Thursday, January 31, 2019


Why can't bad ideas, given the boot years ago, stay dead? Ahh the answer is money. Money never rests and the opportunity to make more money blinds and deafens those so afflicted. The Woolwich Observer published a story in their Saturday December 24, 2011 edition titled "Deeming land use incompatible, Woolwich to fight proposed Union St. development." This particular bad idea was the proposed Hawk Ridge subdivision located at the apple orchard across from Sulco (Canada Colours) and very close to Chemtura Canada (now Lanxess).

Several speakers presented criticisms of the proposed subdivision to Woolwich Council four days prior to the Observer article. These included Ron Koniuch of Sulco, Ken Driedger (preacher) and myself as well. Council to their credit are not in favour of the proposed subdivision. They mention issues as far ranging as noise, odours and the chemical companies across the street namely Chemtura and Sulco.

For myself and many others the real issue is the Chemtura "Worst Case Scenario". At that time it was the potential for a devastating release of Anhydrous Ammonia. There is an actual "Kill Zone" around Chemtura which extends for hundreds of metres. This company and other chemical companies prefer to have some kind of buffers between themselves and residential neighbourhoods. Obviously a fire or explosion in the middle of the night would catch far too many people asleep in their beds and the proposed increased proximity to the company could prove fatal.

Eventually the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruled that the subdivision could not proceed based upon middle of the night noise from shunting trains on either the Chemtura or Sulco properties. It was a bizarre decision although it did stop the project at the time. Will it stand up to the next test for this inappropriate location for residential development?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries a story regarding the invasive plant species known as phragmites. The title of the story is "Toxic invader spreads its roots through watershed." Phragmites does not appear to have any natural checks to its' spread in ditches, along roadways and in wetlands. Among a variety of control measures attempted has been cutting, spraying and burning of the plants. Another common practice is to bend the reeds and drown them underwater when they are in wetland areas. The article suggests that they can grow up to six metres tall however normally they are closer to eight to ten feet versus eighteen to nineteen feet tall. Phragmites was actually used as an ornamental grass at one time before we realized how aggressively it grew and spread.

A Grand River Conservation Authority spokesperson has stated that phragmites is widespread throughout their watershed. Unfortunately it appears as if glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup is most effective at controlling the spread of the plant. Unfortunately glyphosate is under attack in lawsuits in the U.S. due to an association with cancer as stated by the I.A.R.C. or International Association for Research on Cancer. Here in Waterloo Region I have pointed out previously that its' use or possible overuse has resulted in it having the highest Method Detection Limit (25 parts per billion) of all the contaminants tested for in our drinking water. In other words the use of Roundup whether commercially or even simply on our lawns has resulted in it becoming ubiquitous in our groundwater. This Record article does mention that presently the use of Roundup is not approved in waterways which is a good thing. Even wetlands are basically the surface expression of the upper aquifer and thus chemicals sprayed in wetlands can quickly spread both horizantally and as well vertically into our drinking water aquifers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Just to be fair there are other provincial ministries which careful examination over decades will convince you are also either incompetent, corrupt, or poorly managed. Justice is one that comes to mind quickly. Interestingly these provincial ministries don't appear to either improve or get much worse regardless of which party is currently in power.

Today we'll look at the Ministry of Labour and the Workman's Compensation Board (ie. WSIB). Oh by the way I long ago nicknamed it Larry. The Ministry of Transport I call Curly and of course the Ministry of Emvironment is Moe.

Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Worker's compensation system needs overhaul, expert says". The funniest line in a non-funny story is "His report could lead to a modernizing of the way Ontario assesses workers' claims for restitution-a contentious issue today after sick or injured employees gave up their right to sue their employers more than a century ago." Yes I remember it well. There was a huge referendum and lots of media and overall explanations by government reps along with guarantees of worker input into the decision making of the Compensation Board. Bull....!

The expert Dr. Paul Demers is pulling no punches when he states that "The workers' compensation system is over 100 years old , and it hasn't kept up with the times." He also has stated that " has failed to adapt to the hazards some work[places have exposed people to."

The science behind workplaces causing cancer and other diseases has been with us for decades and even longer. It is a huge red herring pretending that simply more knowledge and more science are required. What is required is more humanity, more compassion and especially more honesty all in short supply with those in charge of our compensation and labour laws.

Monday, January 28, 2019


The bottom end of the apparent Interceptor Trench running down the approximate centre of the former Uniroyal Chemical site (now Lanxess Canada) is located on the eastern property line at an elevation of 347.75 metres above sea level (masl). The top end is located at a conservative elevation of 352.25 masl. Therefore the difference in elevation from top to bottom is approximately 4.5 metres which is about fifteen feet. Contrary to claims by Lou Almeida of GHD Consulting, pumping stations would not be required for contaminated groundwater and solvents to flow south-east over to the Stroh property.

Another claim made was that possibly the lines that have shown up on a number of satellite photos on-line (Google, Region of Waterloo GIS, Maplandia) as well as maps produced by CRA and GHD were nothing more than a footpath southwards from the old house that was once located on the Uniroyal Chemical property at the north end near Church St. My research to date is not giving that theory much credence. Among other things the timing is off as the estimate I have for removal of that house is around 1985. Even at that late date Uniroyal had been using the east side of the site for toxic waste disposal for the previous thirty years or more. They had a road which crossed a bridge on the west side of the creek property over to the east side and up the hill in order to access the pits (RPE 1-5) running for hundreds of metres southwards. Therefore everything from cars, trucks and heavy equipment would have been accessing the east side both for those pits and for IR-1 and IR-2 waste disposal areas. Therefore it begs the question why would a home at the north end of the site closer to Church St. have a pathway southwards across the roadway that was transporting vehicles as well as sludges and solid toxic wastes from time to time? One the chemical company would not have permitted it and surely the parents of the children who lived in that home would not have permitted an ongoing walkway or pathway across the property and across the vehicle roadway and then further south into the middle of an active and ongoing chemical company. Sorry but that explanation for what is more likely to be an Interceptor Trench is highly unlikely and without backup or evidence seems to be grasping at straws.

The last point is this. Most of the east side supports scrub bushes and vegetation, grasses and even some trees. Why on earth, even if there had been a pedestrian walkway back in the 1950s to the mid 1980s, would the pathway not be overgrown by now? Why would a footpath still be visible from either aerial or satellite photos? If on the other hand the visible line was the result of horizontal drilling or even a backhoe to install tile to run contaminated groundwater across the site, and especially if it was done in 1991 as was proposed by CRA and Morrison & Beatty, then I would expect some parts of it to be still visible.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


Recall that in yesterday's post I said that there were some reasonable arguments and some not so reasonable by Lanxess and GHD. I gave Lou the prize for the most inane. Well just to show that he wasn't entirely alone in his wishful thinking here are some more.

Ramin said: To determine ground surface elevations we'll take a pail of water with us and pour it on the ground to see which way it

If he'd only said that once I would chalk it up to heat of the moment, over enthusiasm. He said it two or three times. Three or four gallons of water will simply spread out perhaps over an area five or six square feet at most and then soak into the ground. Three or four hundred gallons I would expect to indicate some effects of gravity and flow towards a nearby lower lying area. I repeat this area is bare ground not asphalt or concrete permitting instantaneous flow of water downhill.

Lou said: The Stroh Drain doesn't simply drain the Stroh property. It drains several of his neighbour's properties including
properties north of Church Street.

Well the Stroh Drain is on the extreme west side of the Stroh farm right up next to the Lanxess property. The Canagagigue Creek is flowing primarily from west to east below (south) the Stroh and Martin properties. All the Stroh neighbours and farms are to the east and the ground surface flow is generally southwards into the Canagagigue Creek. They are not going to run a pipe to the far west side of the Stroh property in order to drain their property into the "Gig" which is due south of them. As far as the homes north of Church St. any of their surface drainage will be into the Canagagigue Creek where it flows through and beside Bolender Park. Lastly Lou is correct. Stroh are draining one of their neighbour's properties and that would be the only neighbour upgradient of them and who had swampland 20 metres away from their Drain namely Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess.

Lou said: The topography or ground surface elevation contours marked on Conestoga Rovers Drawing Nu. C-02 in their May 2013 report
titled "Scoped Environmental Impact Study Remediation of Former Gravel Pit Areas (GP1 and GP2)" could be inaccurate.
Therefore my interpretation of the flow of Uniroyal waste waters southwards and then eastwards onto the Stroh property could
be inaccurate.

Aside from the fairly breathtaking suggestion by a GHD and formerly Conestoga Rovers (CRA) consultant that CRA are capable of making major errors in their reports there are other considerations. First off the title of this map in question is "EXISTING CONDITIONS" and yes that title is fully capitolized. Secondly under Source Reference the map states "Topography Based On Survey Data as Provided By CRA Ltd., Updated With Latest Survey 2013-04-08." Thirdly the Stroh Drain is located within 20 metres of both Lanxess's property line and within 20 metres of Stroh's extreme west side of their property which is many hundreds of metres wide. The only reason to locate that Drain right there is because that is where the surface water from both properties (Uniroyal & Stroh) is draining to.

I have made notes of at least three other statements including one from Dwight Este suggesting that the very clear line on numerous maps is merely a footpath to or from an old house that used to be located off of Church St. and now is part of the Lanxess property. There were suggestions that the Interceptor Trench was no such thing because it could not gravity flow north to south and would require numerous pumping stations. It was also suggested that there was no motive or rationale for an Interceptor Trench after the Environmental Appeal Board turned down Uniroyal's Stay Appeal and the MOE insisted on excavation and removal of RPE-4 and RPE-5. I responded that an Interceptor Trench would explain the MOE's lack of insistence on an Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System for the east side the same as the one proposed in 1994 and operating by 1997 on the west side of the creek.

As I stated in the post yesterday there were both good arguments made, worthy of consideration, as well as some that frankly in my opinion were ridiculous unless their purpose was simply to provoke me into some sort of verbal, rude response. If that was the case then you have to ask why would they resort to those tactics if they felt that they had the honest answers and I was mistaken. Afterall they are supposed to be the professionals aren't they?

Friday, January 25, 2019


That's more or less how it felt last evening during the meeting with Lanxess Canada after the TAG meeting was over. Rather than double teamed I was on occasion triple teamed with Ramin Ansari, Lou Almeida (GHD) and Dwight Este all in various stages of uproar, dissent and denial. Oh yes I think Alan Deal of GHD also got a few words in there as well.

Shout outs must go to Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, Tiffany Svensson, and Ron Campbell. A further shout out goes to the CPAC members who showed up last evening and stayed the course. Stalwart and regular attendee Viv Delaney was joined by Dr. Dan Holt, Richard Clausi, Ron Campbell, and Sebastian who is both a CPAC and TAG member.

MOE rep Jason Rice was present and he kept strictly out of the debate until the very end when we received the old saw from Lanxess that gee they can't take soil and sediment samples from the Stroh Drain because it's not on their property. At that point I turned to Mr. Rice and asked him to order the sampling forthwith. He politely declined. It must really be nice for Lanxess having a friend you can count on when the public get on your case.

The shout out to Sebastian was for his presentation during the regular TAG meeting requesting better sampling of the "Gap" area. He criticized composite sampling versus discrete (individual) samples and he also hammered them on the shallowness of their sampling. During the meeting after the meeting he also bluntly told Ramin that while he had focused earlier on the "Gap" area which is the area of overland flow from Uniroyal/Lanxess to the Stroh property; he too wanted the Stroh Drain tested for Uniroyal's contamination.

Tiffany has on occasion been an enigma for me. She follows the idiotic and undemocratic rules put down by Woolwich Council in their brazen attempt to curry favour with Chemtura/Lanxess and the Ontario MOE. Nevertheless she appears to have found a way to permit a determined citizen with a message to speak. My hero Sandy was not present which was the best for her blood pressure. Furthermore Tiffany at a key juncture pointedly advised Lanxess that the whole purpose of the exercise was to determine if there are additional pathways for dioxins/furans, DDT and more from Lanxess into the Canagagigue Creek. The Stroh Drain is exactly such a pathway.

Bless you Ron Campbell for taking them on, on your own, outside the TAG meeting in the hall. Ron lectured Ramin, Dwight and Lou outside the meeting room about their reluctance to properly test the "Gap" and for their willingness to find different methods to delay doing the fastest and most obvious investigation of the Stroh Drain area. Straight up soil and sediment samples are the way to go. This meeting, outside the meeting, was occasioned by Lanxess reps stepping out of the room after the TAG and Sebastian discussion about the "Gap". Tiffany had advised them that they could stay for the rest of the routine TAG discussion while waiting for their, after the meeting, meeting with me or they could take a break. They took a break outside the room and Ron took them on.

If you are finding this description to be bizarre of the hoops and loops necessary to enable citizens such as Ron and I to confront and speak to those in charge of the remediation of the Uniroyal/Lanxess property, then you aren't the only one. Sandy Shantz couldn't have done a better job of mucking up public consultation unless she made her decision while under the influence of the recreational product she voted in favour of recently at a Woolwich Council meeting.

A thank you to David Hofbauer is in order as well. Finally a thank you to the majority of TAG members who stayed the course for the Ramin Ansari/Al Marshall debate. David (and Sebastian) spoke in favour of more flexible and reasonable rules allowing outside experts and citizens alike to address TAG.

The most inane argument award goes to Lou Almeida. Oh my God but he sanctimoniously advised us that interviews with long time Uniroyal employees never indicated that large quantities of Uniroyal waste waters pumped over to the east side pits were then flowing southwards and discharging onto the Stroh property. Firstly they likely couldn't see it taking place four or five hundred metres away from where they were working and secondly if they like their jobs were they going to complain about it? Hardly.

Richard Clausi advised me after the meeting that at times Lanxess were baiting me. This I understood. Some of their arguments and disagreements were reasonable and some were not. Ramin got a little snotty late in the meeting demanding that I take the soil samples on the Stroh property. Despite that he still deserves credit for the meeting after the meeting taking place. Richard also advised that they clearly do not want to know or to admit the obvious. This is what Ron was getting at outside the meeting room. Do the testing properly and then if you haven't gamed the process you should have your answers.

I felt I held my own well against superior numbers. That said citizens should never underestimate the value in having support from their peers. Thank you again both CPAC attendees as well as assistance from TAG.

Do I expect an immediate turnaround in the four year delay so far by Chemtura/Lanxess to the discovery of the Stroh Drain and east side contamination? I do not but last evening put both Lanxess and the Ministry of Environment on notice that citizens are not going to stand for only minor off-site cleanup of Uniroyal's most toxic legacy. Downstream life, human and otherwise, deserves better.

P.S. Taking the analogy of poking an elephant in the butt with a sharp stick a little further...yes one must be aware of the possibility of getting crapped on as a result.

Thursday, January 24, 2019


Does anybody want to bet that my favourite pair of backdoor manipulators and lovers of private backroom discussions and deals were involved in the planning for the creekbank stabilization and partial small island removal in the Canagagigue creek? To be true to form that would have meant that they were working outside the confines and approval of CPAC while cutting a deal with the polluter. How upset Chemtura must have been in 2014 when myself and the new CPAC blew that deal out of the water with revelations of new contamination that had left the Uniroyal/Chemtura site and was flowing back into the Canagagigue further downstream. That of course is the problem with a tiny group usurping authority and making deals without the wisdom of a larger group of better informed and more knowledgeable and honest citizens.


Both Lanxess Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP), disaffectionately known as MOE would like to wrap things up here in Elmira within the next couple of years. Yes they most likely will have to extend their hoped for minimal Canagagigue Creek "cleanup" into the 2021 warm weather season however this year they are probably hoping to have at least the overall scope and all the issues and locations (areas of concern) identified. All of that is complicated via Sandy Shantz's manipulation of public consultation. Lanxess have been put into a difficult position with the severity and lengths to which Woolwich Township went to satisfy both Chemtura and the MOE's crying about the last CPAC or Chemtura Public Advisory Committee.

They claim that CPAC were mean to them. CPAC did not afford them the respect and deference they felt their money, paid for experts and status demanded. So Sandy went overboard to the point that other than her personally appointed friends and colleagues, nobody else is allowed to say a peep at the public TAG meetings if you can believe it. No Delegations, no questions and no comments. That makes a joke of so called public consultation and even Lanxess are now seeing that that is counter-productive. They just know that at some point they are going to have to defend their including all stakeholders and all citizens in the Risk Assessment process surrounding the Canagagigue Creek and they haven'y got a leg to stand on.

At the same time Lanxess, the MOE, and Woolwich Township are scared ........ that all their past chickens are going to come home to roost. Sure the idea was to stop the flow of dioxins/furans, DDT and more from the old Uniroyal site into the creek. Significant efforts were made on site back in 2005 and 2006. Regardless those Persistent Organic Pollutants continue to discharge into the creek and are found in the fish, the creek sediments and the creekbank and floodplain soils all the way down to the Grand River. Perhaps they are found even further down the Grand although careful and selective sampling (i.e. zero sampling) has to date not confirmed that. But what about the old municipal landfills in Elmira along the banks of the Canagagigue? The Bolender Landfill, the M2 landfill and the First St. Landfill are all old municipal landfills which all cheerfully accepted industrial wastes from Uniroyal Chemical, Varnicolor Chemical, Borg Textiles and every other industrial manufacturers nearby. Those have all been leaking for decades and maybe the three guilty parties (Township, province & polluter) hope that the bulk of the contaminants are all gone before testing ever happens.

Meanwhile tonite in Woolwich Council Chambers Item 4 on the Agenda relates to one of the likely paths for Uniroyal Chemical's contaminated waste waters to have flowed over onto the Stroh property to the east. That area has become known as the "Gap" because of CRA, GHD, Chemtura, Lanxess and the MOE's successful efforts to date to avoid properly testing it. Perhaps if TAG, CPAC and the public began referring to the area as the "coverup" it might better get the message across. I expect some lively discussion and debate this evening both from TAG members as well as likely afterwards between myself and Ramin of Lanxess. Credit goes to Ramin as he appears to have grasped both the necessity and the opportunity to broaden discussions beyond council appointed citizens to decades long stakeholders and environmental activists unpopular with Sandy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Ahh history isn't it grand? But for language and the written word so much more would be lost than already is and has been on an ongoing basis over the last thirty years. The Elmira Independent carried a story on December 1, 2011 titled "Ministry to add monitoring wells on Varnicolor site". It turns out that twenty-one years after I blew the whistle on Varnicolor Chemical that the Ontario MOE finally got around to partially fulfilling their promise to examine the deeper soils and groundwater on the then 62 Union St. site in Elmira.

Jane Glasssco of the MOE admitted that she did not know why it had taken so long for these deep wells to be ordered. She also admitted that there had been "lulls" in the study and remediation of the site. She stated that all she had was the files because the staff involved had all retired. Ron Campbell among other CPAC members was unimpressed. He said that it was obvious twenty years ago that a deep study should have been done.

Well with the advantages of hindsight I can tell you that the deep wells consisted of two whole deep wells on the site. They have detected a half dozen of Varnicolor's different solvents all the way down to the municipal aquifer. Unbelievably NDMA which had been found in shallow soils and groundwater on the site had been analysed for exactly once by 2016 when the public Risk Assessment was held for the site. This site was and is one of the biggest cover ups organized by the Ontario MOE. That was done as part of the "sweetheart" agreement with Uniroyal Chemical on October 7, 1991. Keep in mind these deep groundwater results were finally made public in May 2016, twenty-six years AFTER MOE incompetence and corruption were first exposed via the Varnicolor Chemical saga.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


It's been my experience that those with the gold make the rules ie. The Golden Rule. Hence it is no surprise that the "rules" are biased in favour of those who made them. Despite this, practitioners of this art form , namely politicians, are rarely satisfied with favourable rules alone. Oh no they prefer to tilt the playing surface even more in their favour. Pat McLean is a fine example of this gamesmanship. As a councillor she was a "control freak" quoting Susan Bryant. Pat was all about control. As Chair of the old CPAC all data flowed through her first. If something was submitted to CPAC that didn't support her position, well, maybe it would never see the light of day. None of this was I aware of back in the 1900s and 2000s. There are a hundred ways when you are in charge of the Agenda, the Minutes, setting meetings, distributing documents, passing on communications etc. that a less than scrupulously honest person can affect the outcome. All that is required is the will to behave so.

This Thursday evening at 6:30 pm. we have the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting. Among other items on the Agenda is the "Gap" data review and detailed discussion. I know that TAG member David Hofbauer has spoken to issues with composite soil sampling in the past and hopefully will again on Thursday. I also, based upon my written submission to TAG, hope to see discussion surrounding the other crucial issues either on or affecting the Stroh and Martin properties. These include Interceptor Trenches, the steel pipe discharging groundwater into the Stroh Drain, the Stroh Drain itself, the relocation of GP1 from the north-east side of the high ground or ridge on the Lanxess property to the south-west side and finally of course is the Gap area discussions already highlighted in the Agenda.

I still expect to speak directly with Ramin Ansari of Lanxess on many of these issues at the end of the TAG meeting because despite the best efforts of TAG members it is highly probable that all points, data and conclusions will not be fully mentioned, discussed or explored. Between these two approaches I am hopeful that after more than a four year wait, stakeholders, CPAC and the public will have their day to discuss all these crucial issues. Why has it taken four years you ask for this conversation and public consultation to take place? Simply go back to paragraph one and the discussion about who makes the rules. Sandy Shantz came riding in at the beck and call of the Ontario MOE and Chemtura in 2015 to save them from having to address these issues. Honest, public consultation has been shamefully undermined by Sandy and other Woolwich councillors, some by intent and some by ignorance.

Monday, January 21, 2019


O.K. first off that title is an exaggeration. I expect that this latest psuedo/junk science from CRA/GHD firstly is not illegal as much as immoral or unethical or at the very least sketchy. Secondly I also doubt that it's anywhere near the worst that they have done. I've been doing some on-line research and so far it appears to me that they have simply borrowed a methodology that may indeed serve its intended purpose which is to reduce laboratory costs for specified environmental investigations. It's the specifics of course which are the problem. Put another way, the devil is in the details.

In the reports that I've found since I went looking yesterday it seems as if there are particular instances where the methodology of composite sampling is accepted, albeit with some skepticism and with a number of conditions. Composite sampling is what GHD have been doing over the last few years regarding revelations raised in 2014 by the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC), now known as the Citizens Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). Instead of for example taking half a dozen discrete soil samples say ten metres apart and testing all six for DDT and Dioxins/Furans; our intrepid consultants and savers of the polluters funds, takes these six samples and mixes them together, extracts one homogenized sample and simply tests the one sample. This presumably reduces lab costs to 1/6 of what they would otherwise be. Yes you are giving up valuable information such as where exactly are the highest concentrations (ie. "hot spots") but if your goal is more about reduced costs than greater knowledge and accuracy in characterizing contaminant concentrations, then voila!

Secondly there may very well be other benefits to misusing this methodology. David Hofbauer, one of the more technically advanced if not the only technically advanced TAG (Technical Advisory Group) member, stated at a past public TAG meeting that composite soil sampling is a method of averaging high concentrations of contaminants with low concentrations and thus hiding the higher concentrations from sight. This indeed is what has been done with the totally pathetic two composite soil samples taken in the "Gap" area of the Lanxess and Stroh property. The location of at least one of those two composite soil samples known as SS-20 and SS-21 is beyond ridiculous and I have to assume is not incompetence but was done intentionally. Shame on GHD and shame on lanxess for permitting it unless of course Lanxess really don't know the scam that has been pulled. If they don't now then they will on Thursday provided Ramin Ansari doesn't get cold feet and renege on his written offer to me to speak publicly together in Woolwich Council Chambers after the formal TAG meeting.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


I pulled this article out of the Ontario Out of Doors magazine Jan.-Feb. 2019 edition. The story is titled "Pollution threatens Ontario's waters" and is a summary of the Environmental Commissioner Diane Saxe's report titled "Back to Basics: 2018 Environmental Protection Report".

We are advised by Ms. Saxe that raw sewage overflowed into southern Ontario waters 1,327 times from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 and the majority of those overflows came from 57 outdated municipal sewer systems that combine sewage with storm water. Ms. Saxe's states "...the government has still not required those municipalities to do everything reasonable to stop their overflows".

Ms. Saxe also takes aim at the proposed Bill 66 and its' negative implications for the Clean Water Act. After referencing the Walkerton drinking water crisis she stated "This is no time for the government to turn its back on source water protection."

Ms. Saxe also expressed disbelief at the state of agricultural runoff in Ontario. She said "The government does not do enough to stop agricultural runoff into freshwater, a major contributor to toxic algae." Part of the problem is the spreading of both fertilizers and human bio-solids on frozen ground and snow.

Ms. Saxe also took aim at the quantity of road salt still being used in the province which in many cases does not contribute to public safety.

Finally the loss of both wetlands and woodlands is a major concern and instead of lip service, must be reversed for the health of both people and the environment.

Ms. Saxe believes that "Small changes can better protect Ontario's water, wetlands, woodlands and wildlife". She stated that her report "...offers sensible solutions. Many cost relatively little and would yield big rewards." Clearly successive Ontario governments have not paid attention.

Friday, January 18, 2019


Over pizza and beer last evening a half dozen of us debated the merits of attempting to communicate a difficult and complicated environmental position incorporating topography, hydrology, hydrogeology, sub-surface construction works, map reading and persistent organic pollutants. The environmental position is in regards to the Stroh property on Lanxess's east side primarily although it includes the Martin property to the south as well. The problem of course is that figuratively speaking I will have both hands tied behind my back as well as duct tape over my mouth while attempting to communicate these issues. That is directly due to Sandy Shantz and her perverted version of public consultation. Sure she's been lied to by that pair on TAG but she'a attended CPAC in the past and RAC and TAG often enough to know that what she has done for the MOE and Chemtura/Lanxess is counter-productive. It merely reinforces the understanding that they are corrupt, self-serving bodies.

Can you imagine my surprise when Lanxess have written me suggesting that if the stilted TAG process next Thursday January 24, 6:30 pm. in Council Chambers makes dialogue between us impossible then we will meet immediately after the meeting and talk directly. Keep in mind that it was the TAG Chair who asked me to provide input on this matter because it was myself, CPAC and a professional consultant four years ago who raised this issue in the first place. This dialogue will include myself and Sebastian and as well Dr. Holt and one or two other CPAC members will be present. I have responded in writing to Lanxess and agreed to this if TAG can not see their way to discussing the matter in an honest and forthright manner. That Lanxess are willing to do this speaks well of them. If TAG under the direct control of Sandy Shantz choose not to then it's all on her.

I have been asked to provide in advance all the data, evidence, maps etc. to TAG so that I may sit quietly in the gallery and admire the efforts of TAG members as they most likely are overwhelmed by the efforts of the former Conestoga Rovers now known as GHD. I have promised a written response to TAG's detailed requests by today and will do so. Most of the TAG members plus Chair have my respect and admiration for the difficult job they are doing but they too are ill served by the reactive and angry conditions put on them by petty politicians in response to legitimate citizen criticism.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Water wells closed in Cambridge following jet fuel spill on Hwy. 401". Eric Hodgins is quoted as saying "We've shut off any wells that potentially could be impacted, and our system is free and clear of this spill". O.K. fair enough. I can believe that. Groundwater moves slowly and certainly one heck of a lot slower than surface water therefore the groundwater supplying the drilled wells on the north and east sides of Cambridge is not yet impacted by a huge spill of jet fuel onto and into the ground and nearby surface water of Mill Creek. It will of course be impacted eventually. Right now that groundwater is impacted and has been so for decades by spills that are thirty to fifty years old from sites such as the former Ciba-Geigy plant.

Secondly Mr. Hodgins is correct in shutting off any wells "...that potentially could be impacted...". As Dr. Gail Krantberg advised CPAC here in Elmira six years ago, any contaminants released into the natural environment will migrate whether by soil vapours, dissolved in groundwater, dissolved in surface water or even by air. Pumping of wells increases the groundwater gradient towards the wells thus speeding up the migration of contaminants towards them.

At the end of the story Mr. Hodgins suggests that "It's a material that's lighter than water, so it will float on the surface and doesn't dissolve into the water". Ooh boy but that's a hard one to swallow. Oils, gasolines and fuels in general (diesel, jet fuel etc.) are simply chains of hydrocarbons (Carbon & Hydrogen). Most fuels do float on water because their density is less than one, the density of water. They are therefore called LNAPLS for Light Non Aqueous Phase Liquids versus chlorinated hydrocarbons such as chlorobenzene, trichloroethylene etc. which have chlorine that is heavier than water thus causing these DNAPL (Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquids) chemicals to sink in water.

Regardless of whether they float or sink they do indeed dissolve in water albeit slowly over decades. That is why the Elmira Aquifers have chlorobenzene dissolved in them (DNAPLs) as well as Benzene and Toluene (LNAPLs) which are typical components of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel etc. I think a clarification is in order for that statement Mr. Hodgins.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


It is both a world wide and a local issue. The active ingredient in Roundup is Glyphosate and both a U.S. jury and the International Agency on Research on Cancer (IARC) say that Glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) however is not convinced. PMRA has refused to set up an independent panel to review the science on Glyphosate according to Friends Of The Earth (FOE) Canada and others. Glyphosate has long concerned me because it has the highest Method Detection Limit (MDL) of all the chemicals tested in our drinking water by the Region of Waterloo. A 25 part per billion (ppb) MDL is frankly ridiculous and unacceptable.

FOE have issued an on-line briefing for concerned citizens. In the fall of 2017 FOE and seven other scientists and groups filed a Notice of Objection with the PMRA over their decision to reregister Glyphosate for fifteen years in Canada. Those objections have all been dismissed by the PMRA.

Monsanto are the manufacturers of Glyphosate and currently are under criticism for documents known as the Monsanto Papers. These are documents allegedly showing a path of deceit and collusion in regards to the company's handling of health concerns about their products. Two U.S. lawyers who were involved with a multi million dollar lawsuit against Monsanto will be in Toronto at the end of this month to discuss both their and Canadian concerns regarding Roundup and Glyphosate.

To me a fifteen year reregistration seems ridiculous for a product that has any possible negative health effects at all much less being on the IARC's list.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


There are some good people trapped within a stinking process. The question of course is whether or not to agree to undemocratic or even simply stilted, awkward terms and conditions artificially produced by democratically elected (sort of), albeit self-serving politicians. These self-serving politicians are all about their support from the big shots in Woolwich Township. These politicians have always used their elected positions to assist the big corporate polluters, whether past or present, such as Safety-Kleen (Breslube) and Lanxess (Uniroyal/Crompton etc.).In return the big shots help them.

I have received two slightly differing versions of the conditions for me to participate in next Thursday's Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting. People involved are asking for my input which should hardly be a surprise based upon my knowledge and experience regarding all facets of the Elmira and downstream environmental problems. That said they want my input on their terms. Wow! Isn't that just so typical of what has passed for public consultation in Elmira ever since the inception of UPAC in January 1992.

Susan Rupert advised APT not to participate in this orchestrated and filled with Uniroyal supporters committee. APT members Susan Bryant and Sylvia Berg weren't going to miss this opportunity however. Sylvia shortly afterwards ran for mayor thinking that as a self-proclaimed vice-president of APT she could win. It wasn't to be and in hindsight I doubt that she would have been any worse than the litany of pathetic mayors afterwards, including our present and recent past mayors.

I can see a way to make this work but it will depend upon some minor compromise by both sides. It will also depend upon input I receive from trusted CPAC advisers Thursday evening, however in the final analysis the decision will solely be mine as I'm the one who has extremely relevant and important information that TAG are interested in. The process is corrupt, however all the participants are not and there are some good ones at TAG. Regardless of my decision whether to participate, as always I will provide all the data and evidence both to the honest and the dishonest parties.

Monday, January 14, 2019


97.5% . That was the figure we were advised by Steve Quigley of CRA back in 1994. Allegedly 97.5% of all the contaminants entering the Canagagigue Creek from Uniroyal waste pits and lagoons came from Uniroyal's south-west quandrant. That figure later was lowered to 95% but regardless it was nonsense then and it's nonsense now.

A small part of RPW-5 and all of TPW-2 were allegedly the sole repositories of free phase DNAPL back in the early 1990s. They were partly excavated in late 1993. That too was nonsense as far as being the sole repositories of DNAPLs.

GP-1 and GP-2 supposedly were the highly contaminated low lying areas where Uniroyal's overland flow of contaminated waste waters ended up. GP-1 was excavated and capped in 2013 and 2014 and GP-2 was capped only. It turns out however that GP-1 was probably relocated on maps by Chemtura to a location that was a) less contaminated and b) further from both the "Gap" area on their site as well as further from the lowest lying area on the Stroh property, most likely the repository of a "sink" of persistent organic pollutants (dioxins/furans, DDT, PCBs etc.).

During the air fumigations in Elmira, CPAC and the public were led in circles by Uniroyal for three years while they fixed this production process or that in search of the cause of the odours and worse. Diacetyl was often blamed as the culprit as were other individual processes. It was mostly a case of Uniroyal looking busy and cleaning up the easiest odours first rather than getting right to the heart of the problem which was their wastewater treatment system. More red herrings.

The December 2018 and January 2019 excavations at the north end of the Stroh farm by the cemetery are also a red herring. Of course just like GP-1 and GP-2 they are contaminated with Dioxins and DDT etc. however they again are a cheaper, more accessible and less contaminated substitute for the Gap area, the "sink" and the Stroh Drain itself.

The game goes on and our local authorities whether municipal or provincial allow it. May I live long enough to see serious polluters routinely sent to prison for their crimes against people and the natural environment.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries a story titled "Ford greeted with jeers by protesters in Kitchener". I am heartened by citizens both young and old standing up and saying no to provincial politicians who richly deserve to be tarred and feathered prior to being kicked out of office. That cheerfully said I am also pleased and frankly surprised by the unanimous vote taken by Waterloo Region councillors who have voted not to accept exemptions allowed in Bill 66 that would permit weakening of both the Clean Water Act and the Greenbelt Act. These changes would circumvent planning protections that protect our natural environment as well as directly protecting the health and lives of our citizens. Waterloo Regional Council constantly flip flop in their protection of the powerful and influential as well as of the status quo, think Waterloo Regional Police and their treatment of female officers; but then turn around and understand the importance of protecting green space, limiting urban sprawl through infilling and by at least protecting some of our drinking water from further industrial damage.

Premier Ford attended a fund raising dinner at Bingeman's in Kitchener last evening. His director of media relations responded to the Record's request for comment by stating that the sold out dinner was a clear sign the government is "moving in the right direction as it continues to take steps to make life more affordable for families across the province." Wow! I would suggest that Ford's director of media relations comments are a clear sign that the government of Ontario hasn't a leg to stand on in regards to their proposed Bill 66 and surely do not want to debate or discuss it publicly. A sad commentary on the effects of a majority government folks of whatever party but most especially of this party (ie. Conservative).

Friday, January 11, 2019


Back in 2011 I sent in a formal request for a review of public consultation in regards to Uniroyal/Chemtura here in Elmira. Both the Record and the Observer published the news of this request. The Elmira Independent published it on June 2, 2011 in an article titled "Marshall pushes for removal of dioxins" and the Woolwich Observer published it on June 4, 2011 in an article titled "CPAC to look into Marshall's call for dioxin cleanup."

These newspaper articles occurred after I had attended Woolwich Council as a Delegate suggesting that the cleanup of GP-1 and GP-2 in Chemtura's south-east corner was long overdue. In fact it was finally started in 2013 and finished in 2014. Regarding the request for review of public consultation, that went to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and was a complete dud. The ECO apparently had little interest in public consultation and or no time or funding to pursue the matter which was unfortunate. The time will come when Elmira's environmental cleanup will be publicly and loudly held up as how not to remediate both ground and surface water contamination. It will also be held up to scrutiny in academic and other professional circles as how not to conduct public consultation.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Well done to Bob Jonkman and other locals who have responded against the Ford government's proposed Bill 66. Mr. Jonkman spoke to Woolwich Council last Tuesday evening and advised that Woolwich Township should avoid the proposed exemptions to protections such as the Clean Water Act. You know it would have to be a Conservative government rediscovering both their inherent environmental stupidity and their reckless courage who would attempt to turn back the clock on the Clean Water Act nearly nineteen years after the man made Walkerton disaster.

The Woolwich Observer's Editorial mentions the Koebel brothers by name as being responsible for contrivances that both caused and exacerbated the disaster. They are correct of course. The Ontario Ministry of Environment's (MOE) major negative contributions not withstanding there were also local politicians who did what all politicians do best and that was to hide behind the MOE as well as municipal staff. Heaven forbid that the open secret of the alcoholism of Walkerton water staff should ever have been a reason for the mayor or council to step in and protect the people.

Congratulations again to Mr. Jonkman and let's see what our somewhat new Woolwich Council will do in regards to being allowed to bypass both the Greenbelt Act and the Clean Water Act. I'm even curious to see if supposedly Mennonite Woolwich Township embraces local retail marijuana stores. Our regional police chief Mr. Larkin is already singing a different tune about the "devil weed" now that it's been legalized.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


He lives in Guelph and worked for Water Survey of Canada for his entire career. He has met numerous GRCA and MOE personnel over the decades but he has absolutely never attended a single public UPAC or CPAC meeting in his life. Nor does he have any training or experience with contaminant hydrogeology whether in groundwater or surface water. Yes normal components of surface water including DOC, TOC, sediment loading, ph, temperature he has dealt with. Perhaps he has some knowledge of nitrates and nitrites in surface water. Regarding Uniroyal Chemical and all their successors he knows less than zip and it shows clearly. Despite this he has taken it upon himself to rudely comment on almost every single posting here over the last year. I long ago put him under comment moderation due to his ignorant and rude personal comments towards myself and my friends. Following is his last comment regarding yesterday's post:

"Why doesn't CPAC, TAG and Alan Marshall hire your own Consulting firm and give them a mandate of where and what to sample and what kind of budget and timeframe that they have to do it in and direct them accordingly to get you the answers you would hope for. Oh I forgot this is all on private property and as such Lanxess goes with GHD under directions of MECP. Thus the answer is right there so just except what is being done and at a cost not borne by Elmira citizens including Alan Marshall."

That comment is one of his less offensive ones. First off the cost is being borne by Elmira citizens including me. Secondly we are not obligated to accept junk science or psuedo science from long co-opted bureaucracies. The term is regulators who have been "captured" by the industries they are allegedly regulating. We pay provincial taxes which fund the Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) better known as the MOE. Why should I or TAG or CPAC have to pay a second time when the MOE have a mandate to protect both human health and the environment? CPAC have on at least three occasions hired consultants to do work expressly because the MOE's work was so shoddy or biased. This included Dr. Gail Krantzberg, Peter Gray and MBN Environmental Consulting. The money came from either regional or municipal programs. Past CPAC's have done the same when funds were available. Finally the MOE do have the legal right to go onto private property to investigate toxic contaminants that affect the public negatively. They always have had that right.

In regards to other criticisms whether published or not let me add that yes I am more than qualified to both comment and criticize so called professionals who are bought and paid for by polluting companies. That includes government professionals who are co-opted due to their past sweetheart deals with industry in order to hide government culpability over the decades. My criticisms are based upon generally accepted hydrogeological principles and science. I point out specific comments and claims by consultants that have absolutely no science behind them and that are consistently in conflict with published scientific reports and papers. Unlike yourself I do my homework and my due diligence. Your ignorance on these matters is outstanding but your rude opinions on the same matters with zero direct knowledge or experience is appalling.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


To the best of my knowledge there is no gold or diamonds in Elmira, at least in the sub-surface that is. Our well off citizens would have their gold and diamonds above ground. I do wish however that our Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) would take to heart the methodologies used by commercial gold or mining consortiums. That said there is of course a minor problem here. In Elmira our "gold" and "diamonds" would translate into being dioxins and DDT. Some of the techniques are similar however between the two. Mining consortiums don't come to Elmira looking for gold and diamonds and remediation consultants and engineering firms do not go to the Congo, Alaska or other well known rare mineral areas looking for dioxins and DDT. That is where the similarities end.

CRA and GHD who bought them out are allegedly looking for the motherlode of dioxins and DDT. It would be nice if they were also looking for the PCBs that have shown up in the last couple of years. This motherlode is discharging year after year into the Canagagigue Creek and being transported downstream into the Grand River. Unlike mining companies however, CRA/GHD have a new technique. They use blindfolds and ear muffs as the major part of their exploration method. By refusing to either look or listen to informed, honest and sincere citizens such as CPAC, their words, and their documents, these consultants are doing what their clients want which is NOT to find the motherlode of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as DDT, dioxins/furans, PCBs, mercury etc. This will save their clients many millions of dollars in cleanup costs and they and the MECP (MOE) will continue to allow these dangerous compounds to damage the health of citizens, wildlife and the natural environment.

Ramin Ansari, four years after CPAC brought the Stroh Drain to the attention of Chemtura, the MOE, Woolwich Township and the public, has taken a couple of baby steps. Last September he spoke to myself and Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach of TAG directly, after the formal meeting was over. This was primarily about the alleged Interceptor Trenches although the Stroh Drain and its' significance was also discussed.At the last RAC meeting in December 2018 he suggested that further discussions should take place and TAG Chair, Tiffany Svensson suggested that the January 24, 2019 meeting was the appropriate time and place. We will shortly see if this is just more of the same nonsense and time wasting or the real thing. I am always hopeful. It would also be an incredible shock to actually have the MOE publicly on board with CPAC members rather than their business as usual behind closed doors with polluting companies.

Monday, January 7, 2019


Ooh they are smart. They are masters of manipulation and deception. Sleight of hand is their stock and trade. Wave your hand over here while your other hand pulls the hidden strings. Intentionally make errors and mistakes. Let amateurs which you have hand picked fall into your traps. Those traps include arguing with you about these various errors, typos, mislabels on Figures such as scales that are off by hundreds of metres. It's all grist for the mill. Set up your "investigations" to achieve the results that you want. Have pretend public consultation that actually removes the input from the most technically competent and honest local citizens. Ron Campbell, Graham Chevreau, Dr. Henry Regier and myself were the technical folks behind CPAC with the assistance of David Marks (hydrogeologist), the other CPAC and SWAT members with other professional help from consultants such as Dr. Gail Krantzberg and Peter Gray.

Yes the east side investigation of the Stroh farm was a stinker. Careful choosing not only of which parameters to test for combined with the more important choice of which parameters NOT to test for was crucial. They avoided testing for PCBs and Dioxins/Furans in the majority of their deeper test pits. Dioxins/Furans were tested for in surficial soils where they have been most exposed to sunlight, rain, wind and even major floods further south on the low lying east side. Let's not forget that those east side Stroh farm soils have been regularly tilled for years further allowing the either air migration or breakdown of Uniroyal toxic chemicals in the soil."Errors" such as allowing the most heavily contaminated deeper soil samples in test pit TP-OW36-5(R)-A & B to greatly exceed the laboratory holding times prior to testing were helpful.

CPAC members including myself have been advising that the real area of deposition of persistent organic pollutants is in the lowest lying area of the Stroh farm on the east side of the Stroh Drain. The elevation is 345 metres above sea level and the vast bulk of both surface and ground water flow has been towards this area. Indeed the Stroh Drain being as deep as it is would have induced local groundwater to flow towards it. To date there has not been so much as a single soil sample, shallow or deep, taken in this area or for that matter in and around any part of the Stroh Drain.

The "Gap" area is the likeliest area where most contaminated surface water crossed from Uniroyal/Chemtura over to the Stroh farm. CRA, GHD, Chemtura and Lanxess have consistently avoided testing that area from outright refusal in 2015 to shabby composite sampling in 2017 of two areas labelled as SS-20 and SS-21. SS-20 was particularly shabby as it intentionally incorporated significant areas of higher ground where contaminated surface water would not be flowing. SS-21 meanwhile via composite sampling, otherwise known as diluting the bad with the better, allegedly had a reading of 6.97 dioxin TEQ (Toxic Equivalency). That is three one hundredth of one percent less than the criteria of 7 that is supposed to be used for soil samples within 30 metres of surface water (ie. Stroh Drain). Also keep in mind that I repeat exactly zero soil testing has taken place IN AND AROUND THE STROH DRAIN beside Lanxess's south-east corner of their site.

The beat goes on. Professionals have been co-opted not to shed light on environmental problems but to mask them in deception and confusion. They are winning because they have both money and local political support on their side. People and the environment suffer as always.

Saturday, January 5, 2019


Politicians are so amazingly shortsighted. They "achieve" for themselves a decision they wanted knowing full well it brings harm to others and then they think oh well they'll get over it and eventually forget it. That is both shortsighted and stupid. CPAC are the reason why that Record article titled "Cleanup launched after Elmira chemical factory taints farm next door" ever came to be. CPAC are the reason why that superficial cleanup ever happened. CPAC, as in the Citizens Public Advisory Committee, are the reason why there have been Delegations to Woolwich Council and RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) regarding Interceptor Trenches, the Stroh Drain and the "Gap" which is the area that Chemtura/CRA so studiously avoided testing in 2015. Woolwich Council nastily and with malice got rid of the last CPAC which had been appointed by the previous council specifically to stir the pot and get the Elmira cleanup on track. CPAC did all that and we are still here and we have not forgotten you Murray, Larry, Scott, Mark and Sandy.

Toxic waste pits RPE 1-5 were located within a few metres of the Stroh property line and farm. Toxic waste pits BAE-1, RB-1 and RB-2 were located directly beside and touching the Stroh property line. And the Ontario Ministry of Environment held their noses, closed their eyes and covered their ears. Perhaps they heard the same stories that Elmira citizens heard of envelopes of cash being delivered by Uniroyal managers to Mr. Earl Stroh at Christmas time each year for damages to his crops on the east side. Perhaps they went along with ongoing reparations to that family while some members' health suffered.

The depth of excavation we are advised is 15 centimetres or 5.9 inches. That is less than a farce or a joke. It is simply to pacify public outcry from CPAC and knowledgable TAG members. To date there has been zero examination of either the sediments in the bottom of the Stroh Drain or the soils in and around it. There has been zero testing of the surface water in the Stroh Drain. There has been zero unbiased and independent examination for the alleged Interceptor Trenches diverting contaminated groundwater from Lanxess to the Stroh and Martin properties and then back into the Canagagigue Creek.

All of these issues are relevant to the never ending and ongoing discharge of Dioxins/furans, DDT, PAHs, solvents, lindane and possibly PCBs into the Canagagigue Creek and the proposed Risk Assessment and likely sham "cleanup" to follow.

Friday, January 4, 2019


If only all the other broken promises over the past thirty years were as minor as this one. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following excellent article with colour photograph titled "Cleanup launched after Elmira chemical factory taints farm next door." The article suggests that the (superficial and probably inadequate-my words) cleanup will be completed by January 11, one week from today. Of course both TAG, CPAC and the public were promised the excavations would be completed by the end of 2018 so they really haven't missed by much assuming we don't get hammered with a dandy blizzard or worse.

Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach is the Citizens Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) representative on TAG (Technical Advisory Group). Sebastian in consultation with CPAC was the only member who could stomach sitting on this Woolwich Council appointed committee back in July 2015 due to council's disgusting behaviour. Sebastian has properly pointed out that Lanxess's excuses in this article that wind or rain moved toxic chemicals onto the Stroh farm are "very self-serving". Those words speak volumes about the behaviours of the various corporate owners over the last thirty years. Toxic waste pits were located within a few metres of the Stroh farm with some literally on the property line. We citizens in Elmira heard stories of envelopes with cash in them going to the senior Mr. Stroh decades ago due to crop damage along his property line.

One minor error suggests that 565 tonnes were of fill and waste were most recently excavated in 2009. This may well be regarding waste pit RPE-3 (2009) or it could be about the most recent excavations in 2013 and 2014 in the area further south known as GP-1 (Gravel Pit 1).

Mr. Stroh advises us that "I grew all kinds of crops on that field." I do not find that encouraging. Those crops were either fed to humans or to animals that were then consumed by humans.

Sebastian also states that the company has only made baby steps on the Stroh property and he is correct. Much more needs to be done but despite recent improvements the MECP's (MOE) reputation is not a good one.

The chemicals involved in this cleanup include DDT, dioxins/furans, NDMA, chlorophenols, other solvents and likely PAHs and possibly PCBs.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


There is an excellent article in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record titled "The changing nature of forest fires, bugs, climate bite". Apparently climate change is responsible for both invasive insect populations spreading as well as local insects expanding their range. Therefore whether we are talking about the domestic mountain pine beetle both in the east and the west (BC) or the emerald ash borer for example in Ontario, climate change and accompanying warming is helping them spread into habitats that once were considered too cold for them. Climate change can result in both drier and wetter weather patterns. The wetter weather can promote fungi as well as make certain diseases in trees worse. Drier weather combined with insects that kill trees eventually make both the dead trees much drier as well as the underbrush and when exposed to fire they burn faster and hotter.

Parts of British Columbia are already facing major cutbacks in lumber production due to the mountain pine beetle which is on the rise in the warmer and drier conditions. The forest industry are facing possibly permanent cutbacks in employment and production as a result. While some may not shed tears over less tree removal the issue is also that more trees are dying from heat, dehydration and insect stresses that they are experiencing. As the article states " Trees can endure wide fluctuations of weather, he noted, but their health can change suddenly once critical thresholds like moisture balances are tipped. "Everything looks fine until it's not.""

On a related note Vancouver is now experiencing days to weeks of smoke filled air during late August and September due to forest fires hundreds of miles away. This is becoming a health hazard for either elderly or vulnerable urban human populations as well. This I have been advised of by a local relative in Vancouver.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


Wow, the Sandy Shantz municipal council really are paranoid, hysterical and dysfunctional. Phew I've shaken off my Christmas euphoria in which I said two nice things about her majesty. O.K. so the entire council are not paranoid, hysterical or dysfunctional just some of them. Let's count our blessings. Mr. Hahn is not on council. Ms. Herteis is not on council and lastly Mr. Flip Flop (Mr. Bauman) is not on council. Oh heck let's expand on that. Ms. McLean, Todd Cowan, Ms. Bryant all are not on council although with Ms. Bryant it's an academic exercise as she no longer lives in Woolwich and is not a Canadian citizen if you can believe it. Perhaps Mr. Cowan is also an academic exercise because of the single criminal conviction he obtained. I think that may disqualify him from running although I'm really not certain.

That first paragraph and its' brief expansion are all as a result of the news that I posted here last month regarding the new methane probe installed at the north edge of Bolender Park. That issue concerning three and a half decades of methane probes on the east (a few), west side of the landfill (a lot), a few on the north side and none on the south side is about to be (sort of) addressed. After all methane monitoring, to be done correctly, requires consistency and regularity; both totally lacking since the start of monitoring in 1983. It's no wonder that nobody knows what the hell they are doing with the sporadic, inconsistent and contradictory data they have obtained to date.

Woolwich council refused to answer fourty researched, relevant and clear questions submitted by me in writing to them over a year ago, to their shame. Instead they and their trained lap dog (CAO) came up with the most pathetic excuse imaginable to deny me and the public important information on this both public and private, potentially life threatening issue. Winter is upon us and if the ground freezes and becomes snow covered then the methane generated by the long buried garbage will be migrating laterally (horizontally) once again. There is a business on the north and west sides (Elmira Pet Products and #86 Auto & Metal Recycling) with homes on the east side (High & George St.) and the park on the south side. Granted Bolender Park in the winter thankfully is pretty empty but if as now appears likely there is any garbage at all under the park itself then methane could still be discharging upwards during the summer months when the park is filled with children.

Therefore the first south side monitoring well is a good thing but truly incredible that council and staff denied the need publicly either tacitly or explicitly, then go ahead and do it on the downlow. They are far too worried about appearing incompetent or negligent when they should simply be responding to well founded citizen concerns.