crown as to the name of the person who gave me this tantalising information. Think of the implications which I also pointed out to the Crown. Would the Crown pick up the phone and make a call to confirm this statement to me. Nope! Would he get the Regional Police to make such a call? Nope! Is this a failure by the Crown or is the justice system totally and completely biased against sucessfully prosecuting violaters of the Municipal Elections Act? Or is it both? I'm not sure.

Yes Woolwich CAO Brenneman I do have an audio copy of the October 26/15 MECAC (Compliance Audit Committee) meeting. Yes I knew exactly what I was speaking of when I accused you and possibly assorted staff of failing to accurately record the facts of that meeting in your Minutes. I gave a copy of that recording to the Crown. Was the Crown keen on the clearly biased and leading comments or questions of the MECAC panel? No he wanted to know how, who and where I obtained the audio recording. At first blush I thought he just wanted to satisfy himself that it was legal and acceptable in court. Now I'm thinking it's as likely that he was looking for evidence against me. That is disturbing.

I sat down with the out of town Crown less than 48 hours before Wednesday's 9 am. Court appearance. Oddly while the Police weren't interested in helping me last summer with concerns and allegations I took to them including the Township's failure and delay in removing the mayor who had automatically forfeited her position (Section 80 MEA); nevertheless they were there for the two hour meeting last Monday. Also I believe it was a Regional Police Officer (Detective J. Murray) who arranged the appointment for last Monday. Oh and this same officer has had further recent dealings with the out of town Crown. What exactly is going on versus what I'm being told? Instead of investigating MEA contraventions am I being set up for something? Was Monday's meeting really to assist the Crown in further understanding of the MEA case or was I invited there under false pretenses? Would our Regional Police do such a thing? Is the Pope Catholic?

Then of course there is the Crown's nitpicking. Add to this the Crown advising the Court yesterday that it was not in the public interest to prosecute mayor Shantz on the Municipal Election Act (MEA) charges. I would agree it's not in her interests to prosecute her. Why is it not in the public interest? What is the Crown's criteria for claiming it's not in the public interest? Who made those criteria if they even exist? Yesterday was a very sad day for the public, citizens and taxpayers . Unsurprisingly politicians everywhere are probably very happy with how it went. It was not justice. Nice try though.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


MEDIA RELEASE March 23, 2016

Following is my take on the Crown either dropping or staying all Municipal Election Act charges against mayor Sandy Shantz:

1) I must have missed the overnight announcement that the province has repealed the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) 1996.

2) All municipal politicians and future candidates sincerely thank the Crown for allowing them to ignore the Elections Act. Currently these same folks are drafting a wish list of further laws they would prefer to be ignored as well.

3) If the Crown advises that the specific laws broken by mayor Shantz are minor or trivial then again clearly I missed that part of the MEA which specifically stated that the following sections are trivial or minor and therefore merely suggestions to be followed by election candidates, if they feel like it.

The Municipal Elections Act is quite clear. All campaign expenses and all campaign donations must be included in the Financial Statements by a specific deadline. Above the threshold of $10,000 for either one, an Auditor’s Report is mandatory. The mayor submitted a sworn Statement wrongly claiming to be below $10,000 for both. She got caught by me. She admitted to some of her other additional errors as well. Her first of now three Auditor’s Reports was produced three months after the March 27, 2015 legal deadline. The MEA provides a process for citizens who have been brushed off by either Councils or Compliance Audit Committees to go directly to the courts by way of private charges through a Justice of the Peace. The MEA does not advise citizens that they will be blocked at every step of the way in their attempts to enforce the MEA.

Alan Marshall elector and citizen of Woolwich Township


Well I wanted to know if the Municipal Election Act (MEA) was for real. Good news politicians and wannabees, it isn't. The Crown Prosecuter indicated in court this morning that indeed mayor Shantz had contravened the MEA in relation to my charges #4,5,& 8 (of 10) but it wasn't in the public interest to prosecute her. Hmm does that also mean it wasn't in the public interest to make them legal contraventions under the MEA in the first place?

The Crown also stated that several of my charges were not laid properly in the first place. Really? It took two different prosecuters and one Justice of the Peace over six months to get around to telling me that this morning in court? Back in late September the Justice of the Peace at Superior Court read through each and every charge with me and examined the MEA along with me. He felt that they were acceptable charges and he endorsed and signed every one of them. Now today a bunch of them aren't legal charges? This is a sham and a mockery of justice. Something like the MEA itself.

I followed the procedure laid out in the Municipal Elections Act 1996 and most of that was through the judicial system down in Kitchener, both Superior Court and Provincial Offences Court. I have to believe that the MEA was passed by the provincial government simply for appearances sake, not to actually enforce election act laws. The judicial system failed from start to finish. It was slow, awkward, time consuming and user unfriendly throughout. I am quite confident however that a donation of say $50,000 to one or more lawyers would have smoothed out many of the bumps and hurdles although I expect the final result would have been the same.


Last night they hit a new low. It even exceeds if it's possible their behaviour in walking out of Council on my Delegation last fall. Feet of clay is one thing but brains of clay is not what the citizens deserve running their Township.

Clearly Councillor Mark Bauman and mayor Shantz are solely running the Chemtura file on Council with the rest of the children following their lead. The one notable and exemplary exception is Councillor Patrick Merlihan. You sir are the single bright light on that Council.

Dr. Dan Holt was the sole Delegation last evening and his topic as presubmitted to staff was "downstream Canagagigue Creek". Chair Murray Martin attempted to abort Dr. Holt's Delegation before it even started, making bizarre noises about "technical" Delegations concerning Chemtura Canada being off limits. Dr. Holt politely, meticulously and professionally humiliated the likes of Murray, mayor Shantz and any other idiot on Council stupid enough to attempt to defend the indefensible. As indicated Patrick Merlihan did himself and democracy proud with his principled stance. Council capitulated and Dr. Holt gave an excellent Delegation informing the media, the public and one Councillor (Patrick) about CPAC's (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) concerns relating to the Ministry of the Environment's plans to avoid cleaning up Dioxins and DDT downstream in the creek.

Council (Sandy & Mark) are attempting to muzzle eight informed and intelligent citizen members of CPAC by banning all Delegations relating to Chemtura Canada. Council at one point last evening were asked by Dr. Holt as to what they are afraid of. The answer is that they are afraid of the truth.

I'm off to Provincial Offences Court this morning (9 am.) and will post here later today about developments good or otherwise regarding mayor Shantz's Municipal Election Act charges. Possibly this afternoon or tomorrow I will give more details regarding Council's public implosion last evening.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I received a copy of Issue #4 Community Update March 2016 last week. It is positive and upbeat with good news regarding the progress of the air and groundwater remediation in the residential community between Northstar Aerospace & GE Canada on Bishop St. southwards towards the Grand River. Nary a sniffle for the dead nor still walking wounded of this ongoing environmental war in Ontario.

Their Pump & Treat system removes 100,000 litres of contaminated groundwater per day and treats it to the barely acceptable levels normally approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. It is then discharged into nearby storm sewers to drain into the Grand River. This system will be containing (hopefully) the worst areas of contamination and stopping them from adding to the previously contaminated groundwater throughout the Bishop St. community. Presumably that groundwater will slowly drain into the Grand River over the next decade or so.

GE Canada used a system called ISCO or In Situ Chemical Oxidation to treat the Trichloroethylne (TCE) on their property. Unlike in Elmira it appears as if they did it better in Cambridge with their injections of potassium permanganate. Here in Elmira they used company consultants without obtaining further professional and unbiased expertise.

Both ground and surface (Grand River) water monitoring is ongoing as well as monitoring of seeps into the river. Seeps are simply groundwater appearing at the ground's surface on or near the riverbanks and discharging into the river.

Indoor air levels of TCE are slowly decreasing and fewer homes are actively requiring indoor air treatment and removal of TCE. This route of exposure is the one that has done the greatest damage to human health in the community. Our system is so corrupt and protective of polluters and regulators that no one has been properly held accountable for this totally preventable environmental disaster.

Sincerest appreciation goes to the Region of Waterloo, Public Health and the M.O.E. with honourable mentions to Northstar and GE Canada for rewriting reality and history and turning this into some kind of environmental victory. The dead, their families and those whose health has been permanently damaged will however withold applause.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following front page story titled "They don't know what's underground". It is in reference to the Waterloo Region Landfill, formerly known as the Erb St. Landfill. There have long been concerns and whispers of groundwater contamination leaving this old landfill and migrating towards the Erb St. Well System also along Erb St..

Interestingly I posted about the Erb St. Wells on Friday March 4 and how the Region refuse to explain in their Annual (Drinking Water ) Reports why they have certain wells shut down or even how long they've been shut down. It turns out that one of the original wells W6A has been shut down without explanation since 2013 while there is a new well up and pumping, sort of, maybe. The new well is W6B and I wonder if it's a new well geographically or simply beside W6A and in a deeper or different stratographic layer. Or perhaps it's the same well with a sleeve put in it the way the Region have done over in Cambridge.

It turns out that contaminated groundwater has been migrating since the 1990s and attempts to contain it hydraulically via pumping wells have not been totally sucessful. Of course in order to save a nickel only two wells were installed and began pumping several years ago when more were needed. This same failure occurred at the Uniroyal site in Elmira when two wells PW1 and PW3 were installed and up and running in January 1992. A third well (PW4) was added later on when they realized the most contaminated groundwater wasn't being contained. Of course our Ontario Ministry of the Environment were approving everything that Uniroyal did at the time.

A little clarification regarding Vinyl Chloride that is in the plume of contaminated groundwater. It is not a breakdown component of food wastes or other normal garbage in a landfill. This same excuse is also often used for the production of methane gas from landfills. Vinyl Chloride is produced from the breakdown of highly toxic Trichloroethylene (TCE) a formally very common industrial solvent and degreaser. Vinyl Chloride however is even far more toxic than TCE which is the major culprit that caused cancer and death in the Bishop St. community in Preston (Cambridge). The (ir)responsible industry was primarily Northstar Aerospace over there.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


The Agenda and package for next Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting at 6 pm. in Woolwich Council Chambers is now on-line. One interesting item is under 12. Other Business and is titled "Recommendation to Post Warning Signs Downstream of Chemtura". TAG (Technical Advisory Group) Chairman Dr. Richard Jackson had been attempting to get the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) to erect warning signs in certain areas along the Canagagigue Creek, warning fishermen to be extremely cautious about eating any fish caught in the creek due to contamination by Dioxins and DDT.

Our polluter friendly, professional obfuscaters at the M.O.E. had many valid reasons in their wee minds as to why this was not a good idea. In my wee mind it could be considered an affront to our highly ethical and civilized American neighbours occupying the upstream Chemtura Canada property. Afterall they pay taxes and donate to some local causes. That they used to use the Canagagigue as an open sewer is ancient history. Most of their victims, animal or human, are probably dead by now. Those that aren't would have a difficult time proving that Uniroyal, Chemtura's forerunner, were responsible.

Keep in mind that these signs are being erected by Woolwich Township on their own without M.O.E. assistance . That is to the credit of the Township. Despite their long history of protecting and enabling Chemtura it is still nice to see them occasionally stand up on their hind feet and take action contrary to the wishes of the partners in pollution, Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E.. Also keep in mind that fish swim up and down the creek. The "hotspots" aren't necessarily only at the New Jerusalem Road, Northfield Drive (#22) and Jigs Hollow Road (#46).

Friday, March 18, 2016


Appendix D in the 2015 Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) is all about Trend Analyses. These include both Figures and Tables indicating increasing or decreasing trends in groundwater contaminant concentrations. Three indicater parameters are examined namely Ammonia, Chlorobenzene and NDMA. Wells are throughout Elmira (ie. off-site) and throughout the Chemtura property (ie. on-site). The off-site wells are in both Municipal Aquifers namely the Municipal Upper (MU) and the Municipal Lower (ML). Testing is also done on the off-site Bedrock wells. On-site wells are also in both Municipal Aquifers as well as the Upper Aquifers (ie. UA1, UA3). Please note that there are no on-site Bedrock wells in these analyses nor are there any off-site Upper Aquifer wells which could indicate other off-site sources contributing to our locally shut down drinking wells. These absences are not by accident.

I'm about to show you the results of Tables D.1 (Ammonia), D.2 (Chlorobenzene) and D.3 (NDMA) which give an overview of the success or failure of the pump and treat systems on and off the Chemtura property. Keep in mind that the statistical test used by CRA/GHD on behalf of Chemtura is called the Mann-Kendall test. I do not endorse it nor particularily think much of it. For example they include wells in the test which have shown very little or no contamination (ie. non-detects) but this is their analysis not mine.


****25 off-site wells show 7 wells with decreasing trends in ammonia concentrations.

****26 on-site wells show 9 wells with decreasing trends in ammonia concentrations.


*****36 off-site wells show 9 wells with decreasing trends in chlorobenzene concentrations and 2 with increasing trends.

*****105 on-site wells show 20 wells with decreasing trends in chlorobenzene.


*****72 off-site wells show 14 wells with decreasing trends in NDMA and 1 with an increasing trend.

*****101 on-site wells show 17 wells with decreasing trends in NDMA and 2 with increasing trends.

These are the current trends for on and of site wells . On-site wells have been under a pump and treat regimen since 1992 and the off-site wells since 1998. Even with what I view as a flawed statistical method I do not remotely see how these statistics are remotely indicating cleanup (off-site) by 2028. While we have been promised for the last 3 1/2 years improvements in the off-site pumping as well as source removal by In Situ Chemical Oxidation; it has not started yet and the clock is ticking.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Pesticide study shows impact on bumblebee learning". The study was co-authored by a University of Guelph professor and shows that a neonicotonoid insecticide called thiamethoxam is responsible for slowing down bees in their collecting of pollen. The crop seeds are treated with the insecticide prior to being planted. Pesticide residues remain in the nectar and pollen that bees feed on.

The senior author Nigel Raine states that "If exposure to low levels of pesticide affects their ability to learn, bees may struggle to collect food and impair the essential pollination services they provide to both crops and wild plants.".

In Europe neonicotonoids have been banned altogether whereas Ontario introduced restrictions on the pesticide last year. Both Quebec and Ontario farmers are objecting to rules and restrictions on neonicotoinoids with Ontario farmers fighting the new rules in the courts.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Line 9 may be up and running with its' flow reversed and capacity increased but the fight isn't over yet. The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation are pitted against Enbridge, the National Energy Board and the attorney general of Canada. The issue is one of genuine consultation or rather token consultation as is the form favoured by most politicians on all issues but especially environmental ones. The Chippewa's believe that there are potential effects of the pipeline on their aboriginal and treaty rights and that the Crown failed to properly consult and accomodate their legitimate concerns.

The Waterloo Region Record carried this story on March 11/16 titled "Court agrees to hear appeal over Line 9". The appeal follows a loss at the Federal Court of Appeal last October. Enbridge unsurprisingly claim that they have consulted respectfully and will continue to do so regardless of the Supreme Court outcome.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


On March 1 of this year a group of scientists published an open letter in the Waterloo Region Record. The title of the article /letter was "Scientists' open letter on the dangers of biosolids". This practice is commonplace in Waterloo Region and elsewhere.

There basic premise is that the supposed benefits (free fertilizer) are more than offset by the risks to human and environmental health. Only a tiny number of possible contaminants are tested for and when you realize that all current and legacy industrial chemicals enter our sewage treatment plants and end up in sewage sludge, it is not a pretty picture. Rebranding sewage sludge as biosoilds may make their land application more palatable to the public but does nothing to enhance safety.

The authors describe various classes (hundreds) of flame retardants, P.C.B.s and Dioxins (hundreds of each) that are not fully tested for nor could they practically be so tested. It is the same thing with prescription pharmaceuticals. While someone is so prescribed, everyone gets to enjoy them eventually via food production. Biological contaminants include bacteria, viruses and prions.

These scientists' short term solution is stockpiling or landfilling of sewage sludge in secure locations with leachate collection systems until a better means through science is discovered. They believe that science can discover better treatment options and better learn the risks involved in handling sewage wastes.

Their final summation is "Governments are playing Russian roulette with sewage sludge. Over time, there is a high probability this game will be lost at the public's expense.".

Monday, March 14, 2016


Abuse of each and every process, safeguard and system evolved ostensibly to aid human beings in their battle with pollution is the hallmark of the truly dedicated sociopathic polluter. Risk Assessment seems to be a local favourite here in Woolwich Township and Elmira. Right now we have a different M.O.E. idiot attending what for years was known as UPAC or CPAC (ie. Uniroyal/Chemtura Public Advisory Committee). She was publicly musing last week whether or not a Risk Assessment of the downstream Canagagigue Creek was a good idea. I would suggest that the environment would be better served via decision making determined by tea leaves or a Ouija Board. At least there would be less inherent bias in that process.

Over a decade ago Chemtura did a Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) and an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) on their Elmira site. The final result was that their site is risky for omnivorous shrews tunneling in their soil as well as to trespassers walking on their site. Really? No biomagnification results for predators of shrews such as hawks, foxes or raccoons. No adverse affects for workers on the site 40 hours per week or more. Just for us naughty environmental trespassers. Pardon me if I think their SSRA was a crock of crap.

Dr. Henry Regier (Biology) was one of the best informed, professional skeptics after he did additional research into the SSRA. This included extra discussions and communications with M.O.E. staff who were supposedly overseeing/monitoring Chemtura's SSRA. It turns out that the M.O.E. staff involved were out of their depth and missed important aspects of the SSRA process. It is afterall a complicated process in order to dissuade us laypersons from becoming too critical.

The net result is that the downstream Canagagigue Creek is contaminated with DDT and Dioxins/Furans in excess of provincial and federal standards. This will cost Chemtura big bucks to clean up. It is much cheaper for them to razzledazzle the public with highly credentialed and willing to help (for big $$$$) professionals who love to speak publicly about themselves, their accomplishments, their credentials, their hairdo (?) and how poisons are all about the dose because gosh darn even cancer drugs themselves are carcinogenic didn't you know.

This is not serving either the public or the environment. It is serving the bottom line of the corporation (Chemtura) and the tattered and frayed credibility of the M.O.E. in that they can claim they really haven't failed us yet again by ignoring both the farm on Chemtura's east side and the downstream Canagagigue Creek.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Sociopaths. I'm looking for words to describe the behaviour of the partners in pollution. Voulnteer citizens on CPAC (formerly CPAC & SWAT) have been leading the direction of the cleanup in Elmira for the last five years. From an acknowledgement that the 2028 cleanup was impossible in 2012 to increased pumping and off-site source removal and now to the admission by the Ontario Ministry of Environment that indeed Uniroyal/Chemtura's contamination has flowed eastwards onto the neighbour's property; CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) have led the way. Chemtura and the M.O.E. have been dragged kicking and screaming oh so slowly over the last thirty years in the direction of environmental responsibility. They have a very long ways to go.

TAG under the leadership of Dr. Dick Jackson are trying and working hard. RAC are the same bunch of bureaucratic hangers on and cheerleaders of the status quo that they've always been. Any honest members will not rock the boat by admonishing or upbraiding the Ontario M.O.E..

Chemtura are again seeking the *Responsible Care designation. Last time around Dr. Dan Holt appropriately voted against and Pat Mclean dishonestly voted in favour. Oh what a surprise when Chemtura are responsible for Pat's jetsetting around North America with all expenses paid by them. Mayor Shantz denies that this is a conflict of interest. She also claims that the sun rises in the west.

The second BLE spill occurred just before Christmas. Talk about cheap half measures ruling on that site. A containment pan was installed to catch leaks or ruptures. However as the BLE was hot and under pressure its' contents sprayed and got to the creek. This was because the unit is OUTDOORS. That was revealed Tursday afternoon at the RAC meeting. No wonder they had yet another albeit smaller spill.

One of TAG's recommendations regarding reinjecting treated groundwater into the aquifer versus discharge into the creek has been agreed to in principle by the M.O.E.. This means nothing however as they have no principles. Similarily I believe that I heard a promise from Ms. Buhlman that suspended sediment levels will be measured.

Since Thursday's RAC meeting I have heard the word "shill" used in regards to one of the presenters. I find that word harsh and insulting but otherwise can find no fault with it.

After Terri Buhlman's pandering to Chemtura by minimizing the ongoing damage in the Canagagigue Creek, Dr. Jackson made an amazing statement. He stated that the concentrations of Dioxins in our creek are substantially higher than those in Jackfish Bay one of the fourty-three Areas of Concern being remediated through the IJC (International Joint Commission). Jackfish Bay is in Canada on Lake Superior.

Regarding the East Side Investigation report the M.O.E. stated that greater delineation of soil and groundwater must occur hence more work is required. Dick Jackson stated that Chemtura will be invited back to the next TAG meeting in order to discuss these further steps on the east side property (Stroh). Dr. Jackson also stated that he wants investigation of the DRAINAGE EFFECT OF THE STROH DRAIN all the way up to RPE5. Keep in mind Dr. Jackson refers to it as an agricultural drain whereas as I was the first member of the public to discover it, I named it the Stroh drain. The issue of the 175 metres of unsampled Chemtura property line directly beside the Stroh Drain is also to be discussed at the next TAG meeting.

We have one last acceptance of a TAG Recommendation. Helder Botelho of Chemtura has agreed to consult with experts at the University of Waterloo regarding In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO). While this certainly verifies TAG's knowledge and expertise on the matter it means exactly nothing if Chemtura choose to consult and then ignore good advice.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Last evening's RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) was a pathetic joke. Chemtura and the Ministry of Environment contemptuously wasted everybodys time and essentially served notice that they have the money and the will to continue doing so either forever or until they are stopped. Councillors Mark Bauman and Sandy Shantz allowed and enabled last night's disgrace. The first indication of trouble was the Chair (Shantz) allowing Dr. Ronald Brecher to go on and on and on. Ostensibly he was delivering a lecture on risk assessment. In actuality it was a back patting, self-serving, ego enhancement load of drivel. In thirty years of CPAC meetings plus recent TAG and RAC meetings, last nite set a new low. Councillor Bauman showed up fifty minutes late and saved himself that much sitting. He did however miss a good presentation from Dwight Boyd of the GRCA regarding flood issues in the Canagagigue Creek.

Dr. Brecher was hired by Chemtura. If mayor Shantz had bothered to attend a single CPAC meeting between 2010 and 2014 prior to being elected mayor she would have known that Chemtura were shut down from monopolizing CPAC meetigs years ago. Their consultants (CRA) used to pull the crap that Dr. Brecher did last night. Essentially it's nothing more than a filibuster.

Following Dr. Brecher we were treated to more longwinded bullshit from Terri Buhlman of the M.O.E.. How dare she treat Elmira citizens the way she did last evening. It was arrogant, uninformed crap in conflict with both the facts and the comments of Dr. Richard (Dick) Jackson, the Chair of TAG. Ms. Buhlman advised the meeting that the Canagagigue Creek has high concentrations of contaminants in sediments in localized areas. She then went on to state that there is no acute toxicity in the creek as per the 2014 M.O.E. data. Dick Jackson on the other hand chacterized the contamination as very serious regarding Dioxins & DDT and stated that we don't know how spatially extensive it is.

Dr. Jackson had very little opportunity to say much last evening. He did advise RAC as to TAG's Recommendations regarding RAC's position and followup with both Chemtura and the M.O.E.. I suspect that last night's RAC meeting was an eyeopener for Dr. Jackson. As much as it pains me to say so I will add the following. TAG did a good job last evening. Pat McLean appropriately took both the M.O.E. and Chemtura to task for their last minute delivery of documents to TAG and RAC. This is the same stunt that mayor Shantz pulled last July at the MECAC meeting. Also Susan Bryant put GHD (Chemtura's consultants) on the hot seat over their failure to sample a 175 metre long stretch along the eastern property line directly beside the Stroh Drain.

Last night was Chemtura and the M.O.E. deflating expectations of further serious cleanup. The M.O.E. especially want a years long further process prior to actually doing anything in the creek downstream of Chemtura. They are simply stalling. There has been an acknowledgement that more needs to be done on the Stroh farm due to off-site flow from Chemtura. That too will be the ultimate minimum in cleanup with the maximum in "studies" and talk. Nothing has changed and full credit goes to Mark Bauman and Sandy Shantz. If they aren't already on Chemtura's payroll then they are fools. They are assisting the company to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars of cleanup costs.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


I covered the disgrace of bacteria contaminated raw water in West Montrose already so today we'll look at the rest of the rural Woolwich Township Well Systems. The Conestoga Golf Course Supply consists of two wells C5 and C6 located near the Grand River. Apparently one of them has a minor hydraulic connection to the river yet bacteria and Turbidity seem very good. Chlorine levels and Sodium are very good as well. Other than my standard complaints with what these Annual Reports don't provide the lack of up to date test results is my only other complaint. Test results for chemicals are two years old which I find unacceptable.

The Conestoga Plains Water System consists of wells C3 and C4. Odd but I wonder where C1 and C2 went. Could this explain also the very good results for raw water bacteria, Turbidity and Chlorine levels? Many years back I read that they had bacteria problems which certainly made sense when you realize how close their residential septic systems were to their wells. I wonder if the Region drilled new deeper wells or moved them further away? Regardless except for their 2013 test results all looks good. In fact it looks so good I have to wonder why the Region's original plan of a pipeline from Conestoga to West Montrose using Conestoga's water supply was replaced with a further pipeline over to St. Jacobs and tapping into the Integrated Urban Supply (IUS).

The Maryhill Village Heights Water Supply consists of wells MH3 and MH4A. Bacteria results are fine in the raw water although Turbidity is high. Everything else is good with the exception of once again 2013 test results for chemicals in the treated water.

The Maryhill Water Supply System consists of wells MH1 and MH2. Turbidity of the raw water here is also high albeit bacteria levels and everything else appear fine with two exceptions. The test reults are all from 2013 and Chloramines are a problem. Chloramines are formed from ammonium sulphate being added during treatment which is supposed to make a more stable disinfectant in the distribution system as well as help keep Trihalomethanes (THMs) at lower levels. THMs are also a by-product of disinfection. Notably the Region have not been reporting THM levels in the Maryhill Systems as well as many others. Both THMs and Chloramines are health issues in their own right. Mixed together is anybody's guess.

The Heidelburg Water Supply System is a bit of a geographical/political conundrum. It also supplies water to St. Clements which is in Wellesley Township. The system consists of wells HD1 and HD2 with HD1 offline for 28 weeks during 2015. Everything looks good including THMs at 19.8 ppb. (100 is the standard) except for the 2013 test results. They are especially disconcerting when one realizes that there has been a former gas station under remediation for decades. I do not know how these two wells have not drawn gasoline hydrocarbons into themselves over that time period.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


The Strange St. Well System is the oldest wellfield in Kitchener. It consists of wells K10A, K11A, K13, K18 and K19 sort of. At one time there were also wells K12 and K17 but they are long gone. I posted about them and the list of industrial solvents in them back on June 25, 2010. Wells K13, K18 and K19 were offline for all of 2015. We were advised of some minor construction and upgrades and are left to assume that that may be why these three wells were shut done all year. When one goes back to the 2014 Annual Report these same three wells were shut down again for the whole year although apparently with more serious construction. Other than high Sodium readings (71.5 mg/l) and a few high Chloramine readings albeit below the maximun allowed, these wells or at least K10A and K11A seem reasonably O.K..

The Woolner Wellfield consists of three river infiltration wells known as K80, K81 and K82. They are located downstream from the long closed Forwell and Pompeii Systems, also river infiltration wells beside the Grand River downgradient from Safety-Kleen in Breslau. The Woolner wellfield has had problems with odours and algae possibly influenced by phenols in the river from most likely the Safety-Kleen site. These three wells, K80-K82 were closed down all of 2015. What the 2015 Annual Report doesn't tell us is that they've been closed for the last five years. What it also doesn't tell us is that either river water directly or groundwater from river infiltration wells are inherently more expensive and difficult to treat for human consumption.

The Mannheim Water Treatment Plant receives raw water from the Grand River, treats it and mixes it with groundwater from at least seven wells namely K91, K92, K93, K94, K21, K25 and K29. The Mannheim Village wells and Shingletown Wells can also indirectly supply the Mannheim Pumping Station Reservoir. I had earlier suggested that the Middleton Wellfield in Cambridge was the most expensive water in the Region of Waterloo. Well in 2014 Mannheim cost taxpayers close to $4 million in maintenance, parts and upgrades. 2015 was less "reasonable" at just shy of $9 million. Holy God is this system producing magic water that is the fountain of youth or what?

The what I have to suspect is the bacteria levels in the river. In 2014 raw river water samples had maximum Total Coliform levels of 370,000 with E.Coli maximum counts at 5,800. In 2015 the raw water had a lower maximum Total Coliform count of 75,000 but E.Coli hit a count of 5,900. I don't know how the Grand River compares with other surface water bodies but I do know how it compares with groundwater and that can only be described as terribly bad. The treatment of this water is out of this world. Indeed the treated water results are good in regards to chemicals and bacteria but at what a cost. This cost is not only dollars but in by-products of the massive disinfection of the water. Both chloramines and Trihalomethanes are in the treated water in our taps. Perhaps groundwater is used to improve the taste of the treated river water. Keep in mind the THMs and chloramines are legal but I don't believe that that means they are healthy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


The Turnbull Well System is located on the east side of Cambridge and consists of wells G16, G17 and G18. Well G17 was offline for eighteen weeks in 2015. No reason was given. Microbiological testing (ie. bacteria) all look good. Turbidity and chlorine levels in the water are all very good. Sodium is at a very low 22.7 mg/l. Method Detection Limits are high for a dozen chemicals just like all the other Annual Reports in the Region. Also the testing is 2014 versus 2015.

The Greenbrook Well System is located by the intersection of Highland Rd. and Filsinger Dr. It consists of wells K1A, K2A, K4B, K5A and K8. All these wells were offline for 48 weeks in 2015 due to human error causing an explosion. A delivery person managed to either put chlorine in an ammonia storage container or vice versa. The results were loud and very damaging to the tune of $800,000. These wells were also shut down a few years back after 1,4-dioxane was discovered in the water, most likely courtesy of the Ottawa St. Landfill and probably courtesy of either Uniroyal Chemical or Varnicolor Chemical in Elmira.

The maximum Turbidity of the raw water in these wells is much too high which can lead to disinfection (bacteria) problems. That said the water is treated not only with chlorine but also via an advanced oxidation process (AOP) which seems to do the job.

The Parkway Well System consists of wells K31, K32 and K33. They are located on Manitou Drive. Turbidity (cloudiness) and chlorine levels are both good. Sodium is horrible at 201 mg/l although the reading is from 2013 which is outrageous. This is one of the highest readings in Waterloo Region and they can't even give us up to date test results. High sodium levels can be very bad for people with heart issues. Trichloroethylene is present in the drinking water albeit at low levels namely .7 parts per billion (ppb). While below the Ontario Drinking Water Standard (ODWS) it is still exactly .7 ppb too high. This is likely the leftover result of the former Deilcraft factory located nearby which has been remediated. Also Chloramines are more than half their health standard over most of the year. No one knows what the health effects are of multiple low level contaminants in our drinking water.

Wells K34 and k36 are in the south-west area of Kitchener. Other than chloramines exceeding half their health standard
the only other peculiarity would be the 2011 test result for sodium. It is reasonably low but 2011, really? The other test results appropriately are for 2015.

Monday, March 7, 2016


This past Saturday the Waterloo Region Record did a major, front page expose if you will of Woolwich, Wellesley and North Dumfries Townships. The article was titled "Trouble in the Townships" and it was a barnburner. In my opnion Woolwich and North Dumfries took the brunt of the bad press, appropriately so. North Dumfries apparently have had several years of fiscal mismanagement compounded by a lack of transparency of the situation, allegedly even with their Council. If we are to believe their mayor Sue Foxton, she and Council had no idea as to how much financial difficulty they were in. It was serious enough that there were apparently threats of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs stepping in and taking over. This is indeed within their scope and authority if they feel that a municipality's governance is badly lacking. What I find difficult to comprehend is the fact that she in particular was unaware of their Township's finances. Afterall she had been a Councillor for seventeen years prior to being elected mayor. The only way that makes sense is if the books had been absolutely cooked and that should have resulted in criminal charges not merely dismissal of an employee.

Woolwich Township of course has had the Todd Cowan saga for a year and a half and the Election Finance Scandal for about a year. Mr. Cowan faces the music in mid June and mayor Sandy Shantz is back in court in just over two weeks (March 23/16). Councillor Mark Bauman was temporarily removed and then surrepticiously snuck back into office by way of Superior Court with honest citizens not even informed of the time, date or venue. What a weasel. Councillor Scot Hahn was actually hammered by the results of a forensic audit done by Froese and Associates yet the Municpal Elections Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC) let him walk. Yes Sandy that is a conspiracy.

While Paige Desmond of the Record did not focus on the behaviour of Councillor Bauman or MECAC she did mention a couple of other issues. The first is the behaviour of the Township's Municipal Clerk. With both Councillor Bauman and mayor Shantz she was both reluctant and tardy in issuing the Notices of Default. She was also responsible for ensuring compliance to the Elections Act when the candidates filed their Financial Statements. Councillor's Bauman's total lack of filing should have resulted in an immediate Notice of Default instead of one, months later. Councillor Hahn's $258 total expenses should have been immediately challenged by the Clerk and was not. To date he is over $3,000 in expenses and he obviously had not filed accurately, even at first blush. The mayor's multiple errors, omissions and inaccuracies were more subtle. Perhaps her 31 years of bookeeping experience at least gave the appearance of honesty and accuracy thus getting by the Clerk.

Paige Desmond also mentioned the not so minor matter of the Ontario Ombudsman taking Woolwich Council to task. The Council had gotten into some very bad and sloppy behaviour in discussing public matters privately ie. in camera. It turns out that Woolwich Council and their high paid CAO have great difficulty in interpreting the rules as they pertain to transparency and public matters. Woolwich now claim that they are on track and understand their duties and responsibilities.

Finally it is heartwarming watching our local mayor pass the buck. That old adage that the buck stops here clearly does not apply in Woolwich. Instead of "manning" up and admitting her own failures, mayor Shantz advises the Record and its' readers that "the cause of the Woolwich issues is really a small group of residents who are unhappy with her and other members of council.". That's it, myself and other residents forced Mark Bauman not to file, Scot Hahn to ignore all his expenses and Sandy Shantz to miscalculate by thousands of dollars, forget some expenses, fail to file an Audit, accept overdonations etc. etc..

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Well P9 is located just north of the old Ciba-Geigy site on the east side of Cambridge. Other than the usual reporting weaknesses and failures common to all Region of Waterloo Annual Reports; it is a relief to state that this well is unremarkable in all areas. Raw water bacteria levels are minimal to nil. Turbidity and Chlorine levels are both within standards. Sodium is a little high at 78.6 mg/l but certainly no prize winner for Cambridge drinking water. My only other complaint would relate to the legal yet disheartening practice of not having up to date (ie. 2015) results for all the solvents, chemicals and pesticides tested. Afterall this report is the 2015 Annual Report.

Wells P15 and P16 are also generally unremarkable albeit well P16 has been shut down for many years without explanation. Actually the Region use the term offline although the latest P16 test results are from 2003 which kind of tells us how long it's been "offline.". Chlorine maximum levels in P15 are a too high 3.37 mg/l which could lead to excessive Trihalomethanes (THMs) which are a human health issue. This is but yet another well in these reports which does not advise us of the THM levels.

Wells P10, P11 and P17 are part of the Pinebush Well System. Normally well P10 runs in conjunction with either P11 or P17 and those two wells alternate duties. We are advised that in 2015 there was a major expenditure of $600,000 on these wells. The description given is "Filter media and underdrain replacement". Hmm. That's it, a five word description for a $600,000 expenditure. O.K. I've got a pretty good idea what the filter media replacement would be. This well system and a few others use filters filled with manganese greensand and anthracite coal. A few years back I googled those but currently I'm drawing a blank... O.K... I just took a little Google break. Both these filter media are used for Iron and Maganese removal along wuth suspended sediments in the water. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the bulk of this cost was the "underdrain" replacement whatever exactly that might be.

Bacteria levels, raw water Turbidity and Chlorine levels (after treatment) are all within specifications. Sodium is a reasonable 33.6 mg/l and again test reults are unfortunately from 2014.

The Shades Mill Well System consists of four wells namely G7, G8, G38 and G39. Interestingly I have a very old Cambridge map on my office wall given to me by Brenda Thompson of Cambridge perhaps twenty years ago. It shows a whole lot more wells in the vicinity of Shades Mills that I have never seen in any of these Region of Waterloo Reports. They are named as wells G30-G36. Is it a coincidence that these wells are very close to the Cambridge Landfill site? Are they currently acting as Interceptor Wells and being pumped to waste or are they simply "offline" forever?

These four wells (G7, G8, G38 & G39) also had $600,000 spent on "Filter media and underdrain replacement". Now their raw water has a little problem with Total Coliform detections. Zero E.Coli but nevertheless these bacteria results (15 detections) are a little concerning in the raw water. Turbidity is a little on the high side with a maximum reading of 1.07 NTU (Nephlemetric Turbidity Units). NTU standards are all over the map with 1.0 being a fairly common standard. Sodium levels are good and the chemical test results are all for 2015 which is good.

Friday, March 4, 2016


I expect that I will go back to the rest of the City of Cambridge wells tomorrow or next week. Today we will be looking at the City of Waterloo well system. It consists of the William St. Wellfield, the Erb St. Wellfield and W10, well sort of. We are advised in this year's Annual Report that W10 was offline for all of 2015. No reason or explanation is given whatsoever. W10 is located on the north-west side of Waterloo and further digging indicates that it has been offline since 2007. Would it kill the Region to have told us that? Would it kill them to give even a brief one sentence (preferably honest) explanation as to what the problem is or whether there even is a problem with this well?

The Erb St. Wellfield consists of wells W6A, W6B, W7 and W8. We are advised in this year's Annual Report that Well W6A was offline for all of 2015. No reason given. Again this report fails to advise the reader that in fact Well W6A has been shut down since 2013. There was also no explanation given then. Furthemore with more digging it appears that the long history of the Erb St. wells has included only wells W6A, W7 and W8. W6B appeared on the scene and in these reports firstly in 2012! One could surmise or assume that Well W6B was brought online to replace W6A but it would certainly be less worrisome if the Region were to include basic information in these reports as to why they are adding or dropping wells from longtime wellfields. There were a couple of Adverse Incidents in regards to the Contact Time of the disinfectant used to remove bacteria from the water during 2015. Mains were flushed, disinfection restored and resampling done. The actual raw water bacteria levels appear to be quite low thus I was a little surprised to see half a page of "Inorganic parameters that exceeded half the prescribed standard". These parameters were all Chloramines which are a disinfectant by-product and indeed are a human health issue.

The William St. wells are as bad as usual. They consist of four different wells with well W1B offline for five weeks in 2015. No explanation given. Turbidity (cloudiness) and chlorine levels are within specifications however Sodium is off the charts at 223 mg/litre. This is one of the highest readings I've seen anywhere within the Region of Waterloo. Trihalomethane levels are not reported and should be. These THMs are also a by-product of disinfection and a serious health issue. Advising that they can allegedly be found elsewhere is not helpful. Citizens have come to these Annual Reports to learn about their drinking water. The only good news I can give is that the test results are all up to date namely 2015. The bad news is both Chloramines and Trichloroethylene (TCE). Chloramine levels are not exceeding their individual health standard of 3 mg/l but there is almost a full page of results greater than half this standard. Combine that with TCE results constantly between 1.2 and 1.8 parts per billion (ppb) present in the treated water and you have the formula for trouble. No one, nowhere has any idea of the effects of multiple serious contaminants on the human body. These individual standards are meaningless for multiple toxic contaminants and both the Region of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of Environment know that full well. Basically the citizens of Waterloo, similar to those of Cambridge are guinea pigs with exposures to low level multiple contaminants in their drinking water. I won't even get started with all the high Method Detection Limits that are probably hiding other contaminants such as Glyphosate.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


To date I would suggest that there have not been too many surprises in the Region of Waterloo's Annual (drinking water) Reports. Wells with checkered pasts and a long history of issues continue to be so. The inherent problems in these Reports along with their standard operating procedures which hide problems have not been fixed. This includes multiple Delegations to Woolwich Council who have publicly stated that they would lobby both the Ministry of Environment and the Region for improvements in their reporting systems. To date I've had no positive responses from anyone.

Well H3 (H for Hespeler) we are advised had "No adverse results for the 2015 reporting period". Further regarding maintenance issues and monetary expenses we are advised that "Not applicable; no significant expenses incurred". Then we are advised that "Well H3 was offline for 51 weeks in 2015". What the hell?

The good news is that the microbiological testing done was all excellent with zero Total Coliform and zero E.Coli. Also Turbidity and Chlorine results were within specifications. Yes Sodium results were high at 104 mg/l and finally all the test results were taken in 2015. Taken on literally a handful of samples only. Absolutely no hint as to why this well was essentially shut down for the year.

Well H4 is another of the wells which fairly recently has been updgraded? with an additional well namely H4A. There of course is no explanation why or how. Well H4 was shut down for the entire year while H4A did all the pumping. From an on-line article I read a couple of years ago regarding Cambridge bedrock wells it is possible that well H4 had a sleeve added to allow pumping from a different layer of bedrock. Or alternatively it could literally be a separate drilled well beside H4 again with the well screen at a different depth in a less contaminated zone. H4A appears to have no microbiological or chemical issues. Even Sodium is considerably lower at 34.7 mg/l. My only concern is that all these test results for a well pumping the entire year (2015) are from 2014. Bizarre when well H3 which only ran for a week in 2015 was fully tested in 2015.

Hespeler well H5 ran the entire year and seems to be without issues. Even sodium is incredibly low at 17 mg/l. Keep in mind that results higher than 20 mg/l are reported to the health Department and M.O.E. every five years. Some residents do have Sodium restrictions in their diets due to heart problems. My biggest complaint would be that the chemical tests are from 2014 and the Sodium test from 2013. Also of course as with all these Annual Reports there are far too many Method Detection Limits (MDLs) that are far too high and could be masking the presence of industrial chemicals and or pesticides.

Well P6 is in Preston south of Bishop St. and the former Northstar Aerospace factory. All the test results are from 2011 and we are advised that the "System was off for all of 2015". What we are not advised in this report is that this system has been shutdown in its' entirety for the last four years ie. 2012-2015. What we are also not advised is that every other well in Cambridge is tested for Trichloroethylene (TCE) only once a year with the notable exception of the Middleton Wellfield (monthly). What the Region also fails to inform us the citizens is that well P6 was tested for TCE multiple times in 2010 and 2011. You'd almost think that they were expecting to get TCE hits just like they do at the Middleton Wellfield in Cambridge and the William St. Wellfield in Waterloo.

Finally not a whisper that the upgradient soil and groundwater is permeated with TCE courtesy of Northstar Aerospace and one of their neighbours. Yes pump and treat as well as In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) have been undertaken but unfortunately TCE is a DNAPL chemical and with or without more aggressive action this groundwater and nearby P6 may be toast forever. What right does the Region of Waterloo have to deny this information to the public? At what point in time did our governments become spin doctors and public relations consultants for industry?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Today we're going to discuss wells G4, G5, G6 and G9. The G stands for Galt and G4 is located in the Blair area, G5 up near the former Ciba-Geigy, G6 further south along Franklin Blvd. and G9 much further south basically as far south as the Middleton wellfield only further east.

The G4 well supply consists of two wells namely G4 and G4A. Exactly as per 2014, G4 was again shut down for the entire year in 2015. No explanation is given. Several Cambridge wells have had sleeves installed in recent years allowing the wells to be drilled deeper into less contaminated zones. Both wells G4 and G5 were augmented by wells G4A and G5A in 2013. Since then well G4 has been shut down.

Well G4A found no industrial/agricultural contaminants above their Method Detection Limits (MDL). There are no results published in this report for either Chloramines ot Trihalomethanes (THMs) which are by-products of disinfection. This is despite the form having the THM column state ("Note: show latest average).

Well G5 consists of both G5 and G5A which came on-line allegedly in 2013 the same time as G4A. Here however it is the newer well G5A which is shut down constantly. While it is stated that only one well runs at a time, again there is no explanation as to why there are two wells at the same location and why they aren't sharing the duties. Sodium is at a ridiculously high level of 183 mg/l (parts per million) but wait a minute that's a 2013 reading. With a reading that high they should have up to date data not two year old data. Similarily the industrial chemicals are all 2014 test results. They are all below the MDLs which again are elevated for approximately a dozen compounds.

Well G6 also has test results from 2014 which may be legal but is disgraceful. Seriously why produce these "Annual Reports" if you're simply repeating the test results from the year before. The range of results for Chlorine was from .54 to 4.46 mg/l which is far in exceedance of the standard. That said it did not trigger an Adverse Incident Report allegedly because it was merely an "8 minute spike". Metalachlor was detected at .42 ppb which is not considered an exceedance but again this result was from 2014. It should be tested for annually as it has been found for years in this well most likely from the upgradient former Ciba-Geigy.

Well G9 is in a similar position as their test reults are mostly from 2014 and they too have an industrial compound for years in their water namely trichloroethylene (TCE). It is at 2 ppb and is coming from either or Rockwell, Allen-Bradley or possibly Long Mfg.. This too should be tested at least annually.

Both THMs and chloramines results should be published in each of these reports and is not. Similarily annual testing should be the rule not the exception. Ubiquitous compounds in groundwater such as Toluene and Xylenes should be included. NDMA should also be routinely tested for and results published. Finally all upgrades and significant expenditures on wells should be fully explained including the rationale for so doing. Lastly Method Detection Limits also require detailed explanation when they rise. This is our drinking water and these reports hide far more than they show. The provincial government through the Ministry of Environment are claiming transparency while doing the opposite.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Today we are going to look at one of the jewels in the Region of Waterloo's drinking water system. I indicated last year that the Middleton wellfield had to be the most expensive water produced throughout the tri cities and Townships. Two Annual Reports ago (2013) there was a $16 million upgrade using Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) in order to reduce industrial contamination. Last year's Annual Report (2014) indicated an additional $200,000 in maintenance and upgrades to some of the wells and the same thing again has occurred in this year's Report (2015). Keep in mind these expenditures especially the $16 Million are to remove Trichloroethylene (TCE) an industrial cleaner and degreaser from the public's drinking water. And still yet the Region and City of Cambridge resist telling us who the culprits are. The most readily apparent are Canadian General Tower (CGT) next door with a hint of a former local drycleaner also being a possibility.

This "jewel" of a wellfield provides approximately 45% of Cambridge's drinking water. There is some good news despite a very long history of significant industrial contamination with a toxic chemical (TCE). The Region are doing at least two things to mitigate TCE contamination. They are spending literally millions of dollars to reduce the concentrations and keep them below the current Ontario Drinking Water Standard of 5 parts per billion (ppb). Keep in mind the drinking standard in Ontario was much higher a couple of decades ago however today there are U.S. jurisdictions with standards in the 3 ppb. range. The second thing the Region are doing is diluting this water. A decade ago well G15 which is located south of the Middleton wellfield was considered a separate water source. For the last many years it has been pumped into the Middleton reservoir either for convenience or for dilution. Hence the concentrations in treated water from the Middleton Wellfield last year were between 1.2 and 1.9 ppb. .

Frankly I had expected that the AOP system would have done better. The conclusion I am coming to is that the raw water from these wells prior to treatment may have rising TCE concentrations. This isn't likely due to an ongoing dissolved source of TCE but far more likely due to TCE as DNAPL. DNAPL or Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid is essentially pure, undissolved TCE also known as free phase TCE, either stationery or slowly moving downhill under gravity. DNAPL can literally take decades to centuries to fully dissolve into groundwater. Either the TCE is dissolving faster than it was or it has flowed closer towards the pumping wells intake screens. This would occur as I mentioned under the influence of gravity as the free phase TCE moves downwards through the fractured bedrock aquifer closer to the intake screens of the five Middleton wells.

Good news would be the reduction in raw water bacteria levels. 2015 had zero E.Coli results and only 21 Total Coliform. This is an improvement. Turbidity and Chlorine levels are also better than they've been over the prior couple of years. Sodium unfortunately is still much too high at 141 mg/litre. Results greater than 20 mg/l are reported to the health department and M.O.E. every five years.

There are other inherent problems in the Region's Annual (drinking water) Reports but for me the most disappointing and potentially serious are the everchanging Method Detection Limits (MDLs). There is only one direction these should be going and that is downwards. In other words through scientific improvements in labratory testing we have and should continue to be able to test for and detect contaminants at lower and lower concentrations. Someone please explain to me why the reverse is happening with numerous contaminants in the Region of Waterloo's Annual Reports. The most striking example of this is Glyphosate otherwise known as "Roundup". This herbicide apparently is becoming ubiquitous in our groundwater due to its' use both in agriculture and residentially. A decade ago its' MDL was 10 ppb.. For the last many years the Region has been reporting Glyphosate concentrations as less than 25 ppb. (ie. < 25 ug/l). That is outrageous!

Indeed there are some contaminants whose MDLs have been reduced but there are yet others such as some chlorophenols with rising MDLs over the last several years. The most obvious interpretation of rising MDLs is simply that the reporting authority are attempting to hide increases in contaminants in our drinking water supply. As stated there are enough inherent problems with these reports already. Further deflection of water problems is not in the public interest but only serves the agenda of polluting industries and their political mouthpieces.