Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I have reviewed both the Woolwich Staff report to Council describing the proposed changes to the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) as well as the ten Recommendations sent in to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by local citizen Richard Clausi. They are as different as night and day. Richard's Recommendations focus on the enforcement of the MEA as currently written with specific references to failures by Clerks, candidates and MECAC and hence improvements in those areas. The Staff Report covers a wider area with some emphasis upon changes to the MEA which they view as a positive step forward for election administrators.

This is typical provincial legislation in that the public were sold a bill of goods in that these proposed changes would make elections more honest and transparent. They were supposed to reduce opportunities for either outright cheating regarding election financing or at least to close loopholes through which unscrupulous candidates could drive trucks through. That has not happened. Instead there have been some superficial "fixing" of some areas while actually allowing more wiggle room and stickhandlng by candidates so inclined to do so.

Regarding brazen and outrageous behaviour/negligence by half our local Council there appears to be no tightening of enforcement whatsoever. In fact there has been a loosening according to the descriptions by Staff in their Report. No longer is a reasonable filing deadline months after the election mandatory. For a $500 fee candidates can get a 30 day extension beyond the deadline. Also candidates who file prior to the deadline are then allowed to make changes to their Financial Statements as they see fit.

The good old boy partisan appointments to MECAC by local municipal Clerks seem not to have changed. MECAC decisions, no matter how contrary to the MEA will remain effectively unchallenged except by those with more money than ethics. Prosecutions for contraventions will effectively be monopolized by Council complaints to the judicial authorities versus citizen complaints. Councils will take runs at the likes of Todd Cowan for example while ignoring lawbreaking by do not rock the boat, deeply embedded local luminaries.

Staff are in full support of this Bill 181. It puts no further onus on candidates to fully and voluntarily or otherwise follow the MEA regarding election financing and reporting. It does make a number of administrative changes that Staff feel will make their lives easier, hence they support it. These are not adequate grounds for Council to accept or endorse this Staff Report. Perhaps one of the most outrageous "reforms" is giving municipalities the option to ban corporate and union donations to candidates. This will ensure that half the province do not allow corporate and union donations while the other half do. What the hell kind of legislation is that? If there is a problem with corporate and union donations to municipal candidates than the province should outright ban them. Leaving it up to local Councils to do so or not simply guarantees inconsistency throughout Onatrio and these potential donors will be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for identical acts that are legal literally next door. Ridiculous!

Monday, May 30, 2016


I got into some light reading on the weekend. It was a 1966 Report by the Ontario Water Resources Commission. They were the predecessor to our current disasterous Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The title of the Report is "A Water Resources Survey of the County of Waterloo".

A couple of commonalities throughout Waterloo County including both the rural and urban water supplies are that no tretment of the water was needed. Whether bacterial issues or industrial ones our underground aquifers had as yet not been comprimised either by animal or human sewage (coliform & E.Coli) nor by industrial discharges including solvents into the ground. The other commonality was that all the separate towns and cities were already looking towards either one of the Great Lakes or the Grand River for future water use. They also acknowledged that there would be greatly enhanced water treatment required for either of these surface waters.

Regarding the Elmira area, the OWRC knew exactly what industries were in town including textiles, furniture, farm machinery and chemicals. Early on there were complaints of odour and taste problems due to iron bacteria in a couple of the wells. In hindsight whatever the extent of the tastes and odours from iron bacteria perhaps they served to mask real health issues in the water from local industries.

The bacteriological quality of the water courtesy of both human and livestock had always been "satisfactory" nevertheless there was talk of both iron removal and the use of chlorine to eliminate the odour and taste problems. This is not the first time that I have heard of chlorination essentially to mask other taste problems.

The Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) came on line in 1965. Immediate problems arose from both Borg Textiles and Robin Textiles. Their liquid wastes were filled with fibres from their textile operations and were clogging various portions of the equipment at the STP. Naugatuck Chemicals (Uniroyal) had large volumes of high strength chemical wastes which required pretreatment in order to balance their PH as well as not overwhelm the bacteria used in the STP.

Both the predecessors to Nutrite (Yara) and Sulco (CCC) were also mentioned in this report. They were called Elmira Fertilzers Ltd. and Elmira Acid and Chemical Ltd. at that time. Creek water samples were taken at the Arthur St. bridge upstream of the STP and were affected by the Gordon Yonge outfall. Could Gordon Yonge have been the predecessor of the Great West Felt Co. now known as Walco?

There were further problems with two local industries upsetting the processes within the STP. It was hoped/expected that these could be overcome internally by these two companies. While Borg is not mentioned here as one of those companies they were named later on in a GRCA document as having damaged the bacteria used within the STP processes.

Dairy wastes as well as meat packing wastes were a problem in Kitchener and apparently Silverwood Dairies was also a problem in Elmira with their direct discharges to Canagagigue Creek. It is quite amazing to me how much was known by our local authorities in regards to which companies discharged which wastes either directly into the "Gig" or indirectly through the STP first. Odd isn't it that they allegedly couldn't figure out the bad industrial apples here in Elmira who eventually destroyed our drinking water aquifers?

Saturday, May 28, 2016


The good news is that all the pumping wells achieved their targeted pumping rates in April, both on and off-site wells. The bad news is that four years after CPAC in conjunction with a consultant (Dr. Gail Krantzberg) publicly advised that Chemtura and the M.O.E. would not achieve their 2028 cleanup deadline with their current plans and three and a half years after which they agreed with that; they still are "in process" with higher pumping rates and In Situ Chemical Oxidation. In other words their target pumping rates are essentially unchanged. Yes they have raised pumping rates in some wells but also lowered others. We are still awaiting the so called doubling of the pumping volumes. In November 2012 we were promised a tripling of the rates. We also haven't seen to date any biological modeling to indicate if there will be effects on life within the creek after a doubling or more of the treated discharge to the creek.

The influent concentrations of organic chemicals to the treatment systems both on and off the Chemtura site remain at very high levels. Toluene on site is repeatedly in the thousands of parts per billion primarily due to unremoved free phase Toluene (LNAPL). NDMA concentrations remain thousands of times higher than drinking water standards in places both on and off site. There is a very, very long ways to go with only twelve years remaining in the deadline.

MISA (Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement) indicate very low levels of Lindane and Toluene are still being discharged to the Canagagigue Creek from Chemtura.

The surface water sampling of the creek indicate exceedances with Formaldehyde and Iron. Allegedly even the Formaldehyde is not a result of chemical contamination by Chemtura although I am skeptical. Furthermore ethylhexylphthalate and Toluene still show up in the long term averages slightly different upstrem than downstream. As expected Toluene is higher downstream courtesy of Chemtura whereas the phthalate is higher upstream indicating another source above Chemtura on the creek.

While these monthly Progress Reports are not a total waste of time nevertheless they continue to be primarily propaganda pieces for Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.).

Friday, May 27, 2016


This week's Woolwich Observer dated May 26 carried the following story on page 4 titled "Environmental assessment the first step in development plan for former Varnicolor site". This link only takes you to the Observer. At that point on the right side of their page you can download their newspaper and find this story on page four. Keith Metzger of Peritus Environmental was interviewed for the story as was David Brenneman, CAO of Woolwich Township. Both felt that the meeting was a good two way flow of information and questions. To date I still have no confirmation or clarification in regards to an alleged interview/meeting that I had with XCG consultants back in 2001 as part of the Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 when the site was purchased by Elmira Pump from Phillip Environmental. This is both bizarre and disconcerting. Whether the three significant and informative meetings I had with Mr. Metzger of Peritus over the previous two weeks regarding the former Varnicolor site somehow atone for that bizarre issue, I do not know.

I was very pleased with the media interest in the former Varnicolor's Risk Assessment with CKCO-TV attending the meeting and our two local newspapers (Record & Observer) filing stories afterwards. All three appear to have understood the situation in that only the top ten to fifteen feet of the site has been well remediated. This is through no fault of either Elmira Pump nor Peritus Environmental. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) are in complete control of the process and if a new owner ever wants to receive a Record of Site Condition from the M.O.E. then they have to play ball. Thus wwhen the Ministry says put in fifteen to twenty shallow boreholes and monitoring wells and only one intermediate and one deep borehole and well; then that is exactly what you do.

The issue of still remaining deeper contamination while at low concentrations albeit above drinking water standards was raised at the public Risk Assessment meeting by both Mayor Shantz and myself. She expressed concern with leaving these contaminants including Trichloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride, Dichloroethylene and more in place. I believe that if NDMA had been tested for even half as much as the other contaminants that it too would have been detected at depth as well as previously in the surficial aquifer. The fact that the next step as indicated by Keith Metzger is to discuss the findings of the Risk Assessment with Chemtura and their consultants speaks volumes. Chemtura are tasked with remediating the entire Elmira Aquifers and perhaps it would be in their interests to do some deeper work at the former Varnicolor site (now Elmira Pump). I would suggest that if that occurs there is perhaps a fifty-fifty chance of it becoming public knowledge. Afterall nobody likes being told "I told you so".

Thursday, May 26, 2016


No I do not believe that more work is necessarily required to prove that the environmental risks involved to walk and work on the surface are any more than negligible. I have confidence that both Peritus Environmental and Elmira Pump have conscientiously and professionally done their due diligence plus. That said there is still good reason for more boreholes and monitoring wells being installed. Deeper boreholes and monitoring wells that is. Also the location needs to be changed. From my limited access to the Environmental Site Assessments (1 & 2) and the still in process Risk Assessment I believe that a major area of contamination has been missed. In the professional terminology that would be a PCA or Potentially Contaminated Area.

This missed area in my opinion does not alter the surface health and safety which is the focus of the Risk Assessment. That is because of two reasons. Firstly the Interceptor/Collector trenches near this area presumably have done their job and collected the contaminated Surficial Aquifer groundwater. Secondly the area I am referring to had its' contamination delivered at depth rather than at the surface as the rest of the site did. This area was behind the former orange Varnicolor building that used to face Union St. It consisted of a buried road tanker and a buried septic tank, both with pipe connections to a floor drain inside the orange building.

As indicated by testing of the contents back in 1991 as well as nearby soil, clearly these had been used to dump hazardous liquid wastes into the ground at depth. These toxic contaminants over time have migrated further downwards into the Upper Aquifer and Municipal Upper Aquifer both of which underlie the site. The purpose of deeper soil and groundwater testing in these areas now is to determine the extent of contamination still discharging into the Municipal Upper Aquifer which is under remediation throughout Elmira. If the former Varnicolor site is still a significant source of any contaminants, not just Chemtura's three favourites namely NDMA, Chlorobenzene and Ammonia, then on-site remediation needs to be considered. This could be unobtrusive in-situ chemical oxidation or even pumping and treating of the deeper groundwater.

Hence I believe that redevelopment is still immediately possible even with deeper testing and possible further remediation in order to assist cleaning up the Elmira Aquifers by 2028 as ordered. These additional costs however should not be borne by Elmira Pump who have done their due diligence plus much more. Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of Environment need to step up. Afterall they are the architects of the sweetheart deal between themselves which assigned all blame and responsibility to Uniroyal Chemical for the destruction of the Elmira Aquifers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


As contaminant plumes shrink over time it can become possible to see more clearly where they originated from. For example the south-west corner of Uniroyal has long been obvious as the ongoing source of contaminants migrating into the municipal aquifer on site and then flowing in a south-west direction off-site. The contaminants originate in the former south-west ponds RPW5-8. Similarily it has long appeared both in the municipal upper and municipal lower aquifer plumes that there is a source of both NDMA and Chlorobenzene either at Varnicolor Chemical or at Borg or both. These two companies were just across Howard Ave. from each other. Other source areas are even more obvious by their plumes such as the longterm one at well OW60 situated beside Park and Queen St. in Elmira. What is less obvious is what is the source in this area? To date it is a mystery although I have two possible culprits in mind.

Pumping well W5A/B most likely is drawing contaminants from the First St. Landfill as well as from the southern end of Chemtura. The historically high concentrations of chlorobenzene just west of Varnicolor (OW57-32 etc.) most likely are originally from free phase chlorobenzene. If not Varnicolor and it would require outright fraud by the M.O.E. for it to be from them; then it would have flowed either from Uniroyal/Chemtura's south-west corner across Union St. and past Varnicolor or it came across Howard Ave. from the former Borg Textiles. The Borg source could have been (and probably still could be) determined by shallow and intermediate soil and groundwater sampling.

Well CH38 located beside Sanyo Canada on Industrial Dr. has held much too high NDMA and chlorobenzene concentrations for two decades plus. Again shallow and intermediate soil and groundwater sampling could have (and still could) exonerate or implicate Sanyo as a source area. My expectation is that based upon the use of cutting oils etc. that NDMA is more likely to originate from them than chlorobenzene. In the alternative NDMA could have come from Varnicolor or Borg with chlorobenzene more likely from Borg. There is yet another possibility and that is due east down Oriole Parkway. The proven source area of Lot 91 was never remotely adequately remediated. Again based upon subsurface stratigraphy Napls (Non Aqueous Phase Liquids) could have gravity flowed westwards from Lot 91 towards the corner of Oriole Parkway and Industrial Dr. where they settled and have been slowly dissolving into the groundwater for decades. All these possibilities could easily have been tested for and still could be if the Ontario M.O.E. were honest and transparent. Apparently that isn't so.

Further possibilities indicating other sources in southern Elmira would have to include the former McKee Harvestor location. Simply based upon manufacturing, painting, metal working and the use of solvents make this former business along Southwood Dr. a candidate for investigation. Investigation I might add that was either never done or never reported to the public or both.

Switching northwards we have long been advised that the north wellfield near the Trans Canada Trail and at the extreme northern end of Snyder Avenue was contaminated by it's pumping of Uniroyal's NDMA upgradient into the wellfield. While theoretically possible I wonder if there were other closer sources. For example the former Strauss Fuels on Arthur St. north which I helped remediate while working for Quantum Environmental years ago is very close. This and others may not have contributed NDMA but what if they contributed petroleum hydrocarbons as normally found in gasoline and diesel fuels? Was the bad taste of Elmira water in the 1980s solely due to NDMA? Hardly.

Here is the big picture. Elmira's groundwater was a mess in the 1980s due to both large scale and small scale dumping, spillage, leaks and Uniroyal's in ground pits and ponds. The water stunk. Along comes NDMA or at least it was allegedly "discovered" in late 1989. I suggest to you that Elmira's two wellfields should have been shut down years earlier with or without NDMA. NDMA was a very convenient scapegoat for the Ontario M.O.E.'s negligence. Uniroyal was as well, however they had a price to extract before they would put on the scapegoat's horns being fitted by the M.O.E..

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


While the Elmira Aquifers are a geological and hydrogeological wonder, they are extremely vulnerable to manmade contamination. The volume of sands and gravel beneath the surface of Elmira capable of both holding and transmitting water were a gift to this community. This gift was not fully appreciated until after it was lost due to complacency, cowardice, greed and stupidity. These character flaws have been the hallmark of far too many of our Woolwich councillors over the last sixty years. Alas our citizens as well have not shown in sufficient numbers their appreciation for and willingness to stand up for our local water supply.

Uniroyal Chemical were still peddling the fallacy of impenetrable, impervious clay aquitards between the aquifers or water bearing zones beneath their site in the early 90s. First off they simply don't exist here in Elmira and probably not in Waterloo Region. Aquitards are a manmade term to describe subsurface zones of lower water transmissivity. Yes aquitards with substantial clay in them do indeed seriously inhibit water flow. They don't stop it, merely slow it down. Think about it for a second. If the UAT or Upper Aquitard stopped vertically downwards water flow from the Upper Aquifer then there wouldn't be a water bearing zone beneath it called the Municipal Upper Aquifer. Simialrily if the MAT or Municipal Aquitard totally stopped flow downwards from the Municipal Upper Aquifer then there wouldn't be another aquifer below it called the Municipal Lower Aquifer and so on.

There are two issues with our aquitards here in Elmira. Firstly they aren't made out of impenetrable, impervious clay. Mostly they are mixtures of silt, clay, sandy silt and silty sand. Honestly those last two terms are used throughout Elmira to describe Till units also known as Aquitards. The second issue are "windows" through the aquitards. In areas there are significant, horizantal low permeability zones which significantly protect the aquifers immediately beneath them. The problem is that groundwater flows both horizontally as well as vertically. Hence while the bulk of it (85-95%) may be flowing horizontally due to an aquitard beneath it eventually it comes to areas where either the aquitard thins out dramatically, or the composition of it becomes much more permeable or worse yet the aquitard totally thins out to zero. While windows have been discovered directly under the Uniroyal site, many others have been discovered throughout Elmira including near the Varnicolor Chemical site.

Thus even if the much smaller Varnicolor site were spared windows in their subsurface aquitards their contamination would still go both vertically downwards as we now know conclusively it has, plus it flows off site to the east in their surficial aquifer (SA) where it immediately hits a window as the SAT or Surficial Aquitard disappears. Varnicolor's Upper Aquifer flows westwards where it too soon hits windows through the UAT or Upper Aquitard. These windows give direct access to the Municipal Upper Aquifer, one of Elmira's drinking water aquifers. I am constantly reminded of the words of Dr. Gail Krantzberg (McMaster) who did consulting work for CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) in 2012. She advised that every drop of Uniroyal's liquid wastes that hit the ground or natural environment on their site, end up eventually being shared off-site.

Thus to those apologists, fellow travellors and co-opted citizens in Elmira as well as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment who have long wished to give Uniroyal/Chemtura 100% of the "credit" for destroying our drinking water aquifers; let me simply say "horse manure".

Monday, May 23, 2016


What do the five companies above share? The last four are located in Elmira, Ontario and are all downgradient within the NDMA plume emanating from Uniroyal (Chemtura) in the Municipal Upper Aquifer. The first three have now all been proven to have contributed to the contamination of the Municipal Upper Aquifer, one of the drinking water aquifers for Elmira. Borg and Sanyo (especially) have extremely limited evidence against them. This may be due to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's (M.O.E.) self-serving desire to restrict responsibility for the Elmira wellfields shutdown solely to Uniroyal Chemical. By intentionally refusing to test shallow soils and groundwater at other local industrial facilities and publicly sharing the results; the M.O.E. have guaranteed that Uniroyal remain firmly and solely on the hook. Early on the M.O.E. would have been advised by their own experts that the NDMA plume (& numerous others) from Uniroyal, headed south-west and then due south towards the south wellfield (wells E7 & E9). Hence in regards to any other corporate contributions along the path of the various plumes; the waters and responsibility would be muddied so to speak.

There are other obvious contributers to the contamination of the Elmira drinking water aquifers. Both the Bolender Landfill north of Church St. and Uniroyal plus the First St. Landfill immediately south of the Uniroyal (Chemtura) property are the most obvious. They both accepted various Uniroyal wastes over the years albeit decades ago. To my knowledge neither were remotely designed or built with leachate control systems. What landfills were back in the 1940s, 50s or 60s? While possibly four miles further north up Arthur St., nevertheless the former Woolwich Landfill on Seiling Dr. is in my opinion a time bomb. Plumes were known by University of Waterloo researchers to exist back in the 1980s and in recent years have caused rural well shutdowns in the immediate area. Also Environmental Appeal Board documents regarding Varnicolor's Control Order indicate that Varnicolor were dumping their toxic, liquid still bottoms at the Woolwich Landfill. If those drums haven't rusted or ruptured to date, rest assurred they will eventually.

Last Saturday the Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Chemical site still concerns Woolwich". The title is a bit of a misnomer in that Varnicolor Chemical never really concerned Woolwich even at the height of their pollution activities. Woolwich's former CAO, Bill Kowalchuk, did send a couple of harsh letters to the owner of Varnicolor, Severin Argenton, back in the 80s. Then when Bill was let go by Woolwich he immediately found a home at Varnicolor Chemical and was so involved with some of the wrongdoing that he was convicted along with Severin on environmental charges. Sandy Shantz's concerns with Varnicolr pollution are about thirty years late. Even while on Woolwich Council (2006-2010) she showed no interest in Varnicolor and no acumen or competence regarding Uniroyal, despite my best efforts at the time. That said I do not disagree with her badly uninformed opinion that even so late in the day, Varnicolor's intentionally under investigated deep contamination needs to be addressed. I believe that that can be done without at this late date putting the screws to Elmira Pump who not only bear zero blame for the contamination but in fact have spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to mitigate it.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


As recently suggested by a colleague it's all about conflicts of interest. Uniroyal Chemical did not have a conflict of interest. They are a corporation and one thing more important to them than reputation is money. A hit to their reputation by denying sole responsibility for the Elmira crisis and then accepting it, as the Ontario Ministry of Environment needed them to do, could be accomodated for the right price. Besides down the road if for some reason they wanted to polish up their image all they had to do was feed the knowledge they already had, to their friends, for release.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) however were in a different quandry. The ongoing Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearing in 1991 was destroying any pretense they had left of being a proactive, professional organization, safely protecting Ontario citizens from the ravages of unbridled capitolism and industrialism. It was bad enough that Uniroyal were showing that they had been partners throughout Uniroyal's presence in Elmira. Partners that is, in pollution. The M.O.E. along with their predecessor, the Ontario Water Resources Commission, had virtually agreed to or acquiesced to each and every decision regarding in ground deposition of toxic wastes on the Uniroyal site.

Even worse, Jim Bradley the current Minister of the Environment, had sent a five man team to Elmira, with the explicit mandate to determine if there were any other possible sources of NDMA or other contaminants already in the Elmira Aquifers. Uniroyal Chemical already knew there were and had repeatedly publicly said so without naming them. Uniroyal had big plans to share the pain of this upcoming cleanup amongst government, citizens and the other local polluters.

The Ontario M.O.E. were shocked to find out that instead of them being on the moral (& legal?) hook for one bad apple (Uniroyal); that there were possibly five serious corporate contributers to the Elmira crisis. Remember that former Environment Ministers had stood up in the Ontario legislature and elsewhere, in regards to Uniroyal concerns, proudly proclaiming that the M.O.E. were on the job in Elmira and that the drinking wells were safe. The discovery of test results in November 1989 showing toxic contamination (NDMA) well above health standards available anywhere was a stunner.

What was needed was crisis management. How could the M.O.E. and their political masters in Toronto get out of this with their skins? First off could they sell the idea that nobody anywhere had ever heard of NDMA much less ever tested for it? It wasn't true but they were partially sucessful. Could they sell the false idea that it was but one chemical in the wells? Traces and more of industrial solvents had been showing up in the south wellfield for some time now and they'd kept that quiet. Uniroyal were the biggest, baddest and most obvious source in town. Elmira's water had tasted bad for a very long time and people were always pointing fingers at them. What would it take for Uniroyal to accept sole responsibility? What was their price? The sweetheart deal was born. More to follow on Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, May 20, 2016


One of the best lines of the night came from Jim Germann of Elmira Pump and it initailly went right over my head. I was talking about concentrations of solvents in 1991 in the hundreds of thousands of parts per billion in the surficial aquifer at Varnicolor and he responded that actually there were concentrations in the ounces per gallon. When I clued in that he was serious I responded ahh as in free phase solvents (NAPLS) in the aquifer. Jim agreed.

There were about a dozen people present in Council Chambers for last night's public meeting to discuss the Risk Assessment for Elmira Pump which is located on the former Varnicolor Chemical property. These included Woolwich CAO Brenneman and Sandy Shantz. Sandy actually picked up on the deep contamination with Varnicolor solvents in the Elmira drinking water aquifer (Municipal Upper). Both she and I expressed concerns and opinions that they should be remediated if possible. Keith Metzger of Peritus Environmental seemed reluctant although he admitted that to date Chemtura have not expressed any disagreement. Mr. Metzger has stated that he will take the idea of pumping and treating the deeper aquifer forward for discussion.

Public consultation on this contaminated site in Elmira has been abysmal for the last twenty years. All requests for data, studies and reports have been rebuffed by all parties including the Ontario Ministry of the Environment when requested and endorsed by the old CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee). Further requests were made last evening only to be told that the report of the Risk Assessment will end up possibly in the Elmira library. I want a hard copy for myself plus seven more CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) members. Projector screens and looking at Tables over other's shoulders is not in depth study of data except apparently here in Elmira, Ontario.

The surface soils plus from six to fifteen feet at the surface of the old Varnicolor site has been remediated both by source removal and by twenty years of groundwater collection and treatment. The rest has been barely looked at via two deeper monitoring wells namely MW25 at 15 metres depth and MW41 at 30 metres depth. Both wells have recorded hits of Varnicolor solvents such as TCE, vinyl chloride, TCA, DCE, DCA and Toluene. NDMA has been tested for once at MW25 over the last two decades. You will not find that which you don't test for both regularily and spatially (ie. different wells and soil samples).

I tend to agree that there is little or no risk at the surface any longer from Varnicolor's former gross contamination. That being so, non residential redevelopment seems to be completely appropriate at this location.

I had been advised during the meeting to check with Peritus at the end for further information. Ms. Jensen showed me Tables that stated that all six of Varnicolor's solvent contributions to the drinking water aquifer were above drinking water standards. That is STUNNING! Twenty-six years ago the Ontario M.O.E. claimed that there was no contamination on this site and that everything was monitored and supervised by them. Later they admitted to minor shallow contamination only while adamantly denying any possibilty that Varnicolor had contributed to the destruction of the Elmira drinking water aquifers. THEY LIED!

During the meeting I found myself in agreement with Sandy Shantz's comments and questions. At the end of the meeting I suggested to her that it was much better when we were on the same side regarding environmental issues. At that point she and Woolwich's loyal mascot Dave Brenneman buttonholed me about my statements criticizing almost everything Woolwich. Provoking me got them a lecture regarding Chemtura/M.O.E. dishonesty and lying as well as how Sandy and Council lied and backstabbed Woolwich volunteers on CPAC last year. Then I simply ended the argument and walked over to Ms. Jensen of Peritus for the promised further data.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


There is a dichotomy, possibly even a conflict of interest with the process of cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield sites in Ontario. I am in full agreement with the principles of environmental site remediation of former industrial lands resulting in their repurposing for other industrial or commercial uses. This helps a municipality's tax base in the long run and for planning purposes allows more infill within municipal borders.

The potential dichotomy lies in the simpler more straightforward remediation of surface soils and groundwater thus reducing or eliminating exposure at the surface. For example Varnicolor's Lot 91 at the extreme eastern end of Oriole Parkway could and did affect negatively human beings simply walking on its' surface twenty-five years ago. The contamination was so gross that a K-W Record reporter spent a weekend sick in bed after solvent exposure through their feet via surface ponding. Another citizen felt nauseous simply by inhaling the solvent contaminated air on the site. Our wonderful Ontario Ministry of the Environment did remove buried drums of solvents including P.C.B.s yet simply allowed this site then to allegedly remediate itself via natural attenuation. In other words rainfall infiltrated the soil and carried the contamination deeper both for some microbial degradation as well as for simple dilution. Much of Lot 91's contamination doubtless has spread downstream via the Canagagigue Creek as well as deeper into the Municipal Aquifers where in theory at least it will eventually be pumped and treated.

I have seen M.O.E. negligence on other sites as well including the former Breslube in Breslau and the old Sunar site in Waterloo. Shallow containment and treatment certainly is better than nothing but in Breslau resulted in the shutting down of drinking wells K70 and K71. To this day both the M.O.E. and Region of Waterloo deny the obvious with these wells.

I expect that the top ten to fifteen feet of the old Varnicolor site on Union St. is indeed remediated to the point that commercial redevelopment is appropriate. I am not aware of health risks any longer through surface activities due to quite onerous remediation activities of the surficial aquifer including source removal and treatment of the shallow groundwater over the last twenty years. Hence this dichotomy. This site may be fine for commercial redevelopment while still a threat or risk to much deeper aquifers. It most likely does negatively impact the overall cleanup of the two deeper municipal aquifers by 2028.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The Woolwich Township website has a writeup under their News & Events column titled "Township of Woolwich Seeks Support of Senior Levels of Government re: Clean-up of Elmira Aquifer". It has a number of factual errors and omissions combined with a ton of wishful thinking and gilding the lily.

Fist of all our aquifers were determined to be contaminated with toxic chemicals in 1989 which is twenty-seven years ago not twenty-five. Secondly despite M.O.E. and Uniroyal claims, Uniroyal had help in destroying our aquifers. It came from Nutrite, Varnicolor and possibly Borg Textiles although the evidence for the latter is very thin due to intentional avoidance of taking shallow soil or groundwater samples from there. Further assistance came from numerous leaking local gas stations.

Sandy Shantz also doesn't mention that the reevaluation of the remediation of the municipal aquifers is solely due to the efforts of the last Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) back in 2012 publicly announcing that the 2028 clean up was not going to happen with the current process. She also doesn't mention that after her and Councillor Bauman manufactured the so called crisis whereby Chemtura stopped attending CPAC meetings that nothing has changed. TAG (Technical Advisory Group) replaced CPAC and TAG members were appointed by Council. Guess what? Routinely, including the TAG meeting last week there was no sign of the presence of our favourite polluter.

The greatest hypocrisy of course is the recent shameful attempts by Woolwich Council to censor citizen Delegations to Council in regards to Chemtura Canada issues combined with Sandy and Council then jumping on the federal bandwagon. Furthermore Sandy claims in her News & Events on-line column that Woolwich Council "has worked for over 25 years towards a cleanup.". That is rubbish. Woolwich Councils with but one exception have worked very hard to give the impression that they want a clean up. In fact all they have ever wanted is not to offend Uniroyal/Crompton and Chemtura.

Yes the warning signs in the creek are a good idea albeit twenty-five years overdue. There are not "...many holes in the aquifers that allow migration between levels...". There are in fact many "windows" in the AQUITARD that "allow migration between the AQUIFERS. Yes Dr. Dick Jackson was hired last summer to Chair TAG and he is doing a wonderful job. Hence I expect and fear that he will be replaced as soon as Sandy and Council can find a suitable excuse. A suitable, competent and honest replacement is the last thing they want.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


That at least is the hope of the current owners, Elmira Pump. Elmira Pump is owned by Jim Germann and his cousin Joey Kuntz. Both formerly worked for years at Kuntz Electroplating in Kitchener. It is my understanding that Mr. Germann was involved at Kuntz with wastewater treatment which certainly would be a major effort with the extent of heavy metals involved in the plating industry.

Therefore when Mr. Germann bought the site in 2001 it would have been with the acknowledgement that he would continue the ongoing since 1996 treatment of the Surficial Aquifer on the site. I have been advised that that indeed is what has occurred and that even though the shallow concentrations are now negligible it continues. The scheduled Risk Assessment presentation this Thursday 7 pm. in Council Chambers is to initiate the process of rezoning and redevelopment. I also believe that a requirement includes a Record of Site Condition from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.).

It is also my understanding through the advice of Dr. Dan Holt and Richard Clausi that Mr. Germann has been a regular, ongoing participant in the Sulco CAP (Citizens Advisory Panel). All their comments to me both about Sulco (Canada Colours) and Mr. Germann have been very positive.

There are issues however related to the M.O.E.'s secrecy and dishonesty. I am sincerely working to try and separate in my mind the sins, deception and outright lies of the M.O.E. over the last thirty years regarding this site from the current owners and their wishes to redevelop this site. I have been reviewing my Varnicolor files and quite frankly the M.O.E. had a huge conflict of interest regarding ever taking action or even honest investigation of this site. Their credibility and integrity were sorely challenged back in 1989 and afterwards, as the citizens learned of their negligence and cavalier attitude towards protecting our drinking water and health.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Township has uphill battle getting federal help for creek". Basically we are advised that Dr. Henry Regier went through the process in detail with a formal Petition to the federal government urging them to act in regards to their duties and responsibilities under various pieces of federal legislation. The government of the day made up the usual excuses when they do not want to become involved in an issue regardless of whether they are legally obliged to or not.

I am planning on sending an e-mail to the K-W Record's reporter who is unfortunately following the word games of apparently both the Ontario Ministry of Environemnt and possibly of Sandy Shantz. That game is to suggest/infer that there are but two "hot spots" in the creek over it's five mile route down to the Grand River. That is nonsense and intended to allow a concession down the road wherby the M.O.E order cleanup of but two small areas versus doing the complete job.

Sandy Shantz's comments regarding citizens working together is simply more hooey. It's a total red herring as every community will have diehard supporters of large, industrial polluters who nevertheless provide jobs in the community. Also it's Sandy taking quite frankly more stupid shots at CPAC (and me), now known as the Citizens Public Advisory Committee. Uniroyal supporters did the same thing in the early days with APT Environment when APT first came on the scene. Sandy's final comments about the improvements in the Elmira environment are typical politician's tossing dirty polluters a bone and not jeopardizing the goodwill they have with them. It's called pandering.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Yesterday I mentioned "field filtering" of fish which is an application of a term used by Conestoga Rovers regarding filtering out of suspended sediments from groundwater. The M.O.E. analyse the least likely areas of fish when they are measuring for contaminants such as P.C.B.s, mercury, Dioxins and DDT. In other words the fillets on the back and sides of fish are tested not the fatty areas if any on the belly or the internal organs, especially the liver. Hence only the lowest concentrations of contaminants are found. In regards to DDT, allegedly the criteria in fish is an astounding 93,858 ng/g or parts per billion. This makes no sense to me whatsoever that the criteria is that high.

I had mentioned yesterday part of the stickhandling ie. mitigation methods such as advising people not to eat obvious fatty areas and internal organs such as the liver. Additional suggestions from the M.O.E. include not eating the skin and cooking and grilling to allow the fat to drip away. Of course all of this is moot for raccoons, coyotes, hawks and eagles who aren't able to read English as well as for immigrants with an inability to read English or French in the Fish Guides.

Ar one point Sejindra of the M.O.E. (sp.??) attempted to ask the gallery questions and was immediately stopped by the Chair Dick Jackson and inappropriately by Pat Mclean. Perhaps ongoing delusions of grandeur on her part. The effect was to simply make very clear that Woolwich Township only want controlled, stifled and filtered public input. ie. vetted by Sandy & Mark.

TAG Chair Dr. Jackson made very clear to the M.O.E. that they have inappropriately challenged this community with their refusal to assist with signage in the creek and more. Terri Buhlman of the M.O.E. was in my opinion once again managing the narrative with her repeated and false statements that there are two hot spots in the creek. Such utter self -serving rubbish.

Ms. Buhlman kept going on about adverse effects and hence more and more studies with non scientific, non rigorous protocols which eventually prove little or nothing that we don't already know. Risk Assessments are inherently legal and mathematical assumptions written up, wrapped in a bow and presented to convince citizens that all is well whether it is or not. She and the M.O.E. are continuing to refuse to do suspended sediment sampling in the creek which also has upset Dr. Jackson. He is the authority on these matters, sure as hell not Ms. Buhlman.

Dr. Jackson took Terri Buhlman to task for her ridiculous statements that the more recent creek sampling (2012-2014) somehow shows declining contamination. That is rubbish and Dr. Jackson told her so. Terri Buhlman even had the ignorant and arrogant nerve to call one of the hot spots (Stn. #21) an anomoly. It is not and she is a fool to say so with the limited testing locations to date. Finally Dr. Jackson advised that with ever increasing storms and waterflows that assume bottom sediments will stay in place is ridiculous. The M.O.E. claim the upper sediments are less contaminated so all is well. Horse manure!

A Motion was unanimously passed by TAG asking that soil and groundwater samples be taken along the approx. 160 metre stretch along Chemtura's border that to date has been studiously avoided by Chemtura and the M.O.E.. This is the area nearest the Stroh Drain and the likely one of the highest areas of Dioxin/DDT contamination on Chemtura's site.Kudos to Dick Jackson and TAG for this Motion. This Motion also ties in, possibly unfortunately, with any resistance by the neighbouring owner to testing on his property. The M.O.E. have full authority to do this testing without the owner's permission. Chemtura do not and that pair of liars are probably milking that.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Well last night can certainly be described as informative and entertaining. As usual Chemtura were nowhere to be found whereas the Ontario M.O.E. showed up and gave us their version of reality. Apparently Chemtura while privately whining to Mark and Sandy about boycotting CPAC were being somewhat disingenuous. Turns out they have little interest in attending public meetings even those attended by their colleagues, fellow travellors and other nice people. CPAC had ten public meetings a year while RAC have but four. That's much more to Chemtura's liking.

It turns out that while Dr. Dick Jackson leaves everybody else in his wake intellectually, technically and by every other measure, he is indeed human. His frustration with Ministry of the Environment bafflegab and lies bubbled over. While Terri Buhlman is no shrinking violet and gave as good as she got nevertheless Dr. Jackson had little time for the M.O.E.'s excuses and bullshit last night. While Dr. Jackson was correct in his assessments of the Ministry's fish presentation last evening I did feel a little sorry for Saloni and the gentleman assisting her. Those two scientists were presenting the results of fish sampling for contaminants over the last thirty years and their work and analysis was reasonably cut and dried. The problem was everything including the approved methodology which I gleefully like to refer to as "field filtering" of the fish. This is a shot at Conestoga Rovers decades old method of removing sediments from groundwater samples in order to pretend that Dioxins and DDT can not be transported in either ground or surface water.

Without criticizing Saloni and her colleague I am going to criticize Terri Buhlman and the M.O.E.. We were advised of both the obvious warnings and advisories in the Ministry's Fish Guide as well as more subtle warnings regarding children under 15 years of age and women of child bearing age not consuming any fish from the Canagagigue Creek. That and there being no restrictions on consumption if less than eight meals per month of fish are eaten are in fact in and of themselves restrictions. Ms. Buhlman advised that there are lots of other sites in Ontario with adviserys more restrictive than those in the Canagagigue Creek. Dr. Jackson insisted that TAG required a list of those sites from the M.O.E.. Pat Mclean and other TAG members asked about the fact that there are a number of chemical compounds in the creek and the fish such as mercury, DDT, P.C.B.s and Dioxins/Furans. It was admitted by Saloni's colleague (Siderow??? apologies re spelling) that the science was not clear on whether or not there were synergistic effects that would multiply the toxicity of exposure to several compounds simultaneously.

My metaphor on this matter is as follows. If a deranged and armed indiviual was in a school would the police issue bullet proof vests to students and then send them in to go about their business? Hardly. The police at some risk to themselves granted would go in and remove the threat to others health and safety. What I see the M.O.E. doing is simply mitigating the risk via "management" methods. Their Fish Guide is not adequate considering the risks that Dioxins and everything else presents to both humans and wildlife.

A number of other TAG members were also not happy with the M.O.E.'s position last evening including Bill Barr, David Hofbauer, Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach and Susan Bryant. That said they were more restrained in the expression of their frustration with the heavy duty B/S being peddled by Terri B. last evening. This is not remotely a criticism of Dr. Jackson. With his greater understanding and expertise of Dioxin issues throughout North America and much further (Vietnam), only a robot would be totally unaffected and unemotional on this matter.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Note I said that the complaint is off to the ONTARIO Ombudsman. I am operating on optimisim that the Ontario Ombudsman continue to honestly investigate and report infractions and noxious behaviour as they have in the past. Last year under the management of Andre Marin, Woolwich Township got their knuckles rapped for their illegal and improper in camera meetings again. What is appalling is Woolwich Township's plus other Waterloo Region municipalities (although not all) opting out of the provincial Ombudsman in order to have their own in house alleged "Ombudsman". Hey it's even possible that the private company appointed as the local "Ombudsman" might surprise me and do a good job. Unfortunately my experience in Woolwich has been that most of their "surprises" are usually of the unpleasant kind.

My third complaint is in regards to an April 9, 2015 scurrilous set of Minutes of a environmental planning meeting consisting of alleged stakeholders of the Elmira water crisis of 1989. In fact what it was, was an out and out bitch session by the polluter Chemtura Canada, two Council members (Bauman & S. Shantz) as well as by two embittered and co-opted former CPAC members (Bryant & McLean) who had been refused membership onto the new CPAC by the previous Woolwich Council. These Minutes were on Woolwich Township letterhead and were simply a personal, nasty political attack upon the previous Council appointed volunteers to CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee).

The fact that only five people did all the dishonest and cowardly work out of seventeen present is amusing especially when one considers that only one of them (from Chemtura) actually attended a majority of all the public CPAC meetings over the previous four years. The mayor and Woolwich Councillor present both have a history of coddling Chemtura Canada and the two former CPAC members both have conflicts of interest of the monetary kind regarding Chemtura, their consultants (CRA), The Region of Waterloo and the CIAC (Chemical Industry Assoc'n of Canada).

The letter I received dated May 9/16 from Woolwich's Deputy Clerk refers to "staff" being provided "...with information to consider in making a recommendation to Council...". This information provided was dishonest, inaccurate and vicious and it was known to be such by the mayor and councillor Bauman as well as most likely by Woolwich's CAO Brenneman who attended.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


There are two packages from the M.O.E. which include ongoing and past Fish Monitoring as well as a "Canagagigue Creek Proposed 2016 Work Plan". The Fish Monitoring package is poor in that there is zero explanation as to where the Mercury and P.C.B.s are coming from that are in the fish both upstream and downstream of Chemtura Canada. Furthermore there are issues with sample points being in muscle versus fat tissues. A quick check has suggested to me that this may not be quite as significant as I first thought. The other problem however certainly is significant. Pike were only tested for Mercury and not for P.C.B.s and Dioxins. Finally I find the criteria for DDT in fish to be extraordinarily high. This may require further examination.

The second package is quite interesting in that it is mostly "managing the narrative". The M.O.E. are not honestly advising readers of the history or the results. Their so called Conclusions are couched as "What we heard" and include alleged comments from MOECC Scientists as well as so called "stakeholders". I'm sorry M.O.E. but your and Chemtura's management, in conjunction with corrupt Township assistance, of real local stakeholders has destroyed any pretense of local stakeholders being heard. You have intentionally eliminated informed opinion by local volunteers and done it in such a disgusting fashion that currently Woolwich Township are facing investigation for their actions.

The M.O.E.'s refusal to do suspended sediment sampling this summer, contrary to the Chair of TAG's recommendation, is pathetic. Dr. Dick Jackson has made it very clear that this sampling is absolutely required to be able to fully understand and deal with Dioxin and DDT deposition in the creek. Suspended sediments are the mechanism by which Dioxins and DDT continue season after season to be mobilized and carried downstream from the Chemtura area. Page eleven again refers to stakeholder input and clearly and intentionally ignores, bypasses and avoids any input from CPAC volunteers. Shame on all parties for their hypocrisy, cowardice and dishonesty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record have again published their Editorial in regards to the toxic environmental legacy in the Canagagigue Creek. The title is "Our waterways need protection". Their Editorial touches on both the oil spill into the Grand River as well as the sediments in the Canagagigue which include Dioxins/Furans and DDT. The production by Uniroyal Chemical of DDT after the Second World War as well as Agent Orange during the Vietnam War is mentioned in the Editorial.

The Record advises that the levels of these compounds in the creek still exceed the Canadian federal guidelines as they have for many decades. Why have they not long ago been cleaned up and removed before causing injury to both humans and wildlife? Mention is made of the Grand River being used as a drinking water source and if that assists in focusing the public's attention on how we treat our waterways, then that is a good thing.

I will probably go out today for the second time to assure myself that the warning signs advising against eating fish from the crrek have indeed been posted. I went out on the opening day of the fishing season (April 23/16) and they had not been posted as yet.

Much needs to be done and unfortunately the word manipulaters and truth avoidance experts are on the job. Both the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Chemtura Canada, the sucessor to Uniroyal, have no interest in doing the right thing. It's all about self-interest for them and always has been.

Monday, May 9, 2016


This Thursday at 6:30 pm. we have a TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meeting being held in Council Chambers. There are a number of interesting items on the Agenda such as a Review of Written Submissions. I would speculate that that is a review of the process concerning them. The lack of verbal Delegations is pathetic and the "vetting" of them through the Chair prior to other members even seeing them is disrespectful and insulting. It is irrelevant that the Chair Dr. Jackson is well respected, his sucessor literally could be any toady whatsoever.

There will be a MOECC Update by Terri Buhlman. While she would have had a difficult time getting anyone's respect anyways as she represents the M.O.E., her performance to date has been asbysmal.

There will be an update on the proposed Hawk Ridge subdivision. Something is amiss here that the developers are back in front of Council. Is there a typical behind the scenes game being played with only glimpses being given to the public?

The East Side offsite work plan will be discussed. This is but one more coverup being orchestrated by Chemtura and the aforementioned M.O.E.. It is this kind of behaviour Ms. Buhlman that has endeared the M.O.E. to my heart. Not!

Finally there are some east side well issues apparently as well as a spill by Chemtura at the most southern pumping well namely E7. Keep in mind this is one of the former drinking wells from the south wellfield.It has an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) as part of its treatment to remove NDMA from the groundwater.

The following Thursday (May 19) there is a public meeting in Council Chambers at 7 pm. in regards to a Risk Assessment for the old Varnicolor Chemical site. It is now owned by Elmira Pump and they have been pumping and treating the shallow groundwater on site for a very long time. The intent by the owners is to redevelop the site although details are not yet available.

The next RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) meeting will be held in Council Chambers on June 9/16 at 4 pm.. While 4 pm. is personally convenient to me it is supposed to be a public meeting. This game was played for years by Pat & Susan with CPAC meetings being held at 9 am. for their, Chemtura's and the M.O.E.'s convenience while excluding the working public. The next TAG meeting (after this Thursday) will be held on July 13,2016 at 6:30 pm..

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Interesting on a number of fronts. Firstly the company Code Yellow Towing allegedly are located on Forwell Rd. not Centennial Rd. which is much closer to Kolb Park and the area where the spill entered the Grand River. I had had my own suspicions regarding a company on Centennial Rd.. Likely I was wrong. Also of interest to me is the claim that the 800 litre tank was half full of used motor oil. Perhaps either way that means a total spill of 400 litres of oil. Either way as in does the tank now have only 400 litres left or is it now empty after discharging 400 litres into the river?

The booms along the river have been extended from 250 metres in length to reportedly all the way down (south) to King St.. Really? I may have to somehow find time to check that out. Quite frankly I suspect that a hell of a lot more than 400 litres got into the river. If I'm wrong then kudos to all parties for their serious efforts in cleaning this up. Quite frankly over the decades/centuries a hell of a lot worse than 400 litres of used motor oil has hit this river while undoubtedly doing significant environmental damage.

Obviously costs and potential charges are being considered. I would suggest that that only occur if serious negligence or intent to dump can be proven. While I'm not soft on polluters if it turns out to be an honest one time only accident then I suggest that the lack of charges and costs against Chemtura's gross negligence and in my opinion intent in Elmira should factor in to any enforcement efforts against potentially Code Yellow Towing. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the story titled "Ministry says towing firm potential source of river spill".

Friday, May 6, 2016


Wednesday'a Waterloo Region Record had a powerful Editorial by the Record titled "Toxic time bomb must be defused". It raises a number of perplexing issues. Firstly if only the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) spent half as much time solving environmental problems as they do in framing/defining them. This Editorial unknowingly repeats the M.O.E.'s nonsense that there are but two hot spots requiring attention along the creek. This is completely false and is an intentional result of the M.O.E.'s sampling locations in the creek. Dr. Dick Jackson, the Chair of TAG, has emphasized this with his call for a full and complete assessment of the creek. Sampling a five mile stretch of creek from Chemtura down to the Grand River in all of three or four locations is ludicrous as the M.O.E. have done.

The M.O.E.'s biases and self-serving belief in minimizing environmental problems is demonstrated by both their opposition to installing warning signs along the creek combined with their equally ludicrous conclusions in advance of their own proposed Risk Assessment; that there is negligible human health risk from Dioxins/DDT in the creek.

The Record's Editorial at least twice refers to the strange timing as to why only now Woolwich Township are calling on the federal government to help clean up the creek. This is indeed a very good question. Is it solely the efforts of Dr. Dick Jackson who to date has been an incredibly informative light leading the TAG committee? Woolwich Council's unethical and dishonest behaviour in forming TAG over the, intentionally by Council, battered and bruised body of the committee (CPAC) appointed by Council's predecessors, was way beyond abusive bullying. It is currently under formal, internal Township review which I agree is bizarre. However if they do their usual gamesmanship and wordsmithing to make it all go away, it will end up right back in the Ontario Ombudsman's lap. They are aware of this and may explain their recent more respectful attitude and behaviour towards myself. Obviously while I agree with approaching the feds again as Dr. Henry Regier did twelve years ago, I certainly have good reason to suspect the Township's motives.

The comparison between Canada's involvement with Agent Orange remediation in Vietnam versus their turning a blind eye to Elmira is a valid one. This environmental travesty and injustice has been paid for in ill health and pain by members of our community despite long held political objections to a health study as long ago proposed by Dr. Rosalie Berthell. This health study even today might expose some shocking health facts of the families downstream from Chemtura Canada, along the Canagagigue Creek. Similarily I would expect that the union representing Chemtura's workers would also welcome a health study of their members exposure to Dioxins/DDT on site as well as the everyday exposures they face on site via inhalation of various solvents.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


The title above was going to be "No Surprise.........Identified" except that finding the guilty party and identifying them are two different things. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Potential Source of Grand River spill identified". Indeed it seemed pretty obvious that as the industrial area along Centennial Road, beside Kolb Park, is so small that it could only be a very few suspects.

There are a number of very tiny firms along this area, including ones of a seasonal nature. If this spill had occurred between say December and the end of March it could very well have been due to an unattended leaking tank. At this time of year however that seems less likely.

We are advised that the source was a used oil tank on the property. What has not been explained is the claim that the oil "was leaking into the storm sewer through a private storm drain". All properties within the municipal limits most likely have sanitary sewer service as in toilets etc. hooked up to sanitary sewers which go to the nearest STP (ie. wastewater treatment plant). Private storm sewer lines into companies seem a tad less likely. Catch basins on the streets absolutely as they directly collect rainwater but private storm sewer lines into industrial/commercial companies seems to me to be begging for abuse. In other words companies pay for the volume of waste water that they send to the STP but untreated rain water should be going into the nearest storm sewer for direct discharge into the nearest creek or river.

My other concern with this "spill" into the Grand River is the volume. But for the size of the spill no one would ever have noticed it. Has this happened from the same location before only of a much smaller volume? Further investigation is required including a careful audit of this company's volumes of used oil generated. Finally I think that we the public are owed much more information as it is our drinking water affected. My last question is this. Is this used motor oil as in from a fleet of vehicles or is it some type of used industrial oil from machinery? All these questions are relevant and should be answered publicly.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Ho Hum another "spill". Maybe a real spill and maybe not. Uniroyal/Chemtura had the "pink spill" of mostly toluene back in 2004. They didn't get around to mentioning it right away even after the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant was knocked out of commission by it. Their spill got into both their sanitary sewer line and into the creek.

The Waterloo Region Record have suggested the substance is a petroleum type product which could include either gasoline or diesel fuel. They have also described it as like used motor oil. All these substances are hydrocarbons which are simply chains of hydrogen and carbon combined. Based upon the photo in the Record combined with the information that the product is floating on the surface and we have a classic LNAPL product. LNAPL stands for Light Non Aqueous Phase Liquid and it is totally typical of the behaviour of these hydrocarbons which are lighter than water (ie. their density is less than 1) and thus they float. LNAPLs are much easier to clean up than DNAPLS which sink (Dense NON Aqueous Phase Liquid). An example of this was found in the St. Clair River in the 80s referred to as the "Blob". I'm going out on a limb here and via memory I believe it came from Dow Chemical in Sarnia.

Kitchener, the Region and the M.O.E. are all on the job. That is a good thing sort of. The bad thing is that when they catch the culprit, whether it was done by accident or otherwise, they will most likely negotiate with them. Cooperate, pay all the costs of the cleanup and never do this again and we'll lie to the public and say we couldn't determine the source. The Region and the Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) especially are notorious for avoiding blaming guilty corporate parties. Now of course if it's just a little commercial or industrial operation are all bets are off. They will be made an example of.

To date we are advised that they not only know the municipal storm sewer which discharged into the Grand but also where a private storm sewer connects with the municipal one. There are various non intrusive technologys available to follow a sewer line back to its' source. Of course the M.O.E. have the legal right to go on private property in search of a source of contamination which is leaving someone's private property. In this case it's been discharging into a source of the community's drinking water namely the Grand River. Any excuses that they don't have this right have all been heard up here in Elmira and they are lies.

Today's Record article is titled "Region says water supply safe from spill". The good news is that it probably is but what about the ongoing, small leakages from both industrial concerns still along the river plus old, former landfills. Many of those compounds are unidentified and untested for. Still happy drinking your tap water?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


The Ontario Ministry of Environment (M.O.E.) investigated sediments in the Canagagigue Creek in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Their testing was neither comprehensive nor scientifically rigorous. This is one of the reasons Dr. Dick Jackson is requesting a "full" assessment of the sediments because currently the M.O.E. are trying to sell the dishonest notion that there are only a couple of hot spots in the creek. When you only test three locations in the five mile stretch of creek down to the Grand River and two of them are off the charts then stating that there are only two hot spots is disingenuous.

Dr. Henry Regier sent a formal Petition in 2004 to the federal government asking for their assistance in cleaning up the Uniroyal/Crompton site and its' aftereffects. That Petition and the responses from the feds has been sent to Dr. Dick Jackson very recently. Dr. Regier has long been a member of the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team as well as of SWAT. Currently he, Rich Clausi and myself are menbers of CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee). I no longer require the blessing of ignorant Woolwich Councillors to be a formal member of that group.

Dr. Jackson's key Recommendations to the federal government are as follows:
Fully assess the stream bed and suspended sediment contamination to identify where dioxins and furans in the sediment exceed guidelines.
Establish a permanent suspended sediment monitoring station.
Retain Hatfield Consultants (experts on Agent Orange Contamination) to undertake a human-health risk assessment of the sediment quality in the creek based upon results from the strem bed and suspended sediment assessment.
Identify the Canagagigue Creek as an Area of Concern under the 2012 Great Lakes water quality Agreement.

Currently RAC, TAG and Woolwich Townships are esentially a one man show. This is currently not a problem in my opinion when the one man is Dr. Dick Jackson. He has more knowledge in his little finger than all the rest combined. That said there are both honest and dishonest citizen reps with him on TAG. Same thing goes for Woolwich Township. As far as RAC goes they are mostly know nothing bureaucrats. Know nothing as far as Chemtura contamination and Chemtura/M.O.E. dishonesty perhaps.

The only reason the media are on the case is because CPAC members have shone a light upon Woolwich Township over the last year plus. CPAC Delegations to Council talking about the downstream Canagagigue Creek and or the East Side Investigation looking for Dioxin/Furan & DDT "sinks" along with Election expense scandals have piqued the interest of the Region's citizens. Add to this the recent attempted "banning" of Delegations to Council regarding Chemtura Canada and everybody wants to know what stupidity Woolwich are up to next. Let's also not forget the Township's grotesque mishandling of replacing CPAC with their hand picked buddies for TAG (plus one expert).

Will any or all of this get the feds to do their duty? To date they've given nothing but excuses. That is my prediction for the future yet as always I remain optimistic. Perpetual pressure will cause change. It just takes a long time.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following story from Paige Desmond titled "Woolwich pushes feds on Agent Orange contamination in Canagagigue Creek". Yours truly got Sandy Shantz to publicly state on February 2/16 that Woolwich had approached M.P. Harold Albrecht in regards to Dioxins and DDT in the "Gig". Later at a TAG meeting Dick Jackson referred to asking the feds for help as a "Hail Mary". That said if nothing else it should further embarass the Ontario Ministry of the Environment out of their complacency and coverup mode.

With recent Minutes of RAC and TAG metings on the Township's website, combined with all the focus of the last year plus on Woolwich Township, it seemed a no brainer to me that the Record would be further interested in the ongoing battle to rid the Canagagigue Creek (the "Gig) of Dioxins and DDT.

Dr. Jackson has been hammering both the Ontario M.O.E. and Chemtura over their technical failures and omissions for months now. He has gotten a handle on their incompetence and skullduggery. Sandy Shantz and her sidekick Mark Bauman may actually end up being forced into doing the right thing after doing their utmost to protect Chemtura. A while back I suggested that Chemtura should be asking for a refund from Sandy and Mark. Their hiring of Dr. Dick Jackson after unceremoniously and nastily dumping CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) has come back to haunt them all. It looks good on the pack of them.