Saturday, December 30, 2017


The question in the above title is asked due to a story in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Ministry monitoring plastic pellets in river". I will grant you that tiny either plastic pellets or "resin pellets" certainly don't appear at first glance to be acutely toxic such as oil, gasoline, diesel or solvents spilled or dumped into our rivers and streams. Nevertheless they are a major pollution problem for several reasons including that fish, ducks and other wildlife consume them thinking they are perhaps fish eggs or other forms of food. Also according to this story the plastic pellets "...can absorb and concentrate toxins".

My question is based upon two things. Firstly it wasn't the Ontario Ministry of Environment who discovered large quantities of plastic pellets in the Eramosa River. It was a citizen in a kayak who contacted them last September. Secondly these "spills" of plastic pellets into the river had been going on for years undetected allegedly by either the company involved (PDI) or the Ontario MOECC.

Reports have been produced by a consulting firm hired by PDI. The Ministry are in control of these reports and we the public have no way to assess their thoroughness. This is a big deal. The MOE have been underfunded for decades by the provincial government. One simple result is that they aren't out looking for problems. They've got enough already on their plates. Secondly they've got backlogs both in their labs as well as with technical reports requiring either professional hydrogeologists, hydrologists or biologists to read and assess. Fortunately as has been proven a thousand times over here in Elmira; there are lay citizens with the knowledge and experience who can also do this work. While I always enjoyed and learned from reading the final reports of professionals in the field it was absolutely routine for myself and others on CPAC to have come to similar conclusions first in our reading of technical reports. As I've long said hydrogeology is not rocket science no matter how much polluters and other self-serving individuals pretend it is.

Friday, December 29, 2017


This posting is a followup to the one I did nine days ago on December 20/17. In that posting I more or less suggested that Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) had followed a middle course in regards to the controversy surrounding neonics or the use of nicotine based pesticides. Today's posting will shine a light upon one of the many environmental organizations that are strongly opposed to any use of neonics whatsoever.

Friends of the Earth had e-mailed information to members and supporters regarding the PMRA's recent decision on neonics. To put it simply they are totally opposed to any compromise whatsoever. It is also their position that the science is strongly on their side. Their arguments certainly appear strong and coherent. For example Ontario beekeepers have been crying foul for a number of years. France, Britain and the European Union all have banned neonic pesticides. While beekeepers can take some steps to protect their bees from these pesticides, as Friends of the Earth suggest, nobody is monitoring or looking after wild, native bees.

Neonics are widely used on seeds for soy, corn and winter wheat. Friends of the Earth suggest that these seed coatings leave residues in the soil which then move into both ground and surface water. That is indeed the reality of any contaminants introduced into the natural environment.

Lastly this environmental group and others have long suggested that our governments and their agencies are far too easily lobbied by the pesticide industry and that their decisions are not always in the public interest. That appears to be the case here.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Five years ago (Nov. 2012) Conestoga Rovers and Chemtura along with their buddy the Ontario M.O.E. triumphantly announced their new groundwater remediation expansion plan. They claimed falsely that they and they alone had determined through computer modelling (or voodoo and tea leaves?) that in order to achieve the 2028 deadline for cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers that they were going to TRIPLE the volume of off-site groundwater pumping and treating AND they were going to use In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) in specific high concentration areas off-site. Personally I viewed this as a form of off-site source removal which was long overdue.

Well here we are five years later. The average Target pumping rates were in the area of 53 litres per second for ALL the off-site pumping wells namely W5A/B, W4, W3 and E7 at the south end of Elmira. Where are we today you ask? We seem to be averaging somewhere around 63-64 litres per second. Granted some of the wells have been relocated and pumping either increased or decreased. The result is the off-site wells pumping today are W5A/B, W4 (well for November at least), W3, W6A/B, W9 and finally E7.

We are advised in the November 2017 Progress Report that due to this Update and that Analysis that routine pumping at well W4 has now ceased. Are you kidding me? Where the hell are the two new wells W7 and W8 that we've been hearing about for five years now? Why the hell are you shutting pumping wells down? Why the hell do you think that we are so stupid that we think that 63 litres per second is triple the pumping rate of 53 litres per second? Oh right I forgot. Somewhere between November 2012 and now Chemtura changed their promise from a tripling to a doubling of the pumping rates. What a farce! Do you think that 63 is double 53? In what universe? Oh again silly me. Here in Ontario, under the supervision of the Ontario Ministry of Errors and Excuses and Corporate Collusion (MOECC); 63 is double 53.

What has become obvious to me is the following. Chemrura and CRA (Conestoga Rovers) never intended to triple or double anything. Part of the reason is that they don't have and never have had hydraulic containment on the former Uniroyal Chemical site as mandated in the November 4, 1991 M.O.E. Control Order. Not a problem! They surrepticiously Amended that Control Order on June 21, 2000 (Hal Kannif-director) and then spent the next four years trying to convince UPAC (Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee) that it would be a good idea to allow on-site flow to go off-site and be picked up there by pumping wells. They called this scam Optimization.

There never was a serious plan to either double or triple off-site pumping because within two years of starting off-site pumping (2000) they realized that they couldn't possibly maintain on-site containment while simultaneously pumping much larger quantities of groundwater off-site. Essentially on-site groundwater pumping would also need to be doubled or tripled to avoid groundwater flowing to the much lower off-site elevations. That would be too expensive when you realize that the far higher contaminant concentrations are on-site requiring much more expensive treatment.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


In one sense there has been an abyss of data since the groundbreaking CPAC revelations in September/October 2014. Three years plus with zero followup by either Chemtura/Lanxess or the Ontario Ministry of Environment in regards to the construction date and details of the "Stroh Drain". Zero followup in regards to the source of ongoing water (enhanced?) flowing from the pipe at the north end of the Stroh Drain. Zero followup to the public claims along with my 2'x4' map showing surface contour lines and how the bulk of all highly contaminated wastewater that both overflowed from the east side ponds as well as was deliberately drained (as per Jeff Merriman), flowed southwards only initially and then followed the slope of the land eastwards directly into the Stroh Drain. Zero followup /explanation or even factual fictions or alternative facts as to the clearly man made construction expressed as lines in the earth from the extreme north end of the Uniroyal/Chemtura site southwards and eastwards off their site immediately below the sort of most southerly pit (RPE-5). These lines or markings have been shown publicly at both CPAC and Woolwich Council meetings after being printed out from both Google satellite maps as well as Region of Waterloo satellite/aerial photos. I have publicly expressed my opinion that they are either a collector trench designed to collect contaminated eastside groundwater and divert it off-site eastwards for later discharge into the Canagagigue Creek or they are some sort of PRV or Permeable Reactive Barrier intended to react with contaminants and help break them down. The Waterloo Barrier (Univ. of Waterloo) I believe when invented used iron filings to react with organic compounds to break them down. Lastly zero followup with my and CPAC's revelations that the 2013 Dioxin & DDT allegedly volunteer "cleanup" of GP! & 2 may have been a sham. It now appears from old maps that GP1 was not located on the south side of the diagonal ridge (NW-SE) or high ground but on the north side of it. Therefore Chemtura may have intentionally spent $3 million primarily for appearances although they certainly did remove some contamination.

This cover your ears, close your eyes and hold your nose strategy by politicians and their partners in pollution is tried and true. People rarely can indefinitely maintain their anger and outrage. That said Chemtura/Lanxess, CRA/GHD and the Ontario MOECC have been investigating (slowly) the east side lands looking for evidence that Uniroyal compounds indeed did travel both due east from Uniroyal onto the Stroh farm as well as southwards and then via the "Gap" eastwards into the Stroh Drain. Of course this area called the "Gap" was so named because of Conestoga Rover's (CRA) initial 2015 study in which they carefully, meticulously and excruciatingly totally avoided taking any samples in this 170-200 metre area along their eastern property line with the Stroh property. This "Gap" area is the area that CRA intentionally avoided that appears topographically as the likely area both for overland flow from the further north pits as well as the more likely location for GP1 (gravel Pit 1).

Other evidence has been discovered by CPAC since. We however are prohibited from giving Delegations or even asking questions at public TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meetings. Smells a lot like a part of Woolwich Council's ongoing coverup of all things Uniroyal over the decades. A couple of Delegations have been given to RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) by myself on behalf of CPAC regarding downstream fish grossly contaminated with Dioxins/Furans, DDT, PCBs & Mercury. Unfortunately during the past year these four times per year RAC meetings have been devalued into but twice per year meetings (Sept. 2017 & March 2018). Similarly TAG meetings scheduled for 8-10 times per year have also been cut back. Last July and then this month December with the next meeting in March 2018. That is also pathetic.

We now have hard evidence that the Stroh Drain has indeed been flowing constantly and moving contamination downstream as a by-pass for decades. This came indirectly from a current CPAC team member through their professional contacts. This will somewhat complicate any phony narratives in the works if heaven forbid Chemtura/Lanxess ever become obligated to publicly answer questions from informed members of the public and residents of Woolwich Township.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Basal gravel unit & preferential flow. Diffusion into the aquitards. Lack of on-site pumping in the heaviest contaminated zones on-site. Failure to ascertain off-site source zones either early on or at all. Nutrite, Varnicolour Chemical, Borg Textiles, multiple service stations etc.. Excess 1300 kg of Chlorobenzene recently discovered in the aquifers. Failure to go back and check downstream Canagagigue Creek after the 1995-96 testing and then the 2001-2006 on-site creekbank remediation. On-site failures of source removal of DNAPLs & LNAPLs. Failure to examine off-site transport to the south and the east of Persistent Organic Pollutants, NDMA etc.. Failure to properly test In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) for the Elmira Aquifers. Failure to fulfill promises since November 2012 regarding both ISCO and tripling of the volume of off-site aquifer pumping. The red herring and sham of GP-1 & 2 "cleanup" . Hidden "Stroh Drain" from 1985 onwards. Nonsense of all contaminated flow westwards and southwards only on the east side. The lack of east side shallow aquifer containment probably due to a groundwater trench deflecting groundwater east and south or else a reactive barrier. The fallacy of the "phantom mound" on Nutrite's property south-west of Uniroyal. Site Specific Risk Assessment gamesmanship and manipulation. Hidden agreements, subtly amended Control Orders prior to public discussion.

These assuredly are not the only failures either intentional or otherwise. These are all simply from memory on the spur of the moment. Uniroyal, Crompton, Chemtura, Lanxess combined with Conestoga-Rovers and GHD have taken Woolwich citizens and the public on a thirty year merry-go-round. They have been aided and abetted by the Ontario Ministry of Environment all along with "fellow travellors" in local politics. Much of these failures are only known because of a few local citizens who have hung in. Dr. Jackson also advised on several that he alone discovered. This is the pathetic result and intent of those in positions of money and power. The good news of course is the many citizens over the last three decades who have stood up and said no. It includes media such as the Elmira Independent, Woolwich Observer, K-W Record and CKCO-TV who have attempted to keep this ongoing cover up and misdirection in the public's eye. In the early days there were also national media who stepped up and carried the Elmira Water Crisis far and wide. This crisis and following cover up are merely a very small metaphor for politics as usual in Ontario and Canada.

Friday, December 22, 2017


What a difference a personality makes. What a difference credentials make. I noticed back in the late 90s and through until late 2006 the deference that was given to Dr. Henry Regier at UPAC/CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee). Make no mistake Henry deserved the deference given to him just as Dr. Jackson did. Both were published experts in their fields whether Biology (Henry) or Groundwater Remediation (Richard ie. Dick).

Both these gentlemen held no punches when dealing with either incompetent "professionals" masquerading as Elmira area knowledgeable experts or even less so with bought and paid for "professionals". Here in Elmira we citizens politely (sometimes) refer to them as "client driven". This is a well known and accepted travesty in the consulting field. Whether the experienced and credentialed authors of reports on behalf of polluting companies blatantly deceive or simply weight the damning evidence lightly and focus on either the unknowns or the less conclusive evidence, the results are the same. Generally it's all about minimizing the extent, concentration and volume of contaminated air, water and soil. This then minimizes the remediation extent and expense. In other words it's more like a lawyer in court spinning an at least halfway credible tale around the evidence that he and his client particularly like.

If only these consulting companies were given the status similar to lawyers in a court of law. In other words the public need to know that their expertise is for sale. While actual fudging of data, test results and field observations might actually get them into trouble if caught; with fairly honest reporting of the data it then becomes all about the Conclusions that the consultants come to.

Dr. Jackson (Dick) departed his Chairmanship of TAG (Technical Advisory Group) by advising that the difficulties facing us regarding cleaning up the Elmira Aquifers were not technical ones. He felt that that the real problems were in the area of "public policy". I interpret that statement as essentially saying that the engineers and academic experts know what's needed but our politicians do not have the will to clamp down on Chemtura/Lanxess (formerly Uniroyal Chemical) and say enough is enough. This includes both municipal and regional as well as our provincial politicians who control our lame duck Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). That the MOECC is a "lame duck" is not by accident. Whether underfunded and or simply ordered to treat major corporate polluters with a deference and respect they do not deserve, the results are the same. Our provincial clean up legislation is also badly slanted in favour of polluters.

The loss of both of these gentlemen in the public forum is huge. Elmira area citizens have always been fighting with both hands tied behind our backs. This has also been done intentionally by our politicians. Every time local, knowledgeable citizens have had Chemtura/Uniroyal on the ropes with facts and knowledge, our municipal politicians have changed the rules to let the world class polluter off the hook. The game is heavily rigged in favour of power and influence.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Today's Woolwich Observer carries a very small article titled "Water woes see Maryhill petition". Apparently this matter was discussed at last Tuesday's Council meeting. Unfortunately it was not apparent within the Agenda which comes out prior to the Council meetings or I would have attended. The Observer article suggests that taste is the problem and that reducing the chlorine levels will alleviate the problem. This may or may not do the trick.

Back on October 5, 2017 the Woolwich Observer also published an article titled "Township welcomes move as region simplifies water treatment process". This article inaccurately advised readers that the backwards step of replacing chloramination with straight chlorination was an improvement. In fact almost all experts, including the Region of Waterloo many years ago, advise just the opposite. Chloramination both reduces the by-product production of longterm toxic THMs (trihalomethanes) but it also stabilizes and prolongs anti-bacterial chlorine residuals in the water. If one reads the October 5/17 article carefully you will notice the talking out of both sides of the mouth by the Region's manager of water operations. She states at the end of the article that adverse chloramine results (ie. too high or > 3.0 mg/litre) aren't a cause for concern and quickly resolved. Then in the very next sentence she is quoted as saying that one of the benefits of removing chloramination is the elimination of adverse results for chloramine. Come on now, this gives me the very strong impression that she is trying too hard to put a positive spin on this.

Here in the Elmira Advocate I posted my concerns with the Maryhill Water Systems back on April 9,2014, April 10, 2014 and March 31, 2015. My concerns included a lack of THM readings being included in these reports as well as high chloramine residuals. Also raw water turbidity was a concern as murky, discoloured water can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria treatment and removal.

There are a number of possible reasons for the unpleasant taste in Maryhill's water. Excessive chlorine is but one possible cause. It could also be excessive THMs which is both a health and taste issue. Or once again perhaps the turbidity of the raw water is a problem. There have been expensive shutdowns and upgrades to two of the Maryhill wells in recent years. A clear indication as to the reasons for that might be helpful. Also the October 5/17 Observer article suggested that there were either or supply/pressure problems with those two wells. This might indicate that the turbidity was caused by pumping those wells down to low and drawing in sediment etc..

It is my opinion that the Region are doing what they do best and that is selling an inferior water treatment system as state of the art, world class etc.. They did this for years with the third world West Montrose system and I am still amazed that there wasn't (to my knowledge) a major health crisis over that. The only good news is the lack of bacteria analysed in recent years in the Maryhill raw water.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following article titled "Agency backs off from pesticide ban". While my early morning edition had this article in the Local Section, I could not find it in the on-line version in order to provide a link to it. There has been considerable research over the last five years which some scientists and a number of well known environmental groups believe strongly implicates neonicotinoid pesticides as the culprits in bee dieoffs. Some of those I have previously posted about here in the Advocate.

The Agency mentioned in the title is the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) which is part of Health Canada. Neonicotinoids are nicotine based pesticides "...commonly used by farmers to help keep everything from field crops to fruit orchards free of pests like aphids, spider mites and stink bugs.".The PMRA's interim assessment will bar them from being applied directly to the leaves of crops as well as bar them from use on municipal and residential lawns. They will however be allowed to continue to be used as pre-treatment for seeds prior to planting.

It seems to me that the compromise does two things. Firstly banning them from leaves and lawns is a pretty clear admission that they are harmful, presumably to bees and or perhaps other life forms. Secondly allowing them to be used as a pre-treatment for seeds that are going to be below the ground's surface indicates that they are likely an effective pest management tool and that the PMRA hopes that their use only sub-surface will either eliminate or minimize exposure to bees. Based on both media and scientific reports about the damage caused by neonicotinoids over the last five years, I hope that the PMRA's actions are adequate to do the job.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Early last summer the Woolwich Observer published an Editorial titled "New legislation, but no details on gravel pit changes". As the title implies our municipalities are controlled in their decisions via third parties. The amount of money via a per tonne of gravel extracted is a pittance which according to the Observer doesn't cover road repairs with the increased heavy truck traffic. Hence not much of a carrot. The stick of course is both the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The MNR has the reputation of being the defender of operators not of Ontario citizens. The OMB has a long standing track record of ignoring local decisions ie. municipal, in favour of developers. Both these bodies are provincial ones and of course are controlled by the provincial cabinet. There are far too many old gravel pits here in Woolwich still not remediated and as we learned at the Hunder Pit OMB hearing a few years back; even when done, soil remediation never restores the soil to its' pre-existing condition.

The Observer advises us that the provincial "...Aggregate Resources Act is practically a cudgel...". Opponents including various municipalities trying to respect the wishes of their constituents suggest that the MNR's enforcement of what feeble rules do exist, is inadequate. Currently both the OMB and the Aggregate Resources Act are being re-examined. Both are long overdue. Perhaps a highly unpopular provincial government is citizens best hope for improvements to legislation and practices which have long adversely affected rural or semi rural homeowners.

Monday, December 18, 2017


The June 2004 explosion and fire at Uniroyal/Chemtura was one of the more visible, violent and scary episodes at a company and location which has lurched from crisis to crisis. All these crises have not just been about their third world waste disposal practices. They have a long and never ending history of fires, explosions, spills and fugitive air releases into the community. Of course they and our local authorities have always falsely claimed that there's never been a release that could have or did harm any human beings.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Record carried stories on June 12 & 14, 2004 describing the explosion and fire that sent a huge black cloud over Elmira. I and my brother were west of town on our way back from a walk at the Woolwich Dam when we spotted the moving cloud. The Woolwich Observer (June 14/2004) and the Elmira Independent (June 18/2004) also carried stories on the crisis. The Record later on suggested that the cause was still somewhat ambiguous. Both the Fire Marshall's office as well as the TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Authority) were called in. Susan Bryant was quoted as saying "That plant shouldn't be there. We've known that for a very long time.".

On June 23, 2004 our local paper carried the following headline "Remediation principles get nod from Council". There was indeed discussion at CPAC in regards to principles and there was a lot of pressure on individual CPAC members to go along with these principles. At the time I thought they were as a substitute for the strongly unpopular "Optimization" Plan put forward by Conestoga Rovers on behalf of Uniroyal/Crompton. In hindsight I've wondered if in fact it was a behind the scenes bait and switch. In other words as Crompton already had the June 21, 2000 Amended Control Order were these Principles used as a pretend authorization/acceptance for the very quiet and contemptible June 2000 Amended Control Order?

In June 11, 2004 Julie Sawyer wrote in the Elmira Independent that an agreement was reached between Crompton, Nutrite and the Ontario M.O.E. regarding Ammonia contamination in the Municipal drinking water aquifer. Three weeks of Environmental Appeal Board hearings were cancelled after the agreement was reached. Susan Bryant is quoted as saying "It's bloody well time, that's how I feel.". Indeed Nutrite played hardball as exactly as Uniroyal has from day one, hiding behind process and legal manoeuvering whenever possible rather than own up to their public responsibilities.

Gail Martin in the same Independent edition wrote an article on sport fish in the Canagagigue Creek. The Ontario M.O.E. were actually suggesting that PCBs in the fish might be related to caulking that the Grand River Conservation Authority used in the Woolwich Dam. My personal opinion on that one is that as usual the M.O.E. are full of poo poo del toro.

The K-W Record in their June 25, 2004 edition suggested that bad wiring might have caused the earlier explosion and fire in the waste water treatment system. In hindsight I'm wondering about migrating methane gas in this area from the M2 landfill buried beneath these buildings. Of course Crompton/M.O.E. would never admit to such a thing as it would necessitate major expense at all the former landfills within the Elmira town limits. Bob Burtt wrote in the August 20, 2004 edition of the record that the Ontario M.O.E. laid a new Control Order on Crompton regarding both the June fire plus 212 spills they'd had over the past five years. It required a comprehensive document stating in detail what caused the fire and how to avoid it in the future. The previously mentioned "spills" included past Crompton air emissions.

In September Crompton had a new boss namely Ron Lackner. While he put a softer voice on Crompton's dealings I didn't see any thing but superficial changes in their dealings with the public.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Call it a love-hate relationship. I am constantly pleased with their local and regional coverage overall. I am constantly pleased with their Editorial's and Steve Kannon's opinion pieces whether on local or international matters. I am thankful and appreciative of their presence during all council and committee of the whole meetings. I think their cartoonist is often beyond brilliant. Their coverage and opinions on the political scene whether municipal, regional, provincial or federal are reasonable and logical Etc. etc..

So what's the problem? Well the Merlihan boys know what's coming next. Primarily it's their refusal to cover the biggest ongoing environmental story whether here in Woolwich, regionally or almost provincially. I will give the nod to the horrendous Grassy Narrows display of provincial negligence and ambivalence to human suffering as the biggest, ongoing provincial environmental story in recent months.

Uniroyal Chemical aka (also known as) Chemtura and now Lanxess is on the cusp of either a serious cleanup off-site to the east combined with sediment and floodplain soil removal in and around the Canagagigue Creek or it's on the cusp of the truly largest environmental charade, sham and coverup that will put the last thirty years of public deceit, deception and lying to shame. And where is the Woolwich Observer? They are MIA (missing in action). Your community needs and deserves your coverage. You did a fantastic job for perhaps your first decade of existence (1995-2005) on this file. We actually had two excellent local papers covering Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura in those days. The Elmira Independent are gone and as a result we need you more than ever.

Oh the second Kudo to the Woolwich Observer above and beyond the above? Despite a strong difference of opinion regarding Chemtura/Lanxess coverage, the Observer have repeatedly played fair with their public comments section after their articles. Beneath their coverage of their "Boundary Rationalization" article I put in my comments yesterday about their excluding my and Councillors' discussion regarding Chemtura's contamination of the east side. Many groups and individuals talk a good story about public input and comments but only the good ones actually continue to embrace it when the comments are critical. Kudos to the Woolwich Observer.

Friday, December 15, 2017


Between 2000 and 2004 UPAC/CPAC were given a steady diet of bull.... from Uniroyal/Crompton and their consultants. The scam was called "Optimization". The poorly explained idea seemed to be that two years after they began off-site pumping they allegedly didn't like the location of those wells. Hence they wanted to move wells both on and off site to areas of greater contaminant concentrations. This was somewhat explained in the November 1, 2003 Woolwich Observer written by Casey Lessard. The theory was that they could speed up cleanup this way. The hypocrisy of course was that UPAC had been yelling at them for years to increase the pumping at on-site well PW4 right in the heart of the most highly contaminated south-west area. Off-site well W4 near the Elmira water tower was supposedly drawing chlorobenzene from W5A/B which was just south of the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. This we were advised in the December 20, 2003 Woolwich Observer.

Formaldehyde concentrations had long been an issue in the Canagagigue Creek. Basically Uniroyal/Crompton claimed that they were a mystery. Most likely they were not but with Uniroyal/Crompton we often did not know when they were telling the truth or otherwise.

The February 24, 2004 K-W Record advised us that Crompton air emissions were down to a mere 100,200 kilograms per year. This was reduced 71% between 1991 and 2002. Ron Ormson of CPAC told Crompton "...this is what your peers have expected from you all along.". These emissions consisted of toluene, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide among others. Elmira residents had been breathing this crap literally for decades. Of course no scientific study ever took into consideration that both drinking water standards and air standards were totally independent of each other and did not presume multiple routes of exposure simultaneously.

In the March 27, 2004 Observer Susan Bryant and Shannon Purves-Smith both lit into Crompton big time over the "Phantom Mound". Crompton had known positively since 2002 that it did not really exist and had not verbally advised CPAC. The company had suspected it was a sham since 1998 and again had not advised us. This "mound" was a small area of high groundwater elevation off the south-west corner of Uniroyal/Crompton. The company had relied on it to at least on paper pretend that groundwater from the site was not discharging off-site to the south-west. It was yours truly who had found the small reference to it in an earlier monthly Progress Report.

We learned in March 2004 that Crompton had been hit with a $50 million fine for price fixing of rubber additives. Both the Record and Observer carried these stories.

Then we had the really big bang in mid June 2004. A solvent known as Nonene was floating on top of a waste water tank in Crompton's south-west area. It caught fire and exploded. The headline in the Woolwich observer was "Towering Inferno". More to come!

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Well first off the above title is primarily in regards to the out of town media. They were advised in advance as to the environmental significance of Tuesday's nights Woolwich Committee of the Whole meeting. They knew about the plans to expand the Settlement boundaries eastwards thus encompassing the contaminated Stroh and possibly Martin farms and the negative environmental consequences thereof. Keep in mind that while staffer Dan Kenally did briefly discuss the difference between Country Side line and Settlement Boundary it still isn't clear to me. What is clear is that the outside media (ie. K-W) did not show and Mr. Kenally's attempted explanation as to why rezoning to industrial/commercial from agricultural/residential won't lessen the remediation of contaminated soils, was weak at best.

Meanwhile our one remaining local news source the Woolwich Observer were present at this Council meeting as usual, thank goodness. The title of their story is "Woolwich looks at redrawing its redrawn settlement boundaries". Now Joe and Pat don't get too excited here. You know there's going to be a qualifier to that bold statement of appreciation towards you.

The article in today's Observer covered that item on Council's Agenda reasonably well. It mentioned a couple of interested parties in St. Jacobs who appeared to have pretty convincing arguments as to why their properties should be included within the Settlement Boundaries. They also indirectly mentioned Mr. Delmer Martin who was represented Tuesday evening by his planner Mr. Chauvin of MHBC. I was disappointed that Mr. Chauvin in addition to other reasons why his client's property should be included, did not mention the extensive flooding further north but still on the east side that occurred last June. In fact based upon the wide floodplain it would appear that any new bridge across the Canagagigue Creek in this area would have to contend with a 900 foot wide floodplain. That certainly would affect the costs for any east side Elmira By-Pass.

Now here's the criticism. Tuesday evening I was the only Delegation commenting on the ridiculousness of expanding the Settlement boundary on the east side along with the environmentally unfriendly rezoning. At the public meeting last June, Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, both a CPAC and TAG member, also raised this issue. Regardless not only was absolutely zero mentioned about the apparent Woolwich plan to solve off-site east side pollution from Uniroyal Chemical via rezoning and burying it with a new highway (Elmira By-Pass) but the lively discussion afterwards between Councillors and planner Dan Kenally was also totally ignored. Councillors are concerned if one believes their words. Yet absolutely no mention of this in today's Observer. What the hell is going on?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


I'm often torn between thinking that our local Council are either idiots or scheming masterminds. First off with six Council members perhaps a more likely scenario is both. Perhaps even individual members can be woefully uninformed on some matters but incredibly dumb like a fox on political survival strategies. Last evenings Woolwich Council meeting was an example of different behavior by the Councillors.

My Delegation was in opposition to the Staff report to Woolwich Council recommending the Boundary expansion on the east side onto contaminated lands namely the Stroh and Martin farms. There is evidence to date as well as two different professional reports stating the "probability" of contamination on the Stroh farm. The Martin farm in my opinion is also likely to be somewhat contaminated although the evidence to date is much thinner.

I criticized Chemtura/Lanxess , Conestoga Rovers and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (M.O.E.) and also took a couple of shots at Woolwich Councils' past and present. I did end with a compliment to our current Council praising them for their placing of Fish Consumption Warning signs along the Canagagigue Creek a while back despite serious opposition from the M.O.E.. To my surprise while there was a little pushback from Woolwich staff, three Council members actually spoke to the issue after I was seated and they were essentially on the same page as I was. What the heck? A skeptic, which I am after 30 years of political fun and games (skullduggery?), might think that 1) there was a crowd of citizens present and 2) there's an election coming up in ten months.

Regardless there are very few of us who don't like to be agreed with. Three Council members said the right things and in fact the fourth Murray Martin during the two minute break even agreed with me regarding the historical lack of total cleanup along Uniroyal/Chemtura's east side (pits etc.). Councillor Hahn was absent so by the time the issue was completed the only Councillor present who hadn't spoken up endorsing my concerns was Sandy Shantz.

Councillor Merlihan referred to a local environmental professional citizen who had contacted him on the matter as well expressing shock at the possible covering up of the area with employment lands and a highway ie. the Elmira By-Pass. I'm pretty sure I know who that is so I will send him an e-mail this morning.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Tonight at 7 pm. we have a Woolwich Committee of the Whole meeting in Council Chambers. There are a ton of Delegations as well as Presentations. I and three others will be Delegates in regards to the proposed and Recommended (by Staff) Elmira/St. Jacobs Boundary changes. There are only two of us speaking in regards to the Boundary changes on the east side of Elmira. Essentially the Township want to expand the current east side of Elmira further east allegedly for use as Employment lands. In other words these are intended to reduce agricultural and residential land and have it available for industrial/commercial. The other suggested use of these east side lands are for the long awaited Elmira By-Pass. My understanding is that in the past the west side of Elmira had been scheduled for those purposes.

The problems with the east side being used this way are plentiful. There is a major floodplain and Creek (Canagagigue) right through the middle of it. Construction costs for both a highway and for Industrial/Commercial buildings will be higher than on the west side. Also there is the not insignificant problem of the current and ongoing soil and sediment investigations by Chemtura/Lanxess and their consultants GHD. The proposed rezoning will lower the criteria that the Ontario M.O.E. have for remediating contaminated properties. The M.O.E. and their clients (Lanxess) have more than enough loopholes and delaying methods without Woolwich Township stepping in and both muddying the waters and giving them lesser clean up criteria.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Back on Friday December 1, I posted here with the title "Incredible Delaying Skills". Those skills are only increasing. We were originally advised that the October TAG meeting was being postponed until December in order for TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to be able to receive the preliminary east side soil tests as well as the downstream Canagagigue Creek sediment results. It was all bullshit once again. Worse yet between poorly answered inquiries and a poorly written Agenda we did not know until literally the last second that those important items had been "delayed".

Not just delayed for a month either. Another quarter of a year thank you very much. The next TAG meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2018 with a RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) a week later. CPAC all know what is coming. Regardless of the results of the soil tests on the Stroh property and or the sediment and floodplain results downstream in the Canagagigue Creek; rest assured the Site Specific Risk Assessment done by CRA/GHD and Chemtura/Lanxess will be the same old cover up. It will be the same mathematical and logical contortions of the last one that stated that only shrews and trespassers on the Chemtura property had any increased risks due to the plethora of toxic chemicals on site. These parties are in a gross Conflict of Interest position and only idiots and politicians would pretend otherwise.

We are just over a year away from the thirty year anniversary (1989-2019) of the Elmira Water Crisis. Thirty years to "hydraulically contain" the Uniroyal site. That by the way never happened. Thirty years to allegedly pump and treat the Elmira aquifers. Well they kept moving the date back so that thirty years remediation is now supposedly in 2028 (not 2019) and even that all parties now admit isn't going to happen. Extremely limited on-site source removal has taken place since 1989 and even that was simply transferred back into the ground over in the Sarnia area. Kudos go to all levels of government for their talents at delaying, denying and minimizing while people and the environment all suffer.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach discussed the failure to date in pumping the Elmira Aquifers. He stated that essentially the flow rates are unchanged appreciably. He also quoted Jason Rice (M.O.E.) as having said privately that "progress is diluted" apparently by the lack of dramatically increased pumping.

Three TAG members took turns discussing various monthly Lanxess Progress Reports since the last TAG meeting in July. Linda Dickson, Sebastian and Susan Bryant all took turns giving their impressions of the July, August and September Progress Reports.

The biennial Bio-Monitoring Report dealing with clams and leeches in the creek as it flows through the Chemtura/Lanxess property was described by Joe Kelly. Joe has a unique sense of humour which was appreciated by all present. He also was not impressed with many parts of this report although especially with its' ongoing apologetic tone that stated that the results needed to be regarded as tentative due to the number of cages of critters (clam & leeches) that were washed away by the flood on June 23/24, 2017. Joe also criticized the lack of downstream monitoring locations totalling but one as a second one was washed away.

Pat Mclean also criticized this report for its' lack of downstream monitoring. David Hofbauer indicated that the locations also are inadequate in that some of the locations are on the outside corners whereas the inside corners are more likely to have greater deposits of sediments.There was also the observation that concentrations in the critters seem to rise the year after there's been a flood such as after the 2000 and 2004 floods. The complete lack of suspended sediment measurements, contrary to Dr. Richard Jackson's strong recommendations was also pointed out. Susan Bryant advised that the long ago vaunted removal of the DDT piles on the north-west creekbank were not up to snuff. They were only partly excavated and then the area was capped. Sebastian came right out and questioned Aquatox's integrity regarding their "totally inadequate" report.

As a result of these discussions and comments TAG unanimously passed a Motion requesting that this testing be redone in its' entirety in 2018.

Susan Bryant suggested that repeated sampling at the taxpayers' expense over a period of many years was nothingh more than building sand castles at low tide on the beach. In other words as the incoming tide washes away the work, similarly floods in the Cangagigue Creek do the same thing with contaminated sediments in the creek. Hence we only know what used to be there and we haven't removed any of it from the natural environment.

Allegedly there will be provisional results of the east side soil testing ready sometime in February. We've heard that one before so we will just have to wait and see. Both Susan and Tiffany Svensson (TAG Chair) have asked both Ramin and Dwight of Chemtura/Lanxess for far better maps of the testing locations in the creek. This is in regards to the further sediment and floodplain soil sampling done this past summer and fall.

As stated previously TAG are trying to the best of their abilities but they are working with both hands tied behind their backs. This is precisely as Chemtura/Lanxess and the M.O.E. want it with assistance from elements within Woolwich Council.

Friday, December 8, 2017


Last evening at the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was a disappointment. I and the other four CPAC members present had good reason to believe that we the public would be receiving the preliminary results of soil testing on the Stroh property to the immediate east of Chemtura. Not so. More delays and rescheduling. Speaking of delays and rescheduling the latest dates for TAG and RAC meetings have been somewhat confirmed. TAG meetings are March 15/18 and April 19/18. RAC is scheduled for one week after each of those TAG meetings meaning March 22 and April 26 (tentatively). Put in perspective last night's TAG meeting was five months after the previous one (July 20/17) and the next TAG meeting is three months away. That is totally unacceptable at any time for the public to stay informed especially as our local media (Woolwich Observer) have fallen off the face of the earth in regards to Chemtura/Lanxess and our ground and surface water clean ups. RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) meanwhile only meet four times a year allegedly as their last meeting was September 7/17 and the next one isn't until March 22/18 a six month time gap. In other words we (CPAC) used to see and question Chemtura ten times a year and now a grand total of two citizens from TAG can only ask them questions twice a year. CONGRATULATIONS SANDY & MARK! You have totally destroyed even pretend public consultation here in Elmira. SHAME ON YOU!

The good news is that the TAG members are trying and are sincere. The problem is that most of them are brand new and have no idea of what the standard for meeting was over the last twenty-six years. They do not know what even partial accountability means. First and foremost it means the Ministry of Environment and Chemtura/Lanxess showing up and defending their decisions and positions. That is gone. Once again no sign of them last evening at TAG because the Township set up the Terms of Reference exactly as Chemtura wanted. It's one thing for the M.O.E. and Chemtura to boycott meetings when their tender little feelings have been ruffled. That blame is all on them. This however, whereby the Township have given them carte blanche not to attend, is disgusting.

Outside of the TAG meeting last evening we were advised that their will be a public viewing of the Uniroyal/Elmira Documentary next month. The Documentary has been in the making for at least the last four years and CPAC, Chemtura and the M.O.E. were among those interviewed. The date for the showing is January 22/18 although the venue is still tentative. More news will be forthcoming. The two persons involved (Videographers) are Michael Heitmann and Bonita Wagler and having seen a Draft of the Documentary I am very optimistic.

There will be a more detailed description of last evening's TAG meeting tomorrow in my Saturday post. Monthly Progress Reports as well as the biennial Bio-Monitoring Report were discussed in some detail last evening. TAG members have had some private meetings with Lanxess to discuss matters but that is of little significance to the public. Afterall we had huge issues getting them to keep their promises when they made them publicly and with the media present. How easy will it be now to renege on promises when there is no public record of them ever having been made in the first place? Some TAG members remain optimistic that the new owners of both Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers are an improvement. I remain skeptical especially due to the time delays and the public disappearance of both these companies.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Bullshit baffles brains. That appears to be the logic behind a number of local scams. These include the 2000-2004 (approx.) Optimization plan put forward on behalf of Uniroyal/Crompton by their consultants, Conestoga Rovers. The idea was to shift expensive on-site pumping of highly contaminated groundwater off-site where it was less concentrated (requiring less treatment) and where the taxpayers picked up half the cost of pumping and treating it. Oddly enough just about everybody at UPAC/CPAC were highly skeptical and critical of this plan. Indeed these criticisms came from both professionals and informed amateurs at CPAC meetings. Despite this the issue disappeared and only a few years later did we understand the deceit of Uniroyal and their partners in pollution, the Ontario Ministry of Environment. The M.O.E. amended the Control Order demanding full on-site containment first and then attempted to sweet talk the public into accepting it. When that failed they let the matter drop without dropping their contemptible June 21, 2000 Amending Order. Pure public manipulation and deceit.

The next bullshit is the Boundary Rationalization for Elmira. Originally the plan for expansion as well as for a By-Pass around Elmira to eliminate truck traffic, noise and fumes downtown was to go on the west side of town. Afterall the land is flat, dry and available. The east side by-pass is hilly, wet, contaminated and surprise surprise also available. Our local brain trusts think they have a win-win here. They can continue to suck up to Uniroyal Chemtura Lanxess by saving them millions of dollars in cleanup costs on the two east and south farms that they have contaminated. Firstly they will lower the cleanup criteria from residential & agricultural to industrial & commercial. Secondly they will, bury contaminated soils under thousands of tonnes of gravel and asphalt. Of course both surface and groundwater will continue to leach Dioxins & Furans and DDT and more into the Canagagigue Creek to be carried downstream. Secondly they will curry favour with the electorate by reducing downtown truck issues. The environmental contamination will once again be out of sight and out of mind.

I`m mildly offended at how brazen our Councillors are. I`m more offended at their manipulation and deceit of the public. They know how busy people`s lives are between homes, families and jobs. Hence they hide behind planning departments, experts, consultants and other allegedly unbiased professionals all looking out for the public interest. If only that`s what they were looking out for.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Conservation authority to cut down up to 14,000 ash trees in next decade to remove hazard to people". Obviously in a time when our planet and all its' inhabitants needs better air this is not a good thing. The article states that the beetle was first confirmed in 2010 in Waterloo Region. I would suggest that that is a little bit disingenuous. The emerald ash borer has been known to be in Ontario for two decades and certainly over in the Guelph area for at least fifteen to twenty years.

The hazard to people is caused by the complete mortality of all trees infected and the subsequent rotting of their roots and trunks. This makes them dangerous due to the likelihood of their prematurely crashing to the ground. The beetle was introduced to Canada courtesy of wooden shipping crates sent here from China. Thank you very much China for that. I doubt that our esteemed Prime Minister is currently discussing that very expensive item with China during trade talks. I personally saw crates from China being inspected by federal authorities over near Guelph approximately nineteen years ago.

I've been meaning to ask Woolwich Township why a number of trees in our neighbourhood along Bristow Creek Drive here in Elmira were cut down this fall. The trees while not mature were at least several inches in diameter across their trunks and several years old. They appeared healthy. Perhaps a call this morning is warranted.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


TAG or the Technical Advisory Group will be held this Thursday in Woolwich Council Chambers at 6:30 pm.. This is the first TAG meeting since last July ie. in five months. I did send a comment to Chair Tiffany Svensson advising that this was too long of a time period between meetings although in hindsight I failed to include the many reasons why.

I also sent Ms. Svensson a copy of Dr. Henry Regier's 2004 "SSRA as Applied to a Contaminated Site in Elmira, Ontario". This is a fairly in depth critique of the whole process and particularly how it can be inappropriately used for greenwashing. We here in Elmira have been through the process before and seen it's use and abuse.

We have been advised that preliminary results from soil and sediment testing will be presented on Thursday. These include soil samples (& possibly groundwater) from just inside the Stroh property line on the east side of Chemtura/lanxess. The soil results from two years ago taken just on the Chemtura side of the property line were far in excess of provincial criteria for both Dioxins/Furans and DDT. Similarly sediment readings from the bottom of the Canagagigue Creek well downstream have also been in excess of provincial criteria over the last five years. The locations to date have not been properly representative of the entirety of the creek, for self-serving purposes (ie. Chemtura/CRA) and written reports from myself and CPAC have so advised the Ministry of Environment and other parties.

TAG members have exhibited some serious efforts and some good work. Whether that will be enough to balance out professional truth benders and government supported deafness and blindness to logical and reasonable criticisms is unlikely. What is also unlikely, albeit not impossible, is that the devastating repudiations of much of Chemtura/Lanxess's and CRA's psuedo science; is going to actually result in a substantially improved cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers, the off-site east side and the Canagagigue Creek. An improvement to Chemtura/lanxess's actual property remains a goal as well despite pro business, anti-science and anti-environment Ontario legislation on the matter.

Monday, December 4, 2017


The article in the November 30, 2017 edition of the Waterloo Region Record is titled "Grassy Narrows First Nation gets mercury treatment help". Apparently residents for the last many decades who are suffering from severe effects of mercury poisoning have had to travel from the Grassy Narrows area to either Winnipeg or Kenora to receive specific mercury contamination treatment. These symptoms have included "...impaired peripheral vision, muscle weakness, impaired speech, hearing and cognitive function and numbness or stinging pain in the extremities and mouth.".

This latest pre-election promise from the Liberal government is for a local treatment system and may cost around $4.5 million. The local Chief Simon Fobister stated that "We've been requesting for this for years and years.". This environmental scandal and disgrace was initially caused by the Reed paper mill in Dryden, Ontario dumping 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the English-Wabigoon river systems in the 1960s. In Japan localized mercury pollution caused terrible suffering and the disease was referred to as Minamata disease.

Now of course let's see if this local treatment centre actually ever gets built. Promises are wind to politicians and the history of delay and avoidance regarding this environmental disaster even puts the province's treatment of Elmira, Ontario to shame. Here citizens have not suffered from a single, signature disease but have suffered and succumbed to various cancers, heart and respiratory diseases over the decades. Of course with the able assistance of our local politicians; provincial and federal politicians have been able to ignore calls for health studies which could have put pressure on Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess to clean up much more, much faster. Suggesting our local clean up is proceeding at a snail's pace is an insult to the speed and mobility of snail's.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries a very good article on the Grand River titled "A Grand challenge". This article extols the virtues of the Grand River as well as its' drawbacks. There are also a number of excellent photographs of various individuals and groups who enjoy time in and on the river.

The main problems/challenges are population growth and hence increased volumes of treated human sewage going into the Grand River. Some day I hope that we will look back and see how inherently ridiculous and damaging this method of disposal really is. This is especially so as the City of Brantford downstream gets all their drinking water from the Grand River. There are also issues with treatment Plant by-passes during large storms. Every year Sewage Treatment Plants in Waterloo Region discharge far too much either partially treated or heaven forbid untreated sewage into the Grand River and its' tributaries.

Farmland pressures contributing manure and fertilizers are a huge problem. Ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorous all contaminate the Grand River. Algal growth in the river is bad as the algae take up large quantities of oxygen needed by fish, plants and other species.

Climate change can negatively affect the Grand River both with droughts and floods at more unpredictable times of the year.

Chlorides from road salt are climbing in the Grand River. More subtle forms of pollution than the old discoloured and frothy river water are still a concern. Old industrial sites may be now closed and not contributing solvents, greases and oils as they once did but some have left a legacy of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) behind. The old Uniroyal site in Elmira is still operating and its' legacy is Dioxins & Furans combined with DDT and other hazardous compounds. Other factories, abandoned or otherwise, near the river may have left LNAPLS and DNAPLs in their subsurface which eventually dissolve and find their way into the river. These NAPLS as they are known can be both from oils and gasoline as well as solvents used in various chemical processes whether for manufacturing or even just cleaning of metal components.

This article is reasonably well balanced as it does indicate numerous upgrades to our Sewage Treatment Plants as well as to farming practices. I had two well credentialed and personally knowledgeable family members look at this article this morning. Both have studied and worked in and around the Grand River and they were reasonably satisfied that this article was neither too far optimistic nor too pessimistic. Great strides have been made but far more still needs to be done as pressures increase on the river.

Friday, December 1, 2017


Why wouldn`t concerned citizens tend to get a little aggressive with a company whose modus operandi was based upon delays and deception. Why wouldn`t or shouldn`t citizens become upset with never ending excuses and going in circles. CPAC from 2011-2015 however were always polite albeit they did begin to push hard including bluntly telling both Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment when they (CPAC) were not satisfied with their responses. This of course is in direct contravention to the claims of some liars close to Sandy Shantz. For their own self-serving purposes they agreed with Chemtura and the M.O.E. that they`d been treated ``unprofessionally``. If unprofessionally means bluntly and without undue deference then so be it. If professionally means lying constantly then I sure as hell never want to be known as a professional. Quoting a past citizen ``the suits do their death dance``. That`s the kind of ``professionalism`` we`ve had in Elmira for the last thirty years.

The July 11, 2003 Elmira Independent spoke to Crompton`s failing their fourth *Responsible Care verification attempt. The ``lack of trust from advisory committee considered a significant issue.``. Interestingly in those days Susan Bryant had a clear view of Crompton`s consultants as she stated ``we have our consultants and they have theirs.``.

Bob Burrt in the K-W Record advised that Nutrite would be attending an Environmental Appeal Board hearing in November 2003. Crompton had already filed a lawsuit against Nutrite for compensation for their ammonia cleanup costs. This was a mere fourteen years after the Elmira drinking wells were shut down and eleven years after on-site pumping to hydraulically contain Uniroyal`s toxins on their own property.

During August and September 2003 it was determined that there were still some homes and businesses using Elmira`s contaminated groundwater via private wells. Later on Woolwich passed a by-law prohibiting these private uses.

The September 27, 2003 edition of the Woolwich Observer gave a listing of the various chemicals in fish in the Canagagigue Creek. These included mercury, pesticides, DDT, Dioxins & Furans and PCBs. Uncontained groundwater was still entering the ``Gig`` from Crompton. This was in the days that the Observer routinely recognized that these were public interest issues requiring media attention.