Monday, September 30, 2019


This time apparently it's on store shelves. What the hell. According to an on-line announcement NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) has been found in the antacid medication Zantac. The active ingredient is known as Rantadine. This is an extremely common medication for those with excess stomach acid and can be purchased either over the counter or on prescription.

My understanding is that several agencies and companies around the world have recalled the product or pulled it from their shelves including right here at our local drugstore (Shoppers Drugs). That said authorities are advising consumers who have been prescribed Zantac/Rantidine not to over react and in fact to keep taking their medication however to contact their health provider for a possible substitute.

NDMA is a strong carcinogen and should not be in either the air, our food or our water. Obviously also not in our medications. How exactly has this occurred? How long has it been in Zantac? Why wasn't it discovered before now?

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Kitchener-Waterloo are historically held by those two parties. For 4,500 citizens to come out to an environmental demonstration/rally is astounding. It gives me hope. Sort of. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries two stories namely "Thousands rally for climate action" and Luisa D'Amato's Opinion piece titled "After the party comes the hangover".

According to the Record (Catherine Thompson) the mood was jubilant but the overriding message was that action must continue beyond the day's protest. Luisa D'Amato echoed that with her first sentence "Now what?" She also referred to the "hangover" after the party. She also referred to "...the monumentally difficult task that lies ahead."

Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have been in power for decades and generally have done nothing significant environmentally, with the Conservative Party holding the number one position in that regard. Both parties have some good policies on other matters but they share blame for our current environmental woes whether air, groundwater, surface water, or climate. It is past time to see what the NDP can do and if they happened to join forces in a coalition with the Green Party, so much the better. Give them one term in power and take their measure. Why do we continue electing Liberal or Conservative governments and expect change? It is the definition of insanity. Perhaps real change might occur if both parties were out of power for a term. It might wake them up to the realities today of the environmental damage, including climate change, that has occurred on their watches.

Friday, September 27, 2019


First of all the SSRA mentioned in the above title stands for Site Specific Risk Assessment. There was both a Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) and an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) completed on the Uniroyal/Crompton site in Elmira, Ontario back in 2004. As a lay person I will offer my opinion on both of them. I feel that they were primarily a professional mix of junk science along with junk mathematics. For a professional opinion of these SSRAs I would suggest that interested readers go to today's Waterloo Region Advocate ( where on the second page of the posting you will find a treatise on the subject written by Dr. Henry Regier. A little hint: he does use the word "greenwashing" once.

Regarding my recent posting on Dr. Solomon I still do not know for certain that he is the Keith Solomon referred to in a rude comment (unpublished) here on the Elmira Advocate. Besides his somewhat peculiar (in my opinion) video regarding 2,4-D I have had another source recently suggest that he is not a fan of the famous Rachel Carson. Now even though I and hundreds of thousands or more others are a fan of her and her books, I am the first to admit that if he is not a fan that is hardly more than a comment and not even a criticism. Nevertheless I am still waiting and hoping for further contact and clarification from the person who recently sent me some tantalizing environmental details along with their K. Solomon statement.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Readers: As I Have Dedicated My Other Blog (Waterloo Region Advocate) To Publishing My New Book titled "Elmira Water Woes: The Triumph Of Corruption, Deceit, And Citizen Betrayal" found at; you may find on occasion a post here that is not environmental such as today's.

Mr. Glen Assoun was acquitted of the murder of Brenda Way last winter in Nova Scotia Supreme Court after spending seventeen years in jail and 52 months on bail. The acquittal occurred after the 52 months spent on bail with an ankle monitor and with hopes of soon putting his ordeal behind him. It was not to be due to "...a slow, overly political and under-staffed system for probing wrongful convictions."

During his incarceration he suffered multiple heart attacks as well as mental illness. Currently he and his lawyers from Innocence Canada want an independent, well-funded review system to investigate alleged cases of wrongful conviction. Similar recommendations were made by the royal commission in 1989 on the wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall Jr. and as well at four other public inquiries with the most recent being the 2008 inquiry into the wrongful conviction of David Milgaard. To date our politicians and our judicial system appear content to let innocent Canadians rot in jail for crimes they did not commit.

It was five years ago that a preliminary assessment in a Halifax courtroom showed that a key witness had recanted her testimony AND that the RCMP had erased potential evidence of an alternative suspect. During this five years of waiting in limbo Mr. Assoun was hospitalized due to the stress and his mental state occasioned by his being refused access to his family.

This story is in last Monday's Waterloo Region Record and is titled "Wrongfully convicted man calls for Ottawa reform". Our federal politicians can take a large amount of the blame for the tardiness and procrastination that caused this man even more suffering after seventeen unnecessary years in jail. Perhaps even a month or two in jail might smarten some of them up. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


Please excuse the rather peculiar and presumably unclear title above. While I have it in quotation marks, the actual quote has the rest of the letters for the first word included. This is part of the recent interesting comment (unpublished to date) that I referred to yesterday here in this blog. I of course Googled Keith Solomon. There are lots of them however the one who jumped out at me is a Dr. Keith Solomon from the University of Guelph. He is a toxicologist. I absolutely do not know if this is the Keith Solomon mentioned in the recent comment (still unpublished) I received three days ago. I do know that there is an on-line interview with Dr. Solomon in which he answers questions related to the herbicide 2,4-D. I must admit that I found Dr. Solomon's answers less than convincing especially the claim that there have been no recent or otherwise studies showing any health effects from exposure to 2,4-D. Also Dr. Solomon suggests that the reducing factor of 100 is acceptable when correlating toxicity studies with rats, mice etc. with human beings. I find that much less than convincing. So maybe this is the Keith Solomon mentioned in the comment I received. Just don't know.

Yesterday I promised/threatened to mention some environmental observations from Vancouver. This city I am told is the third largest in Canada. The air smells good and the surface fresh water appears good and even sea water looks good until you get into boat traffic areas in a couple of inlets. Then it appears somewhat as you would expect.

What really impressed me were car rental services such as EVO and Car To Go. They are absolutely incredible and my daughter and son-in-law use them regularly and despite good incomes do not feel the need to purchase their own car. The service is incredible with on-line Apps letting you know where these cars are parked (all over the city) allowing you to immediately reserve the one you want. Then you go about your business or errand and simply leave the car in an EVO parking space (all over the city) for use by the next person. Truly an incredible idea and business venture. Well done Vancouver and entrepreneurs!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


I received a very detailed and interesting comment that I haven't published over the last few days. The writer may feel free to phone me if he wishes as I would like to talk to him. Just check out the phone number via Canada 411 or via the Elmira phone book. It's Alan & Betty Marshall on Church St. West in Elmira.

Tomorrow I might post about recent environmental experiences out west this past weekend.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


All three of these containment systems have come up short.The first is the Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System and recently Cynthia Doughty of the MOE has advised all parties that the UACTS has been inadequately containing the shallow aquifer on the Uniroyal/Lanxess site for decades. Secondly the CTS or on-site Containment & Treatment System has had problems pumping well PW5 to its Target Rate for months thus jeopardizing hydraulic containment. Thirdly the OSCTS or Off-Site Containment & Treatment System has been generally under performing for decades. Despite increased pumping rates for the last few years the totals are still nowhere near high enough according to CRA and Chemtura/Lanxess to achieve the 2028 deadline. The determination of these pumping rates was made by CRA in November 2012.

Other failures included the lack of removal of both DNAPLS and LNAPLS. Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and presumably Lanxess all think that just because they used their junk science to convince the least knowledgeable or most co-opted CPAC members to acquiesce to little or no DNAPL removal, that they are home free. News flash: There is no statute of limitations for bad decisions made via deceit or gamesmanship. Regarding LNAPLS Jeff Merriman of Chemtura kept telling us that it was not possible for Chemtura to remove them from the subsurface. I believe that that is horse manure. For a price they can be removed. Chemtura/Lanxess simply aren't willing to pay the price to clean up their own mess which has impacted the off-site environment for many decades.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


On-Site pumping well, PW5, has been below its' target pumping rate for nine of the last twelve months. If as we've been long advised that the only two on-site wells are necessary to maintain hydraulic containment of the contaminated municipal drinking aquifer on the Uniroyal/Lanxess site, then why has this been allowed to continue? The fact that the company are bragging about slightly higher off-site pumping only exacerbates the problem as we've also been advised for decades that when the off-site pumping is increased then the on-site needs to be as well or hydraulic containment on-site is lost thus allowing on-site contamination to escape.

Table A.1 is the usual monthly listing of wells shut down for various periods of time during the month. Reasons/excuses include maintenance, power failures, breakdowns,cleanings, inspections etc. etc etc.

Table A.4 displays the concentrations of various contaminants in the Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System. The prize winners are chlorobenzene at pumping well UA560I (1,400 ppb), toluene at UA500I (2,200 ppb) and at UA560I (4,000 ppb). Other contenders are MBT at 3,700 ppb, Aniline at 650 ppb, and Carboxin at 1,300 ppb. All of these concentrations indicate how horribly contaminated the site itself remains despite decades of pumping and treating. Unfortunately this was not unexpected. Pump & treat alone is for cheapskates and irresponsible corporations with captured regulators (i.e. MOE).

Appendix B lists the various MISA (municipal industrial strategy for abatement) outlets to the Canagagigue Creek. Some are improved over time but others continue to leak contamination into the Creek. To my mind MISA is simply one more assist to the corporation via the old axiom...dilution is the solution to pollution.

Table D.1 displays ridiculously high concentrations of both NDMA and chlorobenzene off the Uniroyal/Lanxess property on the west side at monitoring well CH44D. Perhaps legitimate testing on the east side might do the same. All our authorities have enabled the polluter to allegedly minimize the environmental damage to the company's neighbours and to the general community. Something similar to the former Varnicolor Chemical site in Elmira, just down the road from Uniroyal/Lanxess.

I expect coverage of environmental issues here in the Advocate to be spotty over the next several days. Not to worry.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Several years ago we were having a discussion at CPAC with Jeff Merriman of Chemtura Canada about DNAPLS. This was back during the time when both Woolwich council appointed/anointed citizens (i.e. voting CPAC members) as well as the unwashed masses (general public) could publicly ask questions of either CPAC members, Uniroyal/Chemtura or the Ontario MOE/MECP. I do not recall at this moment whether I was a formal voting member at the time or not.

I suggested to Mr. Merriman that according to the definition of DNAPLS (Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquids) that dioxins and DDT were both DNAPL chemicals. Mr. Merriman got very upset and forcefully insisted that no, dioxins/furans as well as DDT and its breakdown products were totally separate and needed to be treated as such.

Some of the defining characteristics of DNAPLs include low solubility, a density greater than water (i.e. 1.0), and an ability to flow in the subsurface under the force of gravity. Also by definition most (not all) DNAPLS were chlorinated solvents such as chlorobenzene, trichloroethylene, chlorophenols etc. Well, dioxins are indeed chlorinated solvents such as tetra chlorordibenzopdioxin or TCDD. The most potent is designated as 2,3,7,8 TCDD.

DDT is also a chlorinated solvent referred to as Dichlorodiphenoltrichloroethane. Chlorine molecules are very heavy and well in excess of the 1.0 density requirement. This density requirement is what enables them to sink below the water table as they are denser.

Mr. Merriman's claim was based upon these chemicals being hydrophobic or in other words they had an affinity to bind with soil particles versus dissolving in ground or surface water. This of course has long been the excuse for not looking for them more rigorously in either ground or surface water on their Elmira property. The big problem of course is that they have been tested for in water on a few occasions and guess what: there they are albeit at low concentrations. Whether or not they are perfectly dissolved versus being attached to microscopic soil particles in the water is at best an academic exercise. The fact is that they are there and hence they are mobilized and spreading.

The other relevant point is that dioxins and DDT are readily dissolved in solvents and hence readily mobile. This contaminated Elmira property is loaded with solvents particularly in the groundwater and now less so, concentration wise, in the Canagagigue Creek. Nevertheless these solvents have always aided and abetted the dissolution (dissolving) of even hydrophobic compounds into ground and surface water.

It seems clear to me and others that dioxins and DDT have long been available to both ground and surface water and hence have travelled far and wide. Dioxins in both the Canagagigue Creek and in carp downstream of the mouth of the Creek with the Grand River are but part of the evidence.

I believe that CPAC members and the public were being fed yet another dose of junk science, psuedo science and "cargo cult " science.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


First of all a reminder: My book is on my Waterloo Region Advocate blog located at . One can also Google that blog/website to find my book.

Yesterday I advised that my book included text (lots of it) as well as cartoons, quotes from citizens, newspapers, a Table of Contents as well as footnotes/endnotes. As of this moment the first three chapters are now on-line. As stated yesterday because of the nature of the blog (i.e. Blogspot.Com) the book will appear on your computer screen in reverse order. Hence possibly tomorrow (or not) Chapter 4 will appear. I am then taking a few days off including the weekend. My plan is to get back to posting a new chapter each day next week (midweek).

The mechanics of posting on-line onto my Blogspot blog are onerous albeit do able. By that I mean page numbers! They don't remotely match with my manuscript which was typed double spaced for the benefit of my editors. Also my blog prints only on the left side of the page which you may have noticed. If this is adjustable I sure as heck don't know how and doubt is possible. Hence for my Table of Contents I am redoing the page numbers chapter by chapter to get them to match with the downloaded/printed version of my book from the Waterloo Region Advocate.

The other problem is in regards to the footnotes/endnotes. The number of the footnote found at the end of a quote or reference thank goodness is accurate throughout. It then accurately matches the footnote number indicated at the end of each chapter in the Endnotes. The only issue for me is the format again courtesy of Blogspot. The Endnotes are not quite as neat as I would like them however they are quite legible.

A paragraph or two back I mentioned the "downloaded/printed version" of my book. If readers prefer reading a book on-line as I upload it then have at it. If you prefer a hard copy then you have two choices. Firstly you can wait for the possible formally published version of my book. I have absolutely no idea right now as to when (or even if) that will be. Secondly you can readily and easily print off each copy via your own printer as it is uploaded. That timing I can at least advise is both right now and ongoing.

Monday, September 16, 2019


It's been two and a half years of work. Most of it I have loved. The research and the writing were the most exciting and fun for me. The time I've spent editing was not so much fun; it was work. When I say "...I've spent editing..." isn't quite accurate. I have a friend who is a professional editor. She wishes to stay under the radar so be it. Her advice, editing, and general improvements have been wonderful. Unfortunately I see a long future of my working at editing as well as chasing formal publishing. No thanks. I will write another book before I spend another couple years of my life pushing this one.

I have been led to believe from a number of sources that the Canadian publishing industry is sadly lacking unless your name ends in Berton, Atwood, Mowat etc. Mine does not nor do thousands of other excellent Canadians with stories to tell. Self-publishing is the way to go. For a personal,financial price anyone can have their book printed and waved around as a "published" piece of work. Again I'm unimpressed. Kindle/Amazon seemed like a good route until I saw and read the twelve pages of legalese called Conditions etc. Even more unimpressed.

My book is the result of my personally spending thirty years watching, listening, and participating in public consultation regarding the 1989 Elmira, Ontario Water Crisis. For the past thirty years I have spoken at public meetings of UPAC, CPAC, RAC, and TAG, the various bodies allegedly charged with overseeing the remediation and cleanup of the Elmira aquifers and of the Canagagigue Creek. It has essentially been an exercise in going in circles, being intentionally misled as to the facts and of watching polluters' hired guns being given deference and respect they do not deserve. Even worse has been the deference and public support given to these professional spokespersons by our elected representatives. Our politicians at all levels have and continue to behave abominably. Some of my research over the decades has included spying, simple trespassing, photographing and observing etc. for the very obvious reason that all the guilty parties jealously guard their legal rights to physically exclude the public from the evidence of their misdeeds and assaults upon the health of citizens. The self-serving and likely privately lobbied for laws as well as the courts back them in effectively excluding affected and concerned citizens from being present on site during crucial investigations, sampling etc.

While I am not totally ruling out more traditional forms of publishing, I am also not much in the waiting mode. The thirtieth anniversary of the November 1989 shutting down of the south wellfield in Elmira is almost upon us. Therefore I am beginning to publish my book on-line. My intent is to roughly attempt to put one chapter on-line each day although I will be missing several days later this week. My book, titled as above, has the first two chapters already on-line. They are in my "Waterloo Region Advocate" blog which can be accessed at or simply Googled. Chapter 1 was posted yesterday and Chapter 2 posted today. Obviously they will be in reverse order and readers would be wise of course to start at Chapter 1.

My book is detailed, footnoted extensively, and not for the faint of heart. I have done my best to make it easily understandable especially in regards to groundwater (hydrogeology) terms and principles. It is not for the faint of heart because besides my own opinions and writings I have included those of other citizens as well as of professional reporters from various media. Generally speaking they do not paint a picture of governments and politicians putting the people first. Corporate power, authority, and money win that prize by a country mile.

Saturday, September 14, 2019


I'm only going to speak to two issues today in this latest report from Lanxess Canada (i.e. formerly Uniroyal). Firstly new pumping well W9 is back to pumping an average volume of contaminated groundwater through August of zero litres per second. This of course is the well that was supposed to be on-line and pumping 13.6 litres per second about TWO YEARS ago. This is also one of a series of "new" wells that were supposed to either DOUBLE or TRIPLE the volume of off-site (i.e. from Uniroyal/Lanxess) groundwater underneath Elmira being pumped and treated. The reason for this dramatic increase was Conestoga Rovers' and Chemtura's (also formerly Uniroyal) admissions back in November 2012 that the only way for them to successfully clean the Elmira drinking water aquifers by 2028 was by TRIPLING the volume of off-site groundwater being pumped and treated as well as source removal via In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) at hot spots. Later they informally amended that to a mere DOUBLING of the pump and treat plus they dropped the plans for ISCO after an incompetent and unsuccessful testing of the process.

For the last couple of years the pumping rates have been approximately 20% higher than they were in 2012 and earlier. That is a very long way from tripling (i.e.300%) or doubling (200%) the pumping. A skeptic would call the guilty parties liars. A kinder, gentler person would call them merely ridiculous. There has been no shortage of reasons/excuses for the failures of pumping well W9 to be able to effectively treat the contaminated groundwater that it pumps. The obvious reason to me is that well W9 has its own treatment system rather than being part of the overall treatment system in use since 1992. Oh and that treatment system doesn't appear to be either working or reliable.

The second issue, once again, is Table C.2 in the August Progress Report. All of the Acid Extractable chemicals have lower average (arithmetic mean) contaminant concentrations downstream than upstream. That is just plain weird unless the upstream sources including an industry perhaps as well as the Bolender Landfill are discharging these contaminants into the Canagagigue Creek. These Acid Extractables include chemicals such as various chlorophenols, cresol, and phenol.

The group known as Base/Nuetral Extractables are all over the map. Four of them have higher downstream contaminant concentrations and three have higher upstream concentrations. The norm is for all the downstream concentrations to be higher based upon the effect of leakage to the creek from the Uniroyal/Lanxess site.

Volatile Organic Compounds are also all over the place with four higher concentrations upstream and three higher downstream. It would be nice for Lanxess to address this situation but to date not a peep from them. They can claim that they have had no questions from either RAC or TAG about this and that would likely be accurate. At least publicly they have had no questions. Lanxess however do keep an eye on this Blog and they certainly haven't given me their interpretation as to what is going on nor have they disputed what I am seeing and posting here.

Friday, September 13, 2019


The Woolwich Observer did an excellent job of covering the attempts to receive official sanction from Woolwich Council for a proposed gravel pit in Maryhill. Their story in yesterday's newspaper is titled "Maryhill gravel pit proposal meets with widespread pushback". Capitol Paving are looking for official plan and zoning changes to allow them to turn four properties totalling 230 acres into a sprawling gravel pit just outside the village of Maryhill. Prior to this week's public meeting there were more than a hundred letters of opposition sent to the township.

One resident correctly stated that an industrial operation does not belong in a residential community. Another suggested that property values for homes in and around Maryhill were likely to drop thirty to fourty percent. Former councillor and mayoralty candidate Bonnie Bryant suggested that due to the negative impacts on surrounding homes, farms and businesses that "This pit is not a compatible land use.".

The Merry-Hill Golf Club are in opposition to the pit as is St. Johns-Kilmarnock School. There is a cardiac clinic at the corner of Shantz Station Rd. and Hopewell Creek Rd. Doctor JohnSchaman advised that a nearby gravel pit would be devastating to the tranquility and serenity of the treatment centre. Truck traffic alone would be loud, increasing congestion and associated problems.

Clearly Capitol Paving are in for a rough ride. So will Woolwich Council if they do not heed local advice on this matter.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


For decades disputes over new gravel pits were settled by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). They had a hard earned reputation as being biased and pro-developers i.e. gravel pit owners and operators. It was extremely rare for a gravel pit to be denied outright. They were always approved albeit with modifications, amendments etc. that allegedly responded to and answered the concerns of nearby residents. In actual fact the process was a sham and that's exactly how the province wanted it. The gravel industry are wealthy and powerful and through their association flex their political muscles when they see fit.

A few years back the governing Liberals and Kathleen Wynne were vulnerable. They talked about reforming the OMB. Lo and behold if there weren't a couple of proposed gravel pits scrapped by the OMB namely one in Puslinch and one just outside Conestogo (the Hunder Pit). Sure enough the OMB was replaced by LPAT, the Local Planning Area Tribunal. The Liberals got bounced electorally anyways and now we will see if LPAT are the real deal or not. So far I think it is too soon to tell.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


There are several informative and well written letters of objection to the latest proposed gravel pit in Woolwich Township. This pit is proposed to be located approximately 250 metres from downtown Maryhill. A number of by-law changes and rezoning are required to give this pit proposed by Capitol Paving, the go ahead.

One of the concerns stated is in regards to the need for the pit. Of course I believe that in law that can not be a determining factor. After all if your goal is to supply aggregate (gravel) more cheaply than your competitor then it helps to a have a pit located closer to the proposed road or other construction project. Hence paving and aggregate companies are always on the lookout for easy to access gravel deposits even if they don't need them presently. One of the letters of objection suggests that there are currently 100 years worth of gravel pit licenses currently being held locally. It really doesn't seem to be an overiding requirement to disrupt people's lives, health, and enjoyment of their property. Maybe for these gravel pit companies it's more than just about money. Maybe it's about power and control. Maybe it's knowing that you have the power to annoy people and worse and to do it with impunity.

This proposed zoning amendment and more was discussed in Woolwich Council Chambers last evening. There was an overflow crowd present. Deja vue all over again. Just like the proposed Hunder Pit outside Conestogo. Just like the ongoing Jigs Hollow Pit between Conestoga and Winterbourne. First they got an above water table license and now they are trying to expand that to a below water table pit. Just like the former attempted Capitol paving gravel pit immediately outside West Montrose and the Covered Bridge. The best advice I can give these folks in Maryhill is to contact Gravel Watch Ontario and also perhaps Tony Dowling of West Montrose who is a member. Tony and the locals successfully, along with assistance from Woolwich Township, managed to keep Capitol Paving out of West Montrose. Now the company is back yet again. Will any of us live long enough to see right and justice stop these ongoing assaults upon both citizens and their right to the enjoyment of their homes?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


In actual fact the bad press may possibly have started as early as the second or third day of production at the Uniroyal Chemical plant in Elmira around 1942. For all practical purposes that is unlikely however. The plant was built to produce explosive stabilizers for the second world war. These included diphenylamine and aniline. So it just wasn't the employment that the factory offered but also the general support for the war effort that would have discouraged negative publicity.

Shortly thereafter the war ended and production shifted towards pesticides and herbicides such as DDT and 2,4-D, and 2,4, 5-T. The Signet and the Kitchener-Waterloo Record newspapers were both active and I suspect that by at least the 1950s concerns were being raised about the stench and the damage to the Canagagigue Creek (the Gig). Do not forget that the "Gig" was actually a trout stream early on. Certainly by 1960 the Ontario Water Resources Commission (predecessor to the MOE) were becoming extremely concerned. In 1966 a major biological survey of the Grand River and its tributaries such as the Gig was undertaken. The descriptions of the lack of life in the Gig were nasty.

Finally between 1965 and 1970 the brand new Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) came on line. It was desperately needed both for human sewage treatment as well as for treatment of various Elmira industries especially including Uniroyal Chemical. The Creek was still in horrid condition throughout the 1970s despite some improvement. Local trappers and fishermen spoke loudly and publicly about the loss of the formerly beautiful creek and area. Local residents complained about the ongoing odours but were reassured (falsely) that they weren't dangerous, merely smelly.

From the mid 1970s through to the mid 1980s both the public and the media were expressing concerns regarding the drinking water. It used to taste very good but had not for some time. Our authorities investigated and publicly lied and reassured everyone that everything was under control. At the same time the MOE issued their first Control Order on Uniroyal in 1984 and besides monitoring it also induced a major cleanup of some of the pits and ponds on the Uniroyal site. This went on throughout the 1980s.

Alas it was too little too late. In November 1989 the Ontario MOE released the results of September 1989 testing of the south wellfield. And the rest is history. Certainly from that point on until the last four years when the Elmira Independent went out of business, Uniroyal and successors received a ton of well earned bad publicity.

Monday, September 9, 2019


In August 2013 the Todd Cowan council once again embarrassed themselves via a clearly bad decision. The council appointed CPAC committee formally approached council and asked them to reinstate me as a member of CPAC. Council allegedly voted 3-2 in opposition however I believe that Todd Cowan's vote in my favour was simply posturing to Dr. Holt, CPAC Chair,to the rest of CPAC and as well as myself. He had already lied to his council about me regarding a made up condition that he and David Brenneman (CAO) had claimed I accepted in order to be first appointed to CPAC. The condition was in regards to this Blog and I had categorically rejected it when he and Mr. Brenneman tried to get me to agree in advance not to publish hypothetical, sensitive CPAC information.

This decision of Woolwich Council's was described in articles in both the Elmira Independent and Woolwich Observer in mid August 2013. I believe it was Councillor Al Poffenroth who sincerely voted in favour of my rejoining CPAC along with Todd Cowan's probably fake vote in favour as he knew the prearranged outcome. Councillor Julie-Anne Herteis displayed her pettiness by voting against my rejoining. She was more concerned with "payback" as she had lost her chairmanship of the CPAC committee due to my, Lynne Hare's and Dr Dan Holt's pressure to get the committee up and running against the wishes of Todd and Julie-Anne. Clearly Julie-Anne had no understanding or knowledge or for that matter concern that a strong and united CPAC was required to counter the built in bias and influence of Chemtura Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

The lesson is clear. Councillors are not elected necessarily based on competence. Either theirs or the electorate's unfortunately.

Saturday, September 7, 2019


The Cambridge Times had a Letter to the Editor published last Wednesday in response to an earlier article in the Times about odours coming from a company called Team Reclamation located at 1574 Eagle St. in Preston. I presume that the original Cambridge Times article is the same one that the Waterloo Region Record published last Wednesday and to which I have a link to in my Wednesday post here in the Elmira Advocate.

The title of the Opinion piece in last Wednesday's Cambridge Times is "No satisfaction for neighbours of Preston industrial cleaning business". It was written by Thomas Vann of Cambridge, a very community involved and active person. Mr. Vann has a file on this company and their contributions to the community's air that is nine years old. In 2016 he received a promise from the then manager, Mark, that the company would not use the thermal ovens when the wind blows in his street's direction. Besides the thermal ovens the company also uses chemical stripping. I personally would be surprised if this did not include the use of harsh and strong solvents such as TCE or TCA the compounds implicated in the Bishop St. community disaster.

Mr. Vann has contacted his municipal councillor Donna Reid and gotten nowhere with her. I am not shocked at that. Quoting Mr. Vann "There have been times the odour was so strong you could feel burning in your eyes and lungs". Furthermore "Our family had to leave our home and neighbours shut their windows. Swimming pools had a brown layer of film on them and cars had brown stains on them. I wondered what it did to people, pets, hanging laundry and vegetable gardens in the area?".

Mr. Vann does have praise for M.P.P. Belinda Karahalios whom he spoke to and since then there have been improvements in the air quality. The head honcho at Team Reclamation is now a Mr. Glen Smith. Mr. Vann has invited Mr. Smith to meet with him and show that he is sincere in his concerns for the community.

These symptoms Mr. Vann has described along with the nature of the business are both of health concerns as well as disrupting people's normal enjoyment of their properties. These actions and ensuing results as described are totally illegal. Our pathetic judicial system and police or Ministry of Environment enforcement are next to useless in cases like this and irresponsible corporations and owners/managers take full advantage.

Friday, September 6, 2019


No sense of urgency. No sense of flying by the seat of their pants. No shame and no remorse. That for me is the message handed out yesterday afternoon by Lanxess Canada. Yes I go to these wholly perverted facades of public consultation to see if I can glean information but it's a one way street. Real public consultation is two way not this brazen crap being foisted upon the public.

Ramin Ansari of Lanxess did share with RAC, TAG members present, and the public (four CPAC members plus one other gentleman) the approximate schedule for the Risk Assessment to start (Late 2020), further Creek sampling next year, Work Plan, and actual work in the Creek (warm weather in 2022).

Rather embarrassingly to RAC, Lanxess, and Sandy Shantz a minor issue was raised by Nancy Davy of the GRCA. Apparently she has not been receiving all the correspondence and information being sent to other parties on RAC. Then Eric Hodgins of the Region of Waterloo chimed in. He too is in a similar boat. He doesn't feel the need to receive each and every monthly Progress Report but he would like all the other correspondence, e-mails, letters, memorandum etc. So why is this so embarrassing? This is exactly FOUR Years after the start of RAC. No wonder there are no questions of Delegates and way too few questions of their fellow members on RAC when they make presentations. The parties are mostly in the dark. In my opinion, as planned and hoped for. No more nasty interrogations by well informed citizens who long ago refused to drink the Kool Aid.

Ramin misstated the timing as to when it was acknowledged that the 2028 deadline was not going to happen. CPAC first and the Woolwich Council said so in May and June 2012. Six months later Conestoga Rovers crowed about their recent determination that the current remediation regieme would not do the job hence they were going to TRIPLE their off-site pumping AND use In Situ Chemical Oxidation in various hot spots around Elmira. Ramin incorrectly suggested that this breakthrough was in 2015.

Ramin also suggested that Lanxess and the MOE/MECP were going to "renegotiate" the Control Order demanding the 2028 deadline. Ramin stated this as if it were a mere minor technicality. It is not. It has been the basis of every environmental decision over the last thirty years. Citizens have advised CRA, Uniroyal, and the MOE that they weren't doing enough. Lanxess should be charged for not living up to their ordered responsibilities just as Uniroyal, Crompton, and Chemtura should have been. What a pathetic joke the MOE truly are.

All of this is why both the MOE/MECP and Chemtura bailed on public CPAC meetings after the new Woolwich Council were elected in October 2014. They conspired with Sandy and Mark in order to be able to continue running the public show and pretending that all was good and under control when it never has been. CPAC publicly held their feet to the fire and would not let them get away with their puffery and bulls... .

Thursday, September 5, 2019


RAC meeting at 3 pm. in Woolwich Council Chambers. Be there or be square. Oh my, I guess that last comment may be giving away my age. Overall I believe that TAG are doing a much better job than RAC. This unfortunately is not going to get much accomplished as TAG were intentionally set up to play second, third, or fourth fiddle to RAC. RAC consist of the old "stakeholders" i.e. bureaucrats and politicians who had drifted away from active involvement from about 1999 until September 2015 when Sandy Shantz sweet talked them into coming back, at the very least, for appearances sake. This includes the GRCA and the Region of Waterloo who noticeably and coincidentally (?) were both absent at the last RAC meeting in April of this year.

Lanxess and the MOE were present and do not be fooled, they do not have to lift a finger to follow the advice given to them by RAC. Yes if RAC were as proactive and as reasonably opinionated as TAG it would put pressure on the company and the MOE/MECP to at least move a little in the direction that a combined RAC and TAG insisted upon. As it is now however RAC don't even give TAG or the attending public a hint of where they stand. They don't have to as other than verbal Delegations from the public (i.e. me occasionally) there are absolutely no questions from the public accepted. That is just like TAG and a disgrace that may eventually bite all the guilty parties including Woolwich Township who set it up.

TAG are represented on RAC and as such they are able to publicly express the concerns that they have both discussed at TAG meetings as well as provided RAC in writing. At the last meeting Lanxess staff provided considerable information on the Creek Investigation, Contaminants of Potential Concern, and the Conceptual Site Model for the Canagagigue Creek. Tiffany Svensson responded with a few good questions but overall I suggest that there is no serious debate, discussion, or argument to Lanxess's position which is exactly what they, the MOE/MECP, and Woolwich wanted when they removed CPAC and the public from flawed but vastly superior public consultation back in June 2015.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Residents raise a stink about odour in Preston". This article actually appears to be taken from the Cambridge Times newspaper and their reporter Bill Doucet. Here are my hard earned insights regarding the MOE, air polluters, and either public nuisance or public health threats from air emissions.

1. The MOE and the polluter will lie to the public about anything and everything.

2. Neither of those parties usually give a fig about public health including the health of children and other highly susceptible individuals to unhealthy or toxic air.

3. They care about politics and money first, second, third, fourth, fifth etc.

4. Go back to 1. and reread the first three insights.

One of my favourite lies in Elmira was that it's only an odour or a smell. It can't be toxic. This article has a number of questionable statements from the company involved. For example after thirty years involvement in Elmira air and water issues I've never heard of "nitrate of water vapour". That is either an error by the reporter or bulls... from the company. We are advised that the company does paint stripping and that "ovens are used in the stripping process" with hot gases being discharged into the air. Well paint itself has been toxic for decades granted the "carrier" of the pigments used to be highly volatile and toxic solvents. Latex paint is much safer however without a formal analysis who knows what kind of paint they are stripping and or even whether the stripped paint is released as particulates into the air which is very unhealthy.

Whatever is being discharged, residents are being exposed to it whether or not they can smell it. Human smell is not particularly sensitive and hence unhealthy levels can sometimes not be smelled by most people. The company also does "hook cleaning" whatever that might be. They state that they remove all coatings. Again what exactly are the coatings? There are resins, paints, stains, and all kinds of possible toxic compounds that may be involved. If the company has absolutely nothing to hide then distribute a list of all compounds they use or handle within their facility to the public.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


Without investigation and without reasonable explanation would be the best description of the Lanxess/MOE response to the suggestion/allegation that at some point in time (likely 1991-92) an Interceptor Trench was constructed on the east side of the Uniroyal Chemical property for the purpose of diverting westward flowing groundwater southwards and eastwards off the Uniroyal property. The visual appearance of the various satellite photos is that this alleged Interceptor Trench hooks into the pipe that discharges into the north end of the Stroh Drain, Ditch and Berm (SDDB).

Various reasons were given by Chemtura Canada including that the satellite photos merely showed a livestock fence or later it was suggested that it was some sort of wildlife fence to keep critters of whatever kind away from the former east side pits. The reasons were weak at best and required some kind of evidence or further explanation. Neither has occurred.

The Ontario MOE (Steve Martindale) gave a verbal, modest defence of the fence idea. It too hardly seemed persuasive. No response in writing has been received by either the company or the MOE on this important issue. An Interceptor Trench is a below ground trench with a pipe in it and small holes in the top of the pipe to allow groundwater to infiltrate the pipe. The slope is such on the east side that groundwater could gravity flow the length of the apparent pipe all the way over to the Stroh property.

Keep in mind that official drawings and text have been found from late 1991 that had been submitted to the Environmental Appeal Board on behalf of Uniroyal Chemical suggesting the construction of this Trench in order to stop the direct flow of contaminated groundwater from the east side of the site into the Canagagigue Creek on the Uniroyal property.

This is a bizarre situation in line with so much more that is bizarre regarding the cleanup of this site. In the future I expect that citizens both local and across Canada will shake their heads at what has passed for public consultation and cleanup in Elmira, Ontario.