Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Normally municipal Councils are adept at avoiding opening cans of worms but Woolwich sure seemed to be on the brink of doing exactly that last evening in Council Chambers. Frank Rattasid of 86 Auto Recyclers Inc. came to Council to obtain authorization for his scrap metal collection and recycling that has been ongoing at his location on Arthur St. for the last year. Mr. Rattasid advised that over 7,000 happy customers had dropped off 3 million pounds of steel. This collection of scrap steel for recycling is of course in addition to the recycling of scrapped cars that he also does.

Once again Council insisted on Frank following "the process" prior to them formally permitting his current environmentally friendly operation. This "process" seems to require a public meeting and expensive environmental studies. This is where things get sticky. Next to the auto recycling facility is the former Bolender landfill. It is flat out known to have a number of problems including methane generation. Other issues include the fact that local industries dumped their hazardous wastes there including Uniroyal Chemical.

It gets worse. Last night Council admitted that this municipal landfill overlapped (overflowed?) on to Mr. Rattasid's property. Various studies have been done on the Bolender landfill indicating that problems exist. To date none have been done on Mr. Rattasid's property. Council also claim that there are two different environmental problems present. The one is methane and the other is hydrocarbons. Apparently the methane is from the landfill over many years and allegedly the hydrocarbons are from the auto wreckers/recycling yard.

O.K. Council you're not in a real good position here. Council's problems are hugely magnified by the fact that municipal dumping occurred off their property and on to Mr. Rattasid's. Woolwich Township have an obvious liability to Mr. Rattasid for both devaluing and contaminating his property. Do you as a Council really want to provoke him by standing strictly on the rules and insisting on some form of environmental assessment that is going to blow up in your own faces?

There is the other small problem as well. You are assuming that the "hydrocarbons" are from the wrecking yard. Well first off what is your definiton and terminology around hydrocarbons? Methane from the landfill is a hydrocarbon. Most of Uniroyal's hazardous wastes are hydrocarbons. These absolutely will include components of gasoline and various oils. Afterall Uniroyal produce additives for lubricants including automotive oils. Your landfill is on Mr. Rattasid's property. Care to tell us exactly which hydrocarbons now on his property are from that property versus from the overlapping Bolender Landfill?

As I said this is a huge can of worms. Yes a cleanup of the Bolender landfill (and adjoining affected properties) should have been done a very long time ago. Care to start that process today Woolwich Council?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Even without formal control Woolwich Township stacked the original Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee (UPAC) with friends and supporters of Uniroyal Chemical. This included multiple Councillors (R. Weber, Sudden & Q. Martin) as well as retired Uniroyal employees, Chamber of Commerce and other bureaucratic or government folks such as the Region of Waterloo, Grand River Conservation etc..

On many matters these people did have something positive to contribute; unfortunately if push ever came to shove they simply wouldn't shove Uniroyal hard when it was needed. Then shortly after Councillor Pat McLean took over as Chair she convinced UPAC to become a formal committee of Council. I argued against that and boy was I right on that one. Council simply can not be trusted to put the public interest ahead of either their own or of Uniroyal Chemical, later Crompton, Chemtura and now Lanxess.

Prior to this UPAC were debating/discussing cleanup strategies for the Envirodome/Mausoleum. In late October 1997 regarding Uniroyal's options including continued onsite storage I was quoted in the Elmira Independent as saying "That's their favourite. They are masters of the do nothing strategy.". Regarding landfilling the Envirodome's contents Susan Bryant was quoted as saying "To take it up and put it back into the ground is insane." "It is absolutely unacceptable to take soil off site. It would show that we have learned absolutely nothing.". I agreed with Susan's comments both then and now. History has shown on this issue that we have learned nothing.

There was a debate at UPAC as to whether or not to hear a presentation from Eco Logic out of Rockwood regarding their destruction of toxic wastes technology. Esther Thur reminded UPAC that they had already heard from Grace Dearborn (bioremediation) hence why not hear from Eco Logic. Sylvia Berg suggested that Uniroyal's criteria for determining the best technology might not reflect what was best for the community.

In the November 17/97 Independent I was quoted as stating " It is grossly inappropriate for a polluter with a vested financial interest to have any determination or decision regarding the appropriate cleanup. It is ridiculous." Well UPAC was essentially ridiculous hence they decided not to hear from Eco Logic. This was exactly why the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team continued to refuse to sit on that committee. The community both in Elmira and Corunna, Ontario got screwed over this decision. Allegedly later on Eco Logic were given another opportunity but were not able to step up due to either management changes or technology not quite ready to go. Based upon the clear bias against them by UPAC and Uniroyal I am suspicious of their sudden "voluntary" departure at that later date.

While their were improvements in the beginning with Pat Mclean's appointment by Woolwich Council to the Chair's position, those improvements came at a steep cost down the road.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story last titled " McLennan Park upgrades and repairs to cost $2.6 million". Mcleannan Park is of course the former Ottawa Landfill site which has an appropriately notorious past. CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing ) ended up holding the bag after homeowners en masse abandoned their homes and mortgages due to menthane infiltration into their homes. Municipal officials have long enjoyed advising the public that methane is naturally produced from sub-surface rotting garbage. This may or may not be true as I believe oxygen is what helps break down (rot) foodstuffs and certainly the deeper the household wastes are buried the less oxygen there should be.

What politicians and officials fail to mention is that methane gas is also a breakdown product of common everyday solvents used by industry over the decades. This includes solvents used in paints, degreasers, thinners (eg. turpentine) and solvents used for industrial cleaning of parts and machinery. Solvents are mixtures of hydrocarbons ie. hydrogen and carbon and methane is simply either CH3 or CH4 but another hydrocarbon.

While liquid wastes were prohibited from local landfills, solvents could be disposed of in solid or semi solid sludges and tars inside pails or drums. Varnicolor Chemical here in Elmira were exposed by yours truly for actually sending liquid solvents to local landfills in Kitchener-Waterloo illegally back in the 90s. This was of great embarassment to Ken Seiling and other local illuminaries at the time. Uniroyal Chemical (now Lanxess) did somewhat similar things with their toxic waste although their disposal in the Bolender landfill, First St. Landfill and the Woolwich landfill might even have been legal at the time. Hard to be sure now.

Regardless Mclennan Park problems over the last fourty years have included abandoned homes, earth settling problems causing plumbing breaks in washrooms installed over them and most recently methane buildups in drainage pipes. The problems are only beginning.

Friday, May 26, 2017


Well tomorrow's visit to the downtown Kitchener Market came about somewhat indirectly. Dr. Dan Holt and I attended a Council of Canadians meeting in Kitchener last winter and then he was advised recently that they had a table at the kitchener Market tomorrow to hand out literature etc. and that other tables were available. The Market is located on the corner of Eby and King St. on the east side of King St.. The hours that the table is available are from 7 am. to 2 pm.. Well that's going to make for an early day.

I will have my large map of the east side of Chemtura/Lanxess on its' tripod as well as maps and literature handouts. The maps are colour 18" x 11" and display Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess, the Canagagigue Creek and most of Elmira, Ontario. The literature includes Tables of various fish sampled in the Canagagigue Creek and the concentrations of Dioxins, DDT, PCBs and Mercury in their tissues. Many of these are well above criteria and guidelines for the protection of consumers of these fish. There will also be a handout describing the Citizens Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) and the basic environmental problems in Elmira and area. Upcoming public meetings on the subject are listed as well as contact persons for CPAC namely Dr. Holt and myself. Feel free to come out tomorrow and entertain and educate yourselves on this local environmental matter.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


First off yes they are still calling it Chemtura Canada versus the new name of Lanxess. Frankly if I were the owners of that still grossly contaminated property, I'd be changing the name year in and year out trying to hide from the shame.

Well before we get into a few anomalies and oddities I have to open with this. In May 2012 CPAC advised the public and the media that the current off-site "remediation" of the Elmira drinking water aquifers was not going to reach Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS) by the mandated deadline of 2028. Both the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Chemtura howled over this blasphemy. Then Woolwich Council endorsed CPAC's position and the two guilty parties howled even more. Six months later after doing what they do best namely lying and denying, the two guilty parties suddenly announced that all on their own they had determined that they needed to improve their off-site containment and treatment system. They needed to TRIPLE the volume of pumping and treating AND they needed to do hot spot source removal off-site using a method known as In-Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO). This system had of course been used in Cambridge a few years earlier and I had formally advised the CPAC of the day as well as Chemtura that it could work for them. Of course both parties criticized the idea as unworkable at that time.

Here we are four and a half years later. Guess what? No ISCO whatsoever as of this time. No Tripling of the pumping rates as of this time. Yes they have been pumping diligently for the last four years plus, especially compared to their pathetic attempts for years prior. Oh and they've long abandoned any pretense of tripling their pumping rates. Now they are talking about Doubling the pumping rates. Well that's one thing they have always been good at: ie. Talking.

Hell I'm too disgusted to keep going further today. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Two articles in today's Waterloo Region Record tell the tale as to how little our progress really has been. The first article is titled "Despite pressure, EPA won't call Lake Erie's Ohio waters impaired". This is in reference to the increasingly prevalent toxic algal blooms in the west end of Lake Erie in recent years. This should concern us because our Heritage River the Grand discharges into Lake Erie albeit not at the western end. The second article is a little closer to home and is titled "Hamilton forced to dump raw sewage in harbour".

Yes they were forced this spring to release bypasses of raw or semi raw sewage into Hamilton Harbour due to record breaking rainfall during April and early May. Two points need to be made however. Firstly record setting weather including rainfall isn't news. It's been happening with increasing frequency over the last two decades. Our authorities and politicians need to deal with it through infrastructure upgrades rather than through legacy projects like our made in Waterloo Region LRT system. Secondly rainfall and raw sewage should not be together thus overwhelming the capacity of our sewage treatment plants during storms. This error has also happened here locally in Elmira and there has been an I & I (inflow & infiltration) program in place for years. Essentially cross-connections of rainfall and sewage pipes are slowly being eliminated. Also piping of eavetrough and or sump pumps into the sanitary sewers versus into the storm sewer system are also slowly being eliminated. Granted there is much more volume of work to be done in Hamilton for example but clearly it desperately needs to be done. Otherwise as our population continues to grow we can only expect more environmental degradation of our Great lakes due to sewage bypasses in cities such as Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Computer projections in 1995 showed that the Elmira Municipal Aquifer would not fully achieve Ontario Drinking Water Standards by 2028. Esther Thur at a UPAC meeting stated "I do not see any way that you can ever bring the water to drinking level standards.".

Susan Bryant in the January 17, 1996 K-W Record stated that " the problem isn't the lack of technical data, but the lack of political will on the ministry's part to take a tougher stand with the company.". This quote is very relevant when we recall Dr. Richard Jackson's parting words to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) namely that "...the issues are not technical issues they are public policy issues.". In other words the scientists and experts know what is needed to clean up the creek, and the Elmira Aquifers; it's simply that the politicians and political bureaucrats keep getting in the way.

In a Letter To The Editor in the March 18, 1996 Elmira Independent, in reference to the Region of Waterloo, the Ministry of Environment, APTE and the EH-Team I stated "...will all inform Uniroyal, their consultant CRA and UPAC that Uniroyal's proposals are completely inadequate. Now in an honest process, Uniroyal would be forced to make changes or concessions to attempt to satisfy at least some of the criticism. But none are ever forthcoming.".

It was a very busy time for Uniroyal as they were responding to the public's anger and concerns albeit through the prism of sham public consultation at UPAC. Keep in mind that both APTE and the Elmira EH-Team still refused to rejoin UPAC as voting members. That would not happen until UPAC in 1999 through the air sub-committee told off Uniroyal Chemical publicly for their negligence and inadequate response to their fumigations of Elmira and the Duke St. folks. Then and only then did I agree to rejoining UPAC as a formal voting member. I thought the same reason was why Susan Bryant and APTE rejoined although it may also have had something to do with Pat Mclean and Susan joining forces and also getting new members onto UPAC and others leaving, thus breaking Uniroyal's control. Hence Uniroyal walked out and stayed out for a considerable length of time.

"Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.". Similarly past history can explain and clarify much of current misbehaviour and unreasonable actions.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Damning With Faint Praise

Three female Cambridge Councillors present at an International Women's day breakfast last March. Two of the three routinely (if not always) vote with Mayor Craig. The third Jan Liggett is her own person. She votes according to the issues which means sometimes she votes contrary to the Mayor's position. Over the last two and a half years Cambridge's mayor has been displeased. He has his sycophants on Council, both male and female and Cambridge citizens know who they are. He has made it very clear by past behaviour whom he favours and whom he disfavours on his Council.

Along comes a golden opportunity to show some class. Maybe just as we have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, perhaps we should have both an International Women's Day as well as an International Men's Day. Or perhaps most men would be embarassed by the simple, historical fact that women have long been valued for their traditional strengths and grossly undervalued for so called men's areas of strength ie. organization, courage, strength, decision making under fire etc.. To deny that women have for centuries and millennia been discriminated against just as African-Americans have been in the U.S., would be beyond ridiculous. Hence a golden opportunity for the Mayor of Cambridge to simply add his weight to the belated recognition of all women as having virtues and strengths equal to those of their male counterparts.

Nope not Mayor Craig. He used the opportunity on International Women's Day to damn with faint praise a female councillor who disagrees with him on many issues. How clever and subtle he was by praising his two favourite women councillors as "...mentors that have helped shaped my values on women's issues." Pretty swarmy that was Doug; taking a backhanded, partisan slap at a female colleague on International Women's Day.

Interesting to me that the Integrity Commissioner is an Interim one, namely Agree Inc.. The firm of ADR Chambers departed in March but did not disclose why. Up here in Woolwich, ADR Chambers are our Integrity Commissioner just as they are in Kitchener and Waterloo. I was present for their presentation to Woolwich Council recently and was quite impressed. Impressed with their presentation that is. It was smooth, professional and folksy all in one. Almost gave me a warm glow in my heart. Wow does truth and honesty actually have a place anywhere in politics? Does anyone else find this whole exercise just a little unlikely?

The province have mandated by legislation that municipalities have Integrity Commissioners. This of course is one of the more corrupt provincial governments we've had in recent memory and they are legislating integrity in municipal governments? Might just as well legislate that all politicians must tell the truth upon pain of three wet noodles across the head otherwise. Yes that sanction is just about right. These Integrity Commissioners report to Council who are not remotely bound to follow their advice anyways. Best case for Councils is that these Commissioners merely reinforce their positions by adding their supporting opinions (as in Cambridge) and worst case scenario is that Councils say thank you for your opinion but we respectfully disagree and then restate their position for further public consumption. Are they all window dressing or are some for real? Only time will tell. So far however not so good.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Back in 1995 the K-W Record (Shirley Rennie) wrote an article about Doug and Melanie Stronach possibly from Elora or Fergus who wrote a song about the Elmira water crisis that went like this:

"Angus and me on the bank of the creek with a chemical cocktail and faith in the weak

Ministry mobile up on the hill sucking in air for the media spill

It's all clear now they say, all clear now "

"You can fool some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Back in the 90s everyone other than Uniroyal Chemical's suppliers, customers, employees and or local politicians all knew what and who Uniroyal were and it certainly wasn't a pretty picture. Groups up and down the Grand River initiated steps to stop the Ministry of Environment from giving approval to Uniroyal's plan to only contain 1/4 of the length of the groundwater discharge to the Canagagigue Creek. The public were deceived in regards to the contributions and dispersal of toxic liquids from the east side of Uniroyal. Both the Environmental Assessment Board and the Environmental Appeal Board were approached albeit unsuccessfully.

In August 1995 Bob Burtt of the K-W Record did an article about my efforts in Elmira in which he quoted me as saying "When I got involved with Uniroyal it dawned on me that what I saw at Varnicolor Chemical was not the exception to the rule, but the way the Ministry of Environment treats all polluters.".

There were good intentioned efforts by Art Fletcher to get both APTE and the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team (EH-Team) back into UPAC, the Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee. I and the EH-Team left in January 1994 over the DNAPL failure by UPAC and APTE left UPAC in June 1994 primarily over UPAC's failure to respond appropriately to the Upper Aquifer Containmnent plans of Uniroyal and Conestoga Rovers.

In October 23, 1995 in a Letter To The Editor Susan Bryant and Sylvia Berg wrote the following:

"UPAC is not pushing. It is as simple as that. UPAC has gone to sleep. However APTE will not join the snore. Though we do not participate as UPAC members, APTE and the EH-Team continue to attend every meeting, raising many questions that seem to fall into dead space."

UPAC was set up from the start to fail as far as the public interest went. It was however set up by Woolwich Council to protect the interests of Uniroyal and to give the appearance of public consultation. The membership was stacked with Woolwich Councillors, former Uniroyal employees, Chamber of Commerce, GRCA, WRDSB (School Board)and other types more interested in the status quo and restoring peace and tranquility than in actually cleaning up Elmira's contamination whether air, groundwater, surface water and soils. They would accept criticism of Uniroyal but with their majority on UPAC expected to win any and all votes necessary while pretending to be concerned about the environment. As Susan said "UPAC has gone to sleep.".

Friday, May 19, 2017


The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) met last evening in Woolwich Council Chambers. Chair Tiffany Svensson had Dr. Neil Thomson attend for the second meeting in a row and again he was informative and very helpful. Sebastian put a few tough questions to him namely "What sources did you rely on for your data into your Conceptual Site Model" and do you have confidence in their completeness and accuracy. Sebastian prefaced this by suggesting (accurately) that CRA (now GHD) had a habit in the past of drawing Conclusions in their reports which did not always flow from the data they had presented. Dr. Thomson answered this question straight up and indicated that whatever data he asked for he received and that yes on occasion he might not always have the same conclusions from the data that the authors did.

The other question that Sebastian asked was in regards to "other sources" of contamination to Elmira's Municipal Aquifers. This of course was in reference to Dr. Thomson's statement that 1,900 kg. of Chlorobenzene in the Aquifers was unaccounted for. In other words possibly another source in town contributed that to the groundwater mix. He refused to speculate who or even if, however he did say that there is an issue here but for a later discussion. My speculation is that Borg Textiles may be the culprit although courtesy of the incompetent and biased Ontario Ministry of Environment that will be much harder to prove or disprove today than it would have been twenty-eight years ago.

TAG discussed GHD's Revised Off-Site Investigation Work Plan. This is in reference to soil samples, test pits and groundwater monitoring on the Stroh farm on Chemtura's (Lanxess) eastern border. David Hofbauer was very helpful with his comments regarding composite soil samples to be taken looking for Dioxins and DDT. Of course much more than just Dioxins and DDT should be sampled but this is Chemtura afterall. David indicated that collecting numerous samples and mixing them together prior to testing is an excellent way to "average away issues". In other words if you have a low lying area where surface flow of contaminated liquid wastes from Chemtura may have gone on to the Stroh property, you can greatly reduce the concentrations by taking many more samples ten to one hundred metres away and then averaging all those zeros in with the big hits. Afterall why do you think Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess pay big bucks to their consultants? It certainly isn't to have them produce and expose the most blatant and worst examples of your pollution causing you to spend the maximum dollars for cleanup possible.

Pat Mclean missed her third TAG meeting of the last four whereas Susan Bryant attended her second TAG meeting of the last four. TAG were somewhat struggling with the detailed specifics of sampling, locations, elevations and while I expect little from Pat in those areas, Susan was a disappointment. Usually when she attends she is better prepared. This pair lobbied hard and helped with Sandy Shantz's mayoralty campaign and were thus rewarded. The least they could do is take it seriously and attend TAG meetings.

Speaking of non-attendance Sandy your friends Chemtura and the Ontario M.O.E. again were nowhere in sight. Such a hypocrite you are criticizing the last CPAC for Chemtura's and the M.O.E.'s boycott of public CPAC meetings and now after you gave them everything they wanted they still do not want the public to be able to ask them questions or make pointed comments to them. Yes they attend RAC meetings with the GRCA, Woolwich, the Region and a couple of your TAG appointees a grand total of four times per year. Even then let's see exactly how much they can be coddled into doing the right thing. Dr. Jackson at TAG put it to both of them bluntly and clearly and once again they've cut and run. That's what they excel at. Well O.K. they're both pretty good at the verbal BS as well.

Yours truly assisted on a couple of occasions when TAG were either stuck or bogged down. This included advising them about the composite samples planned as well as the problem with SS-20 primarily being located on high ground and hence being a particularly bad location to be sampling for surface flow of contaminants. Also when Dr. Thomson asked for any typos to be pointed out in his Conceptual Site Model report I obliged with a very minor one on page three. Chair Svensson asked me to send her an e-mail on these significant points which I shall do either today or tomorrow.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Today's paper talks about the General Electric plant in Peterborough and how the company, management and shareholders didn't know. Didn't know in 1980 that asbestos was toxic. Didn't know that lead was toxic. Didn't know that solvents were toxic. Truly astounding how many allegedly incredibly stupid people are able to make so much money. Do you think there was just a tiny incentive for these people "not to know"?

Same thing in Cambridge, Ontario. There Northstar didn't just pick on their own employees. Hell no they shared their solvents including Trichloroethylene (TCE) with the whole Bishop St. community. From Bishop St. all the way down to the Grand River. Groundwater carried their waste TCE, TCA and more to be enjoyed by homeowners via fumes migrating into their basements. The Cambridge Advocate website recently carried a followup article describing the backyard sheds that are still dutifully pumping these fumes (TCE especially) from around basements in the Bishop St. area.

Here in Elmira we are told that Dioxins and DDT don't travel via groundwater. Apparently those compounds are hydrophobic (water fearing) and they adhere to soil particles. That said it is admitted that they flow just fine in solvents. Anybody know any community with overall higher concentrations of total solvents in their groundwater than here in Elmira, Ontario? Also while sorbed onto soil particles Dioxin and DDT flows just dandy in surface waters as suspended sediments. Suspended sediments eventually end up as deposited sediments. Hence they are deposited, suspended and resuspended ad infinitum the length of the Canagagigue Creek and into the Grand River. The fact that creek biota, sediments and fish are contaminated above all criteria and guidelines is an inconvenient truth to the braintrusts running this community. Never ever let facts and science over rule "common sense", gut feelings and political wisdom among high school educated (or less) politicians. Honest these six councillors know better than everybody else and when in doubt they simply defer to those with deep pockets.

Landfills: don't even get me started. First St. Landfill, M2 landfill, Bolender Landfill and Woolwich Landfill. Those are the "legal" landfills. There's been lots more dumping and disposal that never saw the light of day and never will be uncovered. That said there isn't much uncovering going on even with the known legal landfills. The Woolwich Landfill quietly came back on the radar three summers ago when the Region of Waterloo sent out notices to residents in the Sandy Hills area about low level contamination coming from the old Woolwich Landfill up on Seiling Drive. Meanwhile here in Elmira we are allegedly cleaning up the contaminated Elmira Aquifers in their entirety. How exactly is that supposed to work with ongoing leachate being produced and moving into the groundwater? Leachate by the way including chemicals from Uniroyal Chemical and Varnicolor Chemical that was deposited locally as well as farther away.

Oh hell let's just leave these problems to the next generation. We'll use the same old tired excuses. We didn't know any better. These were the historic practices of the day. We followed the laws and conventions that everybody else did. We thought it was O.K.. Those excuses were bullshit in the 50s, 60s and 70s and they're most certainly bullshit today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Well that didn't take long. On April 7/17 I posted here an article titled "Sleeping With The Enemy In Woolwich Township, Ontario". Basically I indicated that I was disgusted with Woolwich Township for having any business dealings whatsoever with the company who have represented Chemtura Canada's interests for the past thirty years, usually to the detriment of Woolwich residents.

Boycotts of companies who provide products at the retail level for consumers' consumption is commonplace. Nestle Waters might be a current example due to their water taking permits for pennies per gallon over in Aberfoyle near Guelph. In other words when a private company are making profits at the expense of the public interest; normal, decent people feel that patronizing their products would be immoral.

Apparently not a concern to our good Mennonite folks (granted not all) on Woolwich Council. The last post dealt with eSolutions a company owned formerly by Conestoga Rovers (CRA) and now owned by GHD. Last evening I learned that Woolwich Council have a $128,871.41 contract with GHD for engineering and tendering services for the Barnswallow Drive Reconstruction Project here in Elmira. I make no comment on GHD's competence or capabilities to professionally handle this work because I simply do not know. What I do know is that to date at least they are carrying on in the tradition of CRA in regards to Chemtura Canada (Lanxess) and it is not to the benefit of Woolwich residents or life in and around Canagagigue Creek.

As Susan Bryant is willing to "sleep with the enemy" namely CRA (GHD) right along with Woolwich Council then is it any wonder that this Council turn a blind eye to the glaring and apparent conflicts of interest of two of their TAG appointees ?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Ken Reger a local resident and former Uniroyal employee testified at the Environmental Appeal Board hearing and as well he spoke at the January 16, 1995 public meeting. Ken advised that the former Elmira municipal landfill, called M2, was routinely used for industrial waste disposal by Uniroyal Chemical. As it was immediately adjacent to their property this would hardly have been difficult to do without monitoring or observation, as if anybody was going to object anyways. Therefore Ken strongly advised that it needed to be excavated and various toxic wastes removed.

Bob Verdun, owner of the Elmira Independent, spoke at the public meeting and suggested that it was time that both Uniroyal and the Ontario M.O.E. started paying attention to the testimony of their former employees as to what went on. He also stated that Uniroyal were big on talk and short on action.

Susan Bryant suggested that the proposed SW quadrant containment only would contain 34.1% of the contaminated groundwater versus the alleged 95% claimed by Conestoga Rovers.

Mike Murray of the Region of Waterloo stated that the M.O.E. needs to do much more in regards to containment of the shallow aquifer.

There were of course a few Uniroyal friends who spoke on their behalf.

Pat Potter as mentioned yesterday was highly critical of both the M.O.E. and Uniroyal and one other thing she accused them of was that "You have destroyed an aquifer.".

Yours truly spoke and stated that there were higher concentrations of some Uniroyal chemicals in the north-west part of their site (RPW-1 & 2) than there were in the south-west. This included phenols, benzene and chlorobenzene.

Any honest and uncorrupted government Ministry would have realized that they had lost the confidence of the affected public with their pathetic and unsubstantiated rationale for only containing 1/4 of the shallow aquifer in direct contravention of what Uniroyal were ordered to do in the November 4, 1991 Control Order. It clearly stated full hydraulic containment in all aquifers. It did not state partial hydraulic containment in some aquifers. To this day between the DNAPL coverup and the shallow aquifer coverup I have nothing but well deserved contempt for the Ontario M.O.E.. They are professional liars and deceivers.

Monday, May 15, 2017


This public meeting was called after considerable opposition was demonstrated to Uniroyal's plans to contain the Upper Aquifer on their Elmira property. Well contain actually 1/4 of their Upper Aquifer only. APTE, EH-TEAM & the Region of Waterloo all hung in, in opposition to Uniroyal/CRA's outrageous plans. Dave Belanger, Hydrogeologist, on behalf of the Region stated that CRA's plans were the cheapest, least effective option. It took nearly two decades before we discovered exactly how and why this scam ever got off the ground. The GRCA and the Ontario M.O.E. rolled over and bellied up after showing initial opposition. I expect the M.O.E.'s opposition was merely token opposition as they were likely in the know regarding the secret east side works done by Uniroyal.

Pat Potter of the Dunnville Environmental-Hazards Team attended this public meeting and she was very blunt in her comments. She stated "I am waiting for the Uniroyal trials. You have committed a heinous crime and you will answer for it.". In regards to Hardy Wong of the Ministry of Environment she stated "If you do not have the strength of character to fight Uniroyal, resign.".

Rich Clausi and I of the Elmira Environmental-Hazards Team attended and spoke. We also had a large banner erected on the wall which stated "UPAC offers the illusion of public consultation".

Mike Murray of the Region of Waterloo spoke and he too criticized Uniroyal/CRA's plan for upper aquifer containment.

Bonnie Walters of the Cambridge Pesticide Action Group attended and stated the plan was " like shutting the door to keep the house warm when there isn't any window. It's ludicrous. It's a dead loss.".

Norm Jacobs spoke on behalf of the natives from the Brantford area as well as on behalf of other downstream users of the Grand River. He considered Uniroyal's actions to be an act of war.

This meeting was a watershed both positive and negative. It showed massive public opposition to a very stupid and outrageous plan that did not have the backing of any independent hydrogeologists. Citizens up and down the Grand River were united and opposed. Woolwich Township pro Uniroyal Councillors all fell in line as did CEAC and the GRCA. The negatives are that the M.O.E., the province of Ontario and local co-opted Councillors all ignored the facts of the inherently dishonest and cheap CRA plan. The aftereffects of this meeting made it clear that public consultation was all about appearances and would not deflect a corrupted government ministry from their self-serving plans. The public interest was being given extremely short shrift in Elmira and Woolwich Township and that has continued to this day.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


1993 ended with the betrayal and rollover of everybody on the DNAPL issue. The Region, APTE, GRCA, M.O.E. and UPAC all were so pleased with the excavations of RPE-4 & 5 that they turned a blind eye to the token removal of DNAPL at RPW-5 and TPW-2. Of those only two areas decided for excavation both of them were at best only partial excavations. RPW-5 was but a corner of the pit and TPW-2 ended with the Envirodome full and DNAPL left in the ground, clearly visible. That disgrace remains to this day.

The Region and M.O.E. also after more than a year of hard negotiations had the agreements with Uniroyal they needed for the off-site cleanup as well as the new pipeline and booster station for Elmira. They were perhaps in the afterglow of hard bargaining.

1994 was a year filled with crises, spills and betrayals. None was so fitting and pathetic as the "containment" of 1/4 of the shallow aquifer on the Uniroyal Chemical site. That quarter was the south-west quadrant. It made zero sense then and still doesn't yet somehow the creek has improved over time. With logically discharge of contaminated groundwater from both sides and the whole length of the creek entering the Canagagigue how did Uniroyal convince anybody to let them get away with only pumping the south-west corner? The Elmira Environmental Hazards Team (EH-Team) stood with APTE on this matter despite their blind following of Sylvia Berg in January of that year. To their credit the Region of Waterloo also stood firm and would not support this small, inexpensive charade of upper aquifer containment. To this day the other 3/4 of the upper aquifer is not contained. That said only three years ago yours truly discovered the reason the M.O.E. went along and that the system even remotely worked at all. As I've posted here previously it's likely all about a highly illegal and unethical by-pass of the east side contamination onto a neighbour's property.

March 12, 1994 Uniroyal had a discharge of chlorine gas. Much was made about it being non toxic and very small both of which were essentially excuses and wishful thinking. When the Elmira fire chief, Kieran Kelly showed up at their door, he was told that nope no problems here folks.

Later that month Uniroyal announced that they had been aware of a years old spill of mostly Toluene floating on their shallow aquifer in their south-west quadrant. It seems as if this Light Non Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL) consisted of anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 gallons of liquid.

UPAC were also treated during 1994 with the surprise that Uniroyal/Conestoga Rovers had underestimated the volume of the flow of contaminated groundwater from the south-west quadrant into the Canagagigue Creek. It was approximately ten to twenty times greater than they previously thought and of course this was going to somewhat delay their implementation of hydraulic containment. Not to worry though because they were all over the problem.

In June APTE finally gave their heads a shake and decided they could no longer be a part of a grotesqely biased and frankly very stupid Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee. They had two pro Uniroyal Woolwich Councillors, the Chamber of Commerce, GRCA, an industry captured regulator (M.O.E.) and apparently even a pro Woolwich Council committee (CEAC) with former Uniroyal employees on it. Six months after the EH-Team walked away from both APTE and UPAC, APTE got the hell out of UPAC.

Lastly in July, David Bethune a former hydrogeologist for the Region of Waterloo, let go a blast that rocked both the Region and the Ontario Ministry of Environment. In an interview with Bob Burtt he pulled no punches in regards to how ill prepared the Region had been for the Water Crisis and how hopeless the M.O.E. were at enforcing environmental laws.

All in all a horrible year for Elmira and the environment. Money, power and professional liars carried the day yet again.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Fortunately co-opted isn't all that big of a deal in the scheme of things. A term that APTE member Ted Oldfield used on occasion was "fellow travellor". His term referred to someone who simply found it easier to get along so you go along ie. you don't make waves. Most of the time former mayor Bob Waters was a fellow travellor. He abhorred the bad publicity that Elmira received over the Water Crisis yet he didn't want to blame Uniroyal.

APTE's turnaround on Uniroyal's DNAPL plans was the gamechanger. In 1992 I had discovered that Dames & Moore were quoting hydrogeologist Stan Feenstra out of context in order to intentionally minimize the appearance of DNAPLs on the Uniroyal site. This was the infamous 1% versus 10% solubility rule scam. After I exposed that the M.O.E. insisted that Uniroyal via Conestoga Rovers (CRA) had to rewrite their DNAPL Report. Quoting the September 28, 1993 K-W Record (John Roe): "Uniroyal paid for studies and a report on DNAPLS last year. But that report was heavily criticized and the province (M.O.E.) told the company to come up with another study.".

Uniroyal did so and it was still a stinker. The Region of Waterloo along with APTE made that very clear. Again quoting the same K-W Record article : "APT member Alan Marshall said Uniroyal had not done enough tests for DNAPLS. "There's been little or no examination of a huge area (M2)" on the site, he said, calling on the company to do more testing.
For Elmira to have drinkable groundwater within 30 years, the company must excavate all "DNAPL hot spots," said APT member Sylvia Berg. "But to do this you need better excavations."".

The Record ended their article thusly: "The environment ministry must approve Uniroyal's plan for handling the DNAPLs and Berg said she'd "be very surprised if they found this report adequate."".

From that point up to when the M.O.E. formally accepted CRA's DNAPL report on December 10, 1993 APTE had not had any change of position expressed to me or APTE co-ordinators Richard Clausi and Esther Thur. I researched and wrote the first Draft of APTE's position on CRA's DNAPL report and Sylvia Berg and Glenys McMullen edited it. I also took them through the report and data and convinced them of the accuracy of my conclusions. They were 100% on board. Despite this, at the last moment Sylvia refused to co-sign APTE`s critique which I found odd.

After the M.O.E.`s reprehensible acceptance of CRA`s DNAPL report I could not get any remotely intelligent explanation out of Sylvia as to why APTE would not oppose the Ministry`s betrayal yet again. After Richard, Esther and I left APTE in early January 1994 Sylvia had this to say in the January 12, 1994 K-W Record (John Roe) : ``Berg said APT was generally satisfied with the excavation of the DNAPLs that took place late last year.``.

Sylvia sold APTE and the public down the drain on DNAPLS. To this day they have not been further excavated. I certainly hope that Sylvia was well rewarded for her betrayal. She did run for Mayor afterwards with Bob Waters support which I found bizarre initially.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


The former name is the CCPA. Currently they are known as the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). Many of their corporate members have an unenviable track record for pollution. Many of their individual members are in my opinion nothing more than industry shills. There have been a few excellent corporate members who have set a high standard and seem genuinely concerned about the environment and who practice *Responsible Care. The information that I have received for a long time here in Elmira is that Sulco (Canada Colours) are one of those legitimate corporate members. Uniroyal aka Crompton, Chemtura and recently Lanxess are not.

Excellent individual members for example on the National Advisory Panel have included Pat Potter and Dr. Gail Krantzberg. I am sure there have been others. Back on January 25, 1993 the Elmira Independent published the full text of a news release by Pollution Probe out of Toronto. Ellen Schwartzel is a researcher at Pollution Probe. She and Pat Potter attempted to get the CCPA to suspend or expel corporate members including Uniroyal convicted of breaking environmental laws. Their news release indicated that the CCPA were spending large amounts of money on full page newspaper ads (eg. Globe & Mail) and other publicity extolling the virtues of their members' commitment to *Responsible Care.

The Pollution Probe news release then listed thirteen CCPA member companies who have been charged and convicted for environmental offences in just the last few years here in Ontario. The corporate names are a who's who of chemical companies including Dow, Du Pont, Polysar, Cyanamid, Novacor, Shell etc. and of course our favourite Uniroyal Chemical in Elmira.

The point that Ms. Schwartzel and Pat Potter were making is that the CCPA needs to be more than a PR and cheerleading brigade for Canadian and Ontario polluters. Pat assisted up here in Elmira with protests against Uniroyal Chemical in the early 90s hence you can imagine Pat's disgust when she found that Sylvia Berg of APTE had sent a letter to the CCPA praising Uniroyal for their behaviour here in Elmira.

Pat Mclean had been a secret member of the National Advisory Panel of the CIAC while she was Chair of CPAC. I and other voting members of CPAC at the time had no idea of Pat's involvement with them. Pat has also voted in favour of Chemtura being reverified under *Responsible Care contrary to Dr. Dan Holt's vote and CPAC's wishes in approximately 2012. In my opinion Pat McLean is either an industry shill or Chemtura's shill. She has personally benefited from her position on CPAC allegedly representing the citizens of Elmira and Woolwich. That at the very least is a gross conflict of interest.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


The first public discussions at UPAC (Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee) concerning DNAPLS (dense non-aqueous phase liquids) took place in late 1992. Frank Rovers of Conestoga Rovers, consultants to Uniroyal, admitted that DNAPLS were ubiquitous throughout the Uniroyal property, in the sub-surface. That said he then pontificated that they could never all be completely found or removed and hence even attempting to do so was a waste of money. This position was contradicted by both Wilf Ruland on behalf of APTE as well as by Dave Belanger (Region of Waterloo) and Bob Hillier (hydrogeologist with the Ministry of Environment). These discussions were written up in the K-W Record by Bob Burtt on both December 1 and 7, 1992.

Another article appeared in the Record written by Bob Burtt on December 11/92 in which Susan Bryant of APTE stated "DNAPL is the most serious environmental problem at Uniroyal.". Dave Ireland of the Ontario M.O.E. stated that DNAPLS were in both the Upper Aquifer (UA) as well as in the Municipal Upper Aquifer (MU).

Around January 14, 1993 the Record carried another article in which the Ontario M.O.E. advised that Uniroyal were out of compliance with their Control Order as they had failed to submit a proper and complete DNAPL Report on time. There was considerable back and forth on this because Uniroyal claimed that there were ongoing discussions and debates between Conestoga Rovers (CRA) and hydrogeologists for APTE, M.O.E. and the Region of Waterloo. Essentially all parties except Uniroyal and their consultants were opposed to the position taken and technical statements in the Dames & Moore DNAPL report.

All of this is of interest as basically as we have learned, politics trumps science every single day of the week up here in Woolwich Township. Even Frank Rovers of CRA in 1992 was quoted as saying that DNAPL cleanup "might be possible in the future.". Well guess what? That was 25 years ago and certainly DNAPL cleanup is not only more technically feasible now but it is long recognized as being necessary to every extent possible. This was the strong position of Drs. Cherry and Parker (U. of Waterloo) in the January 2007 meeting that Susan Bryant, Pat McLean, Wilf Ruland and I attended. Two of those three chose to suppress that result to the best of their abilities including getting me kicked off CPAC by a very ignorant and hopeless Woolwich Council (less Ruby Weber). Strange how with NO contradictory evidence those parties have so changed their tunes on DNAPLS over the years. With Pat & Susan could that have had anything to do with self-interest versus public interest?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Sometime shortly after the Woolwich Observer started in business (1995?) they received a rude awakening. Based upon my statement that Brian Beatty had been "consolidated" by Uniroyal Chemical, at least partly or perhaps mostly for his quoting Stan Feenstra out of context; Brian Beatty then threatened to sue the fledgling newspaper for libel. The Observer using me as their source had published David Ash's use of the word "consolidated" to describe Uniroyal's ending their decade plus long relationship with him and his firm. My interpretation which I felt was shared by others present at the Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee (UPAC) meeting at which Dr. Ash made his announcement, was that Mr. Beatty had been turfed, fired or maybe simply not had his contract renewed.

The Observer appropriately contacted me for confirmation. I gave it to them plus some written back-up. What that was I assume was the date and location of the UPAC meeting at which it had occurred. Possibly I even passed along the Minutes of the meeting. Whether I sent them the 1992 newspaper articles from the K-W Record (Bob Burtt) describing the seriousness of the Stan Feenstra incident I do not recall. Afterall it's been more than twenty years. Regardless since that time they have on too many occasions since suggested to me that my information either wasn't accurate or reliable.

You be the judge. September 22, 1992 K-W Record headline "Ministry misled, Elmira group says". This article is specifically about Brian Beatty taking Stan Feenstra's DNAPL work out of context. I am supported in this article by APTE members Darrol and Susan Bryant as well as by Wilf Ruland their consultant and finally even Jaimie Umpleby of the Region of Waterloo gives a less specific endorsement of my and APTE's position on DNAPLS.

October 15, 1992 K-W Record (Bob Burtt) headline "Uniroyal may face charges in cleanup". This article is about the same UPAC meeting and describes how both APTE and the Region of Waterloo are upset with the Dames & Moore (Brian Beatty) DNAPL report and how Dave Ireland of the M.O.E. is suggesting that charges may be filed against Uniroyal specifically because of this same DNAPL report being incomplete and misleading.

October 29, 1992 K-W Record Editorial titled "Elmira's toxic woes need faster action". The editorial states that "Ministry of Environment officials are threatening to press charges against Uniroyal for not resolving long-standing problems related to the cleanup.". Again these charges are the same ones threatened and written up in the Record two weeks earlier in regards to the Brian Beatty DNAPL report.

While I have long admired the vast majority of the writing and articles in the Woolwich Observer I have long been confused by the attitudes of Pat and Joe Merlihan. I believe that as newbies in 1995 they were fairly easily intimidated by Brian Beatty and his lawyer over what I believed at the time was their accurate and honest comments. For them to use that issue then and now as some kind of excuse not to give weight to my observations and knowledge base is simply bizarre and dishonest. They got bluffed by Mr. Beatty. That is hardly my fault for giving them accurate and honest information. If it is some other problem of which I'm not aware then tell me. Otherwise put a sock in it and or apologize for your misinterpretation of the facts and of my credibility.

Monday, May 8, 2017


Could it have been even worse than we thought at the time of the sweetheart deal? What you ask could be worse than agreeing to leaking in-ground storage of toxic wastes? Do not forget that both the Ministry of Environment as well as Uniroyal could see the shutdown of the Elmira wellfields coming. In the mid 80s the west side ponds were emptied and their contents put into the "consolidation" pits namely RPE4 and RPE5. Then lo and behold by August 1990 after the drinking wells were shut down the Ministry suddenly decided that those two east side pits were contaminating the municipal aquifer. No wonder Uniroyal Chemical were upset. Bad enough the Ministry wanted them to clean up the off-site Municipal Aquifer but they also wanted them to move the same wastes for a second time.

More infuriating was the fact that they both had agreed upon a strategy to give the appearance that the east side pits were not affecting the Canagagigue Creek. Also had they concocted a method to essentially by-pass both shallow and deeper aquifers entirely? What if they had agreed to Interceptor Trenches on the east side that would divert the grossly contaminated shallow aquifer plus leachate from the east side pits, via gravity flow, southwards and eastwards onto their neighbour's land? These trenches would have then discharged into the Stroh Drain which best estimates determine was constructed around 1985. The Stroh Drain then travels south through both the Stroh and Martin properties and discharges into the Canagagigue Creek.

While undoubtedly some accomodation had to be made with Stroh thirty plus years ago, what of the Martin family? From their property they have a small natural creek flowing and winding gently southwards until it discharges into the larger Canagagigue Creek. Were they even informed when their natural creek was augmented by the contaminated groundwater from the low lying wetlands along the border of the Stroh and Uniroyal properties? If as suspected this Stroh Drain also accepts Uniroyal's contaminated groundwater directly via some form of trenches or pipes, would they have been so informed?

The Martin family have a large in-ground swimming pond on their property. It is partly fed by groundwater but it is also augmented directly by a pipe from the same natural creek flowing through their property. I am extremely doubtful that they would have ever agreed to augmenting their swimming pond water with contaminated groundwater directly from Uniroyal Chemical.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment are aware of these allegations regarding possible Interceptor Trenches and to my knowledge have done nothing to investigate them. They are currently, painfully slowly, at least going through the motions to investigate the Stroh Drain.

Can you imagine the uproar thirty years ago if it had come out at the Environmental Appeal Board hearings that the Ontario M.O.E. agreed to a surreptitious collection and by-pass of Uniroyal's contaminated groundwater that went through two neighbour's private properties, including enriching one of the neighbour's swimming ponds? Is it possible that this was the stick that Uniroyal beat the M.O.E. into submission with?

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Esther Thur spoke to the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearing in early May 1991. The title of the article in Bob Verdun`s Elmira Independent was ``Long-time resident recounts 50 years of pollution adversely affecting Elmira``. Roddy Turpin of the Elmira Independent wrote the article and was the only reporter present for the entirety of the EAB hearings. Esther gave detailed accounts of chemical odours at nights, local currency (paper money) actually smelling of Uniroyal chemicals, inedible tomatoes, and fumigations of the next door Elmira Furniture Co. (later Roxton Furniture) by Uniroyal resulting in windows being closed and men having to go home ill from the fumes.

In the fall of 1991 Stan Berger and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment betrayed the trust of Elmira and Ontario residents. They actually manipulated the rules in order to shut down the other parties and the entire EAB hearings. By revoking the August 1990 Control Order that was the basis for Uniroyal Chemical`s appeal to the EAB, the M.O.E. claimed that the EAB no longer had jurisdiction. The timing was exquisite in that while the M.O.E. had presented their case none of the other parties had, prior to the summer recess. Because of this the M.O.E. got to see Uniroyal`s case privately and obviously determined that it was too damaging and demonstrated their culpability too grossly for public consumption.

The new Control Order (Nov. 4, 1991) followed a private, two party agreement (sweetheart deal) in October and referenced the two east side pits (RPE 4 & 5) for clean out. As well hydraulic containment on-site in all aquifers was ordered. That of course never happened. Similarly DNAPLS were to be removed as a contaminant source beneath the western ponds or lagoons. That at best only partially happened with excavations at RPW-5 and TPW-2 a couple of years later. The 1992 deadline for the east side pits excavation was violated however when you are professional liars lacking in ethics and morals; you simply change and rewrite your own Òrders`at will.

There was incredible anger and disgust with both the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Uniroyal Chemical, most appropriately by the other parties with the exception of Nutrite. We of course learned several years later why they were just as happy to see these hearings end as they hoped to continue to conceal their gross Ammonia contamination of the Upper Aquifer and the Municipal Upper Aquifer. Alas for them, they were eventually outed when it served Uniroyal`s purposes near the turn of the century (2000).

Hence while Uniroyal were paid (directly & indirectly) by the M.O.E. to accept 100% of the blame for the destruction of the Elmira Aquifers; there were significant other contributors including Nutrite (Ammonia), Varnicolor Chemical (solvents & maybe NDMA), probably Borg Textiles (chlorobenzene), multiple gas stations (Gord`s, Voisin`s, another beside the former Steddick Hotel) and maybe Sanyo although the evidence is highly circumstantial and lastly one which certainly affected the North wellfield.

Not bad when a provincial government ministry intentionally lies to the public simply to cover up their own culpability, deal making and maybe possibly even local corruption. Afterall it wasn`t as if the Ontario M.O.E. have never been accused or convicted of corruption before. Dochstader in Sarnia (formerly Elmira) and MacDonald as well in Elmira, regarding Varnicolor Chemical come to mind. How many others I wonder who were never caught. Could this have been what the M.O.E. were afraid that Uniroyal were going to spill when their turn came to present to the EAB.

Friday, May 5, 2017


The following article was published in Bob Verdun's Elmira Independent on May 6, 1991; twenty-six years ago tomorrow. The title of the article was "Former Uniroyal employee highlights effects of Canagagigue creek pollution". The sub-title was "Fish and wildlife almost non-existent". The former employee was Ken Reger who testified at the Environmental Appeal Board hearing on May 1, 1991. Mr. Reger worked at Uniroyal from 1957 to 1968. He was also a trapper along Canagagigue Creek from about 1945 to 1988.

Quoting Ken Reger: "The muskrats in the Uniroyal area were always smaller and thinner, and upon skinning, they always had a strong chemical smell to the flesh". Ken went on to describe the "backwater" which is just south of Church St. on the east side of the creek on Uniroyal's property. "Uniroyal has built up the east side of the shore land adjacent to the east side of the backwater with oil-of-aniline sludge, which contained benzenes, to a depth of up to approximately 18 feet deep. This was taken from one of two sludge ponds south of Shirt Factory creek and west of the Canagagigue creek (the main Uniroyal site)". "Some of the sludge would slide into the backwater." "At one time, there were 20 muskrat houses on the Canagagigue creek, but now there might be about four, he said." "The few carp that are there, as they love backwater, are approximately half the weight of the same length of carp found a mile upstream," near the Woolwich reservoir.

Furthermore Ken Reger testified "Over the years, numerous spills of finished products occurred, usually by overflowing storage holding tanks. This spilled product, along with gravel, was shovelled into open-head 45 gallon drums and put into the drum heaters. The heated product would be siphoned off the gravel and redistilled. The remaining gravel and product in the drums was usually dumped in the town dump (near the south end of the Uniroyal property), as it was a gooey mess."

Finally Mr. Reger stated there were "many pure herbicide spills due to overflowing of tanks.". "When it became too soupy to walk in more road gravel would be spread there and periodically a front-end loader would take this, usually to the town dump, and fresh gravel would be spread in these areas."

This testimony is very relevant to this day. These areas described by Ken Reger have long been minimized by Uniroyal and their successors as either having primarily municipal waste in them (ie. the town dump) or as being hydraulically contained.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Tell me why exactly Uniroyal Chemical aka Crompton, Chemtura and now Lanxess were never run out of town? Most people were concerned about their fumigations of Elmira back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Tomatoes from gardens could not be eaten because of their chemical smells and taste. Promised health studies never materialized. Old Order Mennonites along the Canagagigue Creek have asked whether or not their loss of babies and their cancers were caused by Uniroyal Chemical. The answers they received were we do not know. The truth however is related to their exposures. The prevailing winds are out of town. In other words from west to east. These farm families are all downwind of the prevailing winds hence whatever Elmira suffered in odours and toxic air was multiplied many times for them. Then of course is the creek itself. Did they play in or around the creek as children? Did they eat fish from the creek before the fish were all killed off by Uniroyal Chemical? Did they use sand from the creek in their gardens or for their children in sandboxes?

Then of course we have the residents of Elmira drinking their tap water. Their toxic tapwater. Most likely for decades. That combined with the air emissions from Uniroyal made for a truly toxic combination. Did you know that even after the Water Crisis in 1989 that Elmira folks were still drinking tapwater with over 9 parts per trillion (ppt.) NDMA in it? I've long wondered exactly how the Region and Township managed to keep the water flowing even after the North Wellfield was diagnosed with NDMA above guidelines in it. Also of course is the awkward fact that there was a groundwater divide in Elmira whereby some of Uniroyal's contaminated groundwater flowed west and south to Wells E7 and E9 however the rest flowed west and north to the North Wellfield comprised of wells E5, E5A, E6, E2 and E8. Funny how the Ministry of Environment knew enough in their Drinking Water Surveillance Program (DWSP) in the late 80s to only test well E5A, the one farthest from Uniroyal Chemical. The other four wells were between E5A and Uniroyal and hence they drew in Uniroyal's groundwater first and foremost. The other awkward fact is that there was another major groundwater polluter even closer to the North wellfield. One that has never become public. Afterall just because the public drink the water and get sick and die is no reason for them to know details about their neighbours' serious gaffes, is there?

Wells E2 and E8 unsurprisingly became contaminated with NDMA first. Way above 9 ppt.. It was diluted somewhat by the other wells. Then well E2 was pumped to waste ie. pumped as an Interceptor Well. It pumped heavily polluted groundwater from the Municipal Aquifer and discharged it into Canagagigue Creek. Odd how this wasn't an issue at the same time as NDMA in Elmira's Sewage Treatment Plant discharges was. Later on Well E8 was also pumped to waste in an effort to protect the remaining North Wellfield wells. Of course there isn't perfect timing and for a while citizens were yet again drinking NDMA contaminated water above the drinking water standards. This was finally remedied when the recently built pipeline from Waterloo, which had been standing idle for a while, was brought on line.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


It was no surprise. For a decade Uniroyal Chemical had Morrison & Beatty engineering and technical consultants on retainer. They had monitoring wells installed and hydrogeological reports written describing the aquifers beneath Uniroyal and Elmira. They understood that there was a direct hydrogeological connection between both the north and south wellfield and Uniroyal's property. In 1990 there were discussions at the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) regarding NDMA air emissions at Uniroyal having been going on for thirty years. In 1977 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment tested for and found massive concentrations of NDMA in Uniroyal's waste water being sent to the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. Of course that information was kept confidential and apparently didn't upset the M.O.E. enough to put a halt to it. It kind of indicates the hypocrisy of having an entire months long EAB hearing over waste water discharges in 1990 that were lower in concentrations than was discovered in 1977.

In 1984 the Ontario M.O.E. laid their first Control Order on Uniroyal. During the 1980s there was significant cleanup and removal of wastewater lagoons on the Uniroyal site. Some wastes were removed and sent off-site to allegedly secure landfills. We have been advised recently that a former Chemtura employee stated on the record that Uniroyal knew full well a decade before the 19889 Elmira crisis that their toxins had left their property and that the Elmira drinking wells were at risk. Finally after checking I've confirmed that the pipeline from Waterloo to Elmira was actually completed within a year of the November 1989 shut down of the south wellfield. How is that possible considering things like property acquisition, environmental assessments etc. unless those steps had been planned long in advance?

The only ones surprised by the Elmira water crisis were the citizens long kept in the dark. The lies and misinformation have never stopped and the provincial government via their Ministry of Environment are up to their eyeballs in it.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Health studies of Elmira residents were promised and never delivered. A serious and professional study of all sources of contamination was promised and never delivered despite CH2MHILL's work on behalf of the Region of Waterloo. The consulting firm delivered the answer the Region wanted which along with the Ministry of Environment squarely blamed Uniroyal Chemical alone. These professional truth twisters didn't even blink around 2000 when they no longer could ignore Nutrite's 80% contribution of the ammonia in the Municipal Upper Aquifer. Meanwhile Ken Seiling had publicly fingered both Nutrite and Varnicolor as potential contributors including naming them in a lawsuit. A year ago (May 2016) we received the first proof that Varnicolor had contributed multiple solvents to our drinking water aquifer. Unsurprisingly the M.O.E. and unfortunately the current company on the Varnicolor site, Elmira Pump, have as yet not made the final Risk Assessment available to me or the public. It seems as if that action is inevitable as they are trying to receive a Certificate of Site Condition from the M.O.E.. in order to develop part of their site (commercially).

Meanwhile lest we forget Uniroyal Chemical before they had their sweetheart deal and Indemnity from the Ministry of Environment (M.O.E.) had publicly offered $1 million towards a study of all the sources and contributors to the Elmira drinking water destruction. They, the Region, and personnel from the Environmental Appeal Board hearing all expressed skepticism that Uniroyal were the sole contributors to the destruction of our drinking water. Finally the M.O.E. had a number of detections of industrial solvents in the south wellfield prior to the "discovery" of NDMA in the water.

The final story here in Elmira is not yet written. Be patient. It will be.

P.S. There is a good video documentary being edited and finalized. It too will be informative.

Monday, May 1, 2017


The disinformation continues. Page 7 we are advised that off-site pumping wells W5A, W3R and E7 contained the limits of the NDMA plume in the Bedrock. This is more confidently claimed the last couple of years as their Schematic of the Conceptual Site Model has been amended to show less and less aquitard (low permeabilty zone) between the Municipal Lower Aquifer and the Bedrock Aquifer particularily at E7 in the south end of Elmira. How is this remotely possible with the major aquitard (LAT) between pumping well W3R and the Bedrock Aquifer?

Speaking of the Bedrock Aquifer CRA (GHD) still claim that while NDMA is present above drinking water standards allegedly it is not contaminated with Chlorobenzene. Balderdash! Both the Municipal Upper (MU) and Municipal Lower Aquifers (ML) are contaminated well above drinking water standards with Chlorobenzene including in areas in direct contact with the Bedrock aquifer. In other words there is a huge window between the Municipal Aquifers and the Bedrock with zero impermeable or even semi-impermeable aquitard protecting the Bedrock Aquifer. Let us also not forget the ability of DNAPLS to gravity flow to the lowest points possible. There is evidence of free phase DNAPLS being found 100 feet below surface at OW57-32R many years ago plus nearby groundwater readings of chlorobenzene in both the MU and ML have historically indicated DNAPL nearby.

My question at the end of the first paragraph can not be answered by a company who cuts and runs from public consultation. Refusing to allow the informed public to ask questions at TAG and RAC meetings is simply to protect the polluter (Chemtura) from embarassment at being publicly caught out in various and sundry lies. Those who are allowed to ask questions (RAC & TAG members) have been vetted by both Chemtura and Woolwich Township as less likely to ask hard, embarrassing or undiplomatic questions.

Figure D.3 in this report indicates inadequate containment of the Upper Aquifer on-site. Figure D.7 indicates an honest (?) admission of the extent of the Upper Aquifer (UA3) on the east side of the Chemtura site. This contradicts various text where they indicate the Upper aquifer either doesn't exist or is extremely limited on the east side. Similarily Figure D.8 does the same thing for the Municipal Upper Aquifer (MU) on the east side of the site. Figures D.10 and D.11 show Chlorobenzene contamination in the Municipal Lower Aquifer (ML) but not in the directly connected Bedrock aquifer directly below. Highly unlikely.

These always cheerful, pro Chemtura Progress Reports continue unabated. Somewhat like their contamination.