Monday, April 15, 2019


Politicians. They know what to say to get support and they also know how to pass on bad news. The Remediation Advisory Committee (RAC) which fundamentally does bugger all except give a thin veneer of "public consultation" despite being fundamentally bureaucrats and politicians is having their minimum meetings per year reduced to three from four. Apparently four meetings a year is too onerous for the destroyer of Elmira's drinking water aquifers. Sandy Shantz let us in on the news last Thursday. This is an affront to the public and the stakeholders if for no other reason than four miserable opportunities per year to speak truth to power (via Delegation) have been reduced to three.

Tiffany Svensson, chair of TAG, advised the meeting that she will be bringing a labratory expert to talk to TAG about detection limits. I expect that the discussion will focus on all the variables involved and a defence of the ridiculously high method detection limits (MDL) in the recently released March 2019 Canagagigue Creek Investigation report. Instead it should focus on how detection limits anywhere from 2 1/2 to 100 times greater than the DDT criteria render the report meaningless.

Joe Kelly again advised that in his opinion the shovel method of collecting sediment samples skews the report. Core samples are the proper way to do it without losing the finer material where the DDT and dioxins are likely attached. Twenty-four sediment samples were taken by core sampler and 338 taken by shovel. That is ridiculous and combined with high detection limits renders the report even more meaningless than it already is.

Both Tiffany and Jason (MOE) discussed data gaps and whether they were significant. Tiffany wants to get the remediation work done as does Jason who however asked whether the data gaps actually mean something. My response is of course they do. They will affect whether it's a five million dollar cleanup or a fifty million dollar cleanup. Guess which Lanxess, GHD, and the MOE favour? After all dilution and migration have served them well over the last fifty years. Jason (MOE) also suggested that they the MOE are looking to GHD (Lanxess's consultants) for lab information on method detection limits. This is the same bull manure as how Sandy Shantz operates in the next paragraph.

Sandy (RAC chair) suggested that all hot spots need to be identified. Good talk but that's all it is. "Hot spots" aren't even specifically defined for gosh sakes. She wouldn't know a "hot spot" if all the data was right in front of her nose. She doesn't understand detection limits or basically anything about the Creek but she's always willing to ask Lanxess, GHD, and the MOE and will always receive their perverted answers.

Susan Bryant, Lou Almeida (GHD), and Ramin (Lanxess) all discussed coming up with a specific number below which contaminants stay and above which they are removed. Ramin also suggested they need to know specifically how deep, how wide and what distance they will be addressing. He even asked the question as to whether work in the Creek could cause greater harm than leaving it alone. Wow with the concentrations in places being hundreds to thousands of times greater than federal or provincial criteria you've got to be kidding me. Why have criteria in the first place if they don't actually mean something real!

Again there was the self-serving (for Lanxess) discussion of TAG expanding their mandate to cover Lanxess ongoing operating conditions allowing the company to satisfy the barely there conditions for ongoing *Responsible Care verification. Although Pat Mclean was not present as usual Tiffany mentioned that it was Pat who raised the matter at TAG. That's no surprise as she's been Lanxess's and Chemtura's man for years.


  1. So where does the blog's message lead to in terms of actions and results? Or is it you reap what you sow?

  2. "Or is it you reap what you sow?" Are you seriously kidding me? Are you blaming the citizens of Elmira or even those actively volunteering on their behalf by reading reports and attending public meetings, for the failures of both the company and the MOE over the last thirty years?

  3. I am never blaming Elmira or their activists but am just blaming how we let politics and business dictate the directions we went, are going and will be going. And with Ontario's budget it will be a uphill battle for many years. Conservation Authority and Ministry cutbacks are just two Environmental examples.