Friday, May 10, 2019


Well it sure wasn't boring! TAG are now down to four members at recent meetings which is unfortunate. David Hofbauer is a technically savy and straightforward individual whose knowledge is missed whereas the other hopefully permanent departure of Pat McLean is long overdue. For at least the second TAG meeting in a row Sandy Shantz has attended apparently keeping an eye on things. I would like to think that she is trying to learn a few things about the environmental issues but I fear it's more about Lanxess/MOE concerns that the second Chair of TAG, Tiffany Svensson, may be open to reason and facts. That is an absolute no-no for the likes of the polluter, their alleged regulator and the polluter's consultants GHD. Quoting the saying on my daughter's T-shirt "Evidence is greater than Ideology". This is the motto of the national organization known as Evidence For Democracy.

There was a significant discussion of the 2018 Annual Monitoring Report with mention of both improvements in its written presentation as well as a lack of suggested changes from previous years. Discussion also focused on recommended reductions by Lanxess's consultants in various groundwater monitoring programs. The concern was the overall lack of intelligent rationale for these proposed reductions and TAG did not seem to be in agreement. Tiffany on a number of occasions referred to "enhanced pumping" of the Elmira Aquifers recently. In fact there's been a whole lot more talk about "enhanced pumping" than actual increases in the off-site pumping.

There was a good description and explanation of what Tiffany referred to as residual contamination left in the matrix. I interpret that as contaminants that have diffused from the groundwater into the various soils of the aquitard primarily although possibly also into the soils of the aquifers. Then as the groundwater concentrations are reduced through pumping these contaminants back diffuse into the aquifers. All of this is slowly cleaning the aquifers although the initial diffusion and subsequent back diffusion greatly slow the process.

This discussion then led into a discussion of enhanced remediation. These forms of remediation are literally decades overdue and include various forms of source control although the polluter and regulator don't want to admit that sources other than Uniroyal Chemical exist. The areas requiring "enhanced remediation" are therefore referred to as "hot spots". Gotta love the attempts to talk their way around inconvenient truths. Speaking of inconvenient truths, Sebastian pointed out that the last Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) had been down that road already and the company did not respond well as they very poorly executed their pilot test of the In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) enhanced remediation.

Joe Kelly gave a talk about the depression south of the former east side pits (RPE 1-5) and north of the Stroh Drain and GP-1 and GP-2. This depression usually has water in it as it did during our April 11/19 site tour. I believe this water is either snow melt, rainwater or even groundwater at surface. Joe seemed to be leaning towards thinking that this tiny pond would have absorbed or intercepted the former toxic waste water discharges from the RPE ponds. Sebastian pointed out that the volumes of waste water (he believes 163,000 gallons per day, I believe 175,000 gallons per day) would quickly overwhelm and overflow that tiny pond and then flow across it down into the Stroh Drain area. I would suggest that Joe does have a good point in that likely that small pond is a repository of some significant DDT and dioxin concentrations.

At this point Tiffany and Sebastian got into a great discussion/debate about where the admitted overland flow of waste waters ended up. Tiffany suggested at one point that they went into the flat low lying area of former wetlands on the Lanxess property and stagnated there. Sebastian said no that with sufficient daily volumes they would have gravity flowed across that saturated area at the time (before the Stroh Drain lowered the water table) over onto the Stroh property. The direction of flow would have taken them across the area known as the "Gap". We already know that there is some contamination in the "Gap" area due to extremely modest and problematic composite sampling. The big concentrations of dioxins/furans and DDT compounds are most likely in the lowest elevation areas immediately to the east of the Stroh Drain. These areas have an elevation of 345.0 and 345.5 metres above sea level. The good news is that both Joe and Tiffany are questioning the fallacy that all these waste waters solely ended up in GP-1 and GP-2. Clearly the high diagonal (North-West to South-East) ridge prevented that.

The other bone of contention was the proposed sampling location for the Stroh Drain. Sebastian wants both the sediments and the soils in and around the Stroh Drain tested. Tiffany, following Lanxess's wishes, suggested sampling at the mouth of the Stroh Drain as it enters the Canagagigue Creek. Susan Bryant concurred. I smell a huge rat with that location. Afterall does a concussion victim ask the doctor to examine his toes or his head? We know the most likely location that dioxins/furans and DDT have been deposited. Why refuse to test there and suggest other locations if you really want to know the truth?

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