Friday, July 27, 2018


While it's long been understood by the non-mentally deficient or ill that both LNAPLS and DNAPLS exist in the subsurface at the former Uniroyal Chemical (now Lanxess). What has been conveniently overlooked and ignored for the past thirty years are the off-site LNAPLS and DNAPLS sitting in and above the Elmira drinking water Aquifers. Even the APT coordinating committee members way back in the late fall/early winter of 1993 forgot about on-site DNAPLS and caused a major rift within APT that cost them the efforts of three excellent citizen volunteers.

This post however will focus on off-site DNAPLS both below the Nutrite property as well as below the Varnicolor property. The difference between the two is that the DNAPLS on the Nutrite property migrated westwards from the Uniroyal site. They gravity flowed along the surface of a relatively impermeable aquitard which slopes downwards from the Uniroyal site onto the Nutrite site. The DNAPLS on the Varnicolor site were introduced by both negligent, liquid waste handling as well as by intent. These chlorinated solvents are almost by definition perfect examples of DNAPLS (dense non-aqueous phase liquids) as they have a density greater than water (1.0) and they dissolve very slowly into groundwater with a specific maximum solubility.

The most common DNAPLS found in the groundwater at Varnicolor Chemical were Trichloroethylene (TCE), 1,1,1, Trichloroethane (TCA), Vinyl Chloride, Dichloroethylene (DCE), and Dichloroethane (DCA). These five chemicals were also finally publicly exposed as having entered the Municipal drinking water Aquifer beneath Varnicolor over two years ago.

Mention should also be made of the DNAPLS found just west of Varnicolor near the Elmira water tower. They were found approximately 100 feet below the ground surface in and around well OW 57-32 in 1998. Of course, as was usual, Uniroyal and the MOE never advised UPAC/CPAC about this major discovery. Yours truly found it in an old report in 2011 and brought it to CPAC's attention. These DNAPLS had Chlorobenzene in them. While they are much closer to the Varnicolor site than Uniroyal, the Varnicolor site allegedly has not had any detections of chlorobenzene on it. That is very strange as Chlorobenzene is both used as a paint solvent as well as for other industrial purposes including in the textile industry. It has also been found both behind (west) of Varnicolor as well as in the Howard Street storm drain to their immediate south. Lastly the chlorobenzene at OW57-32 could be free phase DNAPLS which possibly flowed from Uniroyal Chemical similarly as they flowed westwards onto the Nutrite (Yara) property.

LNAPLS were of course also found at the Varnicolor site floating on the water table. One of their components, toluene, has been found at great depth, all the way down to the Municipal Upper Aquifer (drinking water) courtesy of Varnicolor Chemical. The effect of these NAPLS, both DNAPL and LNAPL, is to have extended by decades the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers. Thank you Uniroyal (Lanxess), CRA and the Ontario Ministry of Environment for your single minded dedication to the interests of polluters versus to the public interest and the environment in general.

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