Friday, January 10, 2020


The title above is the same title in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record. This unfortunately is not remotely a good news story. This contaminated site should have been cleaned up decades ago rather than hiding behind weak environmental laws allowing contaminated sites to just sit while the owners refuse to do regular groundwater, soil and air monitoring. The chemical involved included trichloroethylene (TCE) which has a very long history of human health injury and death.

For the neighbours I sincerely hope that their discomfort has been solely one of aesthetics from a lack of grass cutting and snow blowing to simply the sight of the deteriorating building. I am not confident of that however due to the nature of TCE being what is known as a DNAPL chemical. This stands for Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquid. Chemicals of this type can literally stay in the subsurface and slowly dissolve into the groundwater at well above health standards. The TCE dissolved in the groundwater moves over time and can also volatilize into a gas which via a process known as vapour intrusion can enter basements and cause major health problems. This is what happened in Cambridge, Ontario as well as many other locations in Canada and the U.S.

I do not for one second believe that the Ontario MOE/MECP took any serious steps to protect local Kitchener residents of Shanley St. from this potentially lethal situation.

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