Thursday, April 18, 2019


Is it a plane? Is it a comet? No it's superberm! O.K. I recall thinking several years back, what kind of berm? Perhaps a visual berm as is used along roads to hide gravel pits. Or perhaps as a noise berm as is used in places along the Conestoga Parkway to deaden traffic noise from nearby subdivisions. That's as far as I got and no further clarification was given.

Frankly while I didn't forget this comment that it looked like a berm from Vivienne Delaney, I simply couldn't see it. A berm for what and to do what? That topographical feature was indeed obvious to Dr. Dan Holt, Vivienne and myself back in the spring of 2014 as we toured the Stroh Drain and tried to get a handle on what we were seeing. The high mounds of earth on the east side of the north to south running Stroh Drain seemed a reasonable place to put the excavated earth from the Drain. Why they only went on one side wasn't immediately clear to me although I suspected that after Uniroyal Chemical's waste waters stopped flowing across their property line onto the lower lying Stroh property, that heavy rains would also cause some surface water flow from Chemtura/Lanxess into the Drain. Therefore if the excavated earth was put on the west side of the Drain it would block incoming surface flow from heavy rainfalls.

Well. Well. Well. Then I did what I do best. I looked again (and again) at all the data I had including the very recent two reports from GHD last month. That was the March 2019 Canagagigue Creek Sediment and Floodplain Investigation Report and the Conceptual Site Model report. My nearly seventy year old eyes spotted something new in both those reports. I examined old aerial photographs from 1930, 1955, 1968 etc. of the south-east corner of the Uniroyal/Lanxess property as well as of the adjoining Stroh property.

That information I combined with the new information I picked up on the site tour. Holy crap it came to me. I had asked Ramin if someone had dredged or cleaned out the Stroh Drain downstream because the water level was so dramatically lowered. He did not respond. I had looked at many photographs over the years presented by Conestoga Rovers and likely GHD as well showing the GRCA 100 year flood line. The two latest GRCA flood line drawings in the March 2019 two reports just previously mentioned had the tiniest of differences with the CRA photos/drawings. A skeptic might even use the word altered to describe CRA's drawing of the GRCA flood line on the various Chemtura/Lanxess reports. That is a very nasty word and could describe behaviour of an unethical nature. Or worse.

This is an example of how polluters and their alleged regulator the Ontario MOE successfully deceive and manipulate even the best intentioned and most concerned citizens. I expect that the combination of junk science and credentialism combined with constantly self-serving conclusions in their reports are usually adequate to achieve their aims of minimizing contamination and reducing their cleanup costs. Sometimes however a little more is required. This may include political muscle flexing such as removing the very best and most knowledgeable citizens from the municipally appointed public advisory committee as Chemtura, the MOE, and Sandy Shantz and Mark Bauman did in 2015. It may include modest lying, deceit, deflection and simply avoiding testing of known contaminated areas while applying the previous three actions.

I'll be blunt. Given the slightest opportunity I can still pick up on facts, data, photographs and combine them with thirty years of first hand experience to get to uncomfortable truths that none of our guilty parties and their supporting casts of politicians and authorities want to know or hear. Of course with early full disclosure I could do this years sooner. Every possible excuse has been used and will be used to silence the most knowledgeable critics of the environmental status quo in Elmira, Ontario. Other citizens on TAG and RAC are trying hard but they were appointed or put there with the expectation that they could be "managed" one way or the other. That is to the discredit of those who appointed them not to the appointees.


  1. Are you implying that GHD redrew the GRCA's 100 year flood line in the two reports? If so I am surprised that the GRCA did not pick this up. I know flood plain mapping is a priority for updating in the watersheds but maybe Ontario budget cutbacks will limit this task. Interesting data though on the dredging of your favorite drain that you discovered and where the dredge spoils were placed. I WONDER if those dredge spoils have ever been sampled for contaminants?

    1. First I know that I, CPAC and the public have never been given soil results from the dredge spoils. That doesn't mean that they haven't been sampled.Secondly upon further investigation I found that not only two 2019 reports have the slight difference in the floodplain line but also a 2018 report by GHD. Therefore I'm going to remove the GHD reference but leave in the CRA one.