Saturday, February 29, 2020


TAG-Technical Advisory Committee

Tiffany Svensson, TAG Chair, indicated that she and TAG would like to see confirmatory samples taken in the Stroh Drain. While that is an optimistic opening comment there are some issues. Firstly it could have and should have been done more than five years ago. Do you maybe think that the delay and avoidance to do so just might indicate corruption, collusion or simple, blatant, self-serving groups and persons in charge looking to cover their

Secondly I have been focusing on the terminology of "Stroh Drain, Ditch and Berm (SDDB)" for a reason. It's because the liars and other twits in charge are always looking to deflect the message from citizens and stakeholders. Yes you might find high levels of dioxin/furans and DDT in the sediments of the Stroh Drain. Or not. Both my map and my terminology make it clear that the issues include more than just the sediments in the bottom of the Stroh Drain. My map, submitted to TAG, makes it clear that the likely "sink" of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) exists in the soils to the east of the SDDB. The SDDB possibly may have been constructed partially to help protect the "sink" of POPs from erosion caused by the flooding Canagagigue Creek which submerges the area during very heavy storms.

Sebastian (TAG) would like a formal written response from Lanxess on the matter. To date nothing.

Tiffany suggested that she would like some kind of written status update on the SDDB from the Ontario Ministry of Environment. To date nothing. She also has advised that my written Delegation to TAG will be sent to both Lanxess and the MECP/MOE.

Dustin Martin (TAG) suggested that if certain Contaminants of Potential Concern (COPC) are in the aquifer then why wouldn't they also be in the creek. I like his approach. He also stated that while not politically correct nevertheless dilution is still the solution to pollution in many instances.Tiffany also suggested that the loss of on-site containment has not been adequately discussed. She is correct whether it be the loss of containment in the municipal drinking water aquifer or in the shallow aquifer (UA1).

Finally Dustin suggested that he would like to see a rationale for E7 "pulse" pumping. This could include how long the well will be shut down and how long it will be pumping. Pumping well W9 still has no re startup date.

Friday, February 28, 2020


The meeting ended with another Webinar regarding Human Health Risk Assessment's (HHRA). There was an admission that even though one of the goals of a HHRA is negligible cancer risk, nevertheless additive health risks from synergistic chemicals present is possible. Also there are no health standards or criteria for multiple chemical exposure simultaneously. Other interesting points for me included that sometimes the gentleman presenting the HHRA prefers to use U.S. EPA (IRIS) data and numbers than those of Health Canada. The U.S. criteria etc. are more stringent again in some cases. Also every carginogenic chemical can also cause non carcinogenic health effects. Another interesting fact is that most contaminated sites HHRA's are looking for chronic not acute health risks. Hmm, that could be interpreted a number of different ways. Also of interest is that the fastest exposure method to reach target tissues (i.e. specific organs etc.) is by inhalation. Faster than either direct skin contact or ingestion. My last comment on HHRA's is this: I believe that an impartial scientist, expert etc. who has no conflicts of interest or personal stake in the issue can and will produce a document of accuracy and value. Conversely it is an abomination for any party with skin in the game to be in charge of either an HHRA or an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). The possibilities of a self-serving document (HHRA) that minimizes exposures, health effects, scopes and ignores numerous chemicals and or manipulates assumptions or subjective, allegedly professional decisions are far too great. In the current instance whereby Uniroyal/Lanxess and their consultants are in charge of the entire process with barely minimal supervision from the Ministry of Environment (MECP) and only token and impotent public consultation; then the process is both shameful and a farce. It is pure "greenwashing" at its worst.

Thursday, February 27, 2020


The title above is certainly a broad statement and I have no doubt that there are numerous exceptions. That said an article in today's Waterloo Region Record does leave a sour taste in one's mouth. Firstly though I need to point out the following: often articles in the on-line Record do not show up in my morning edition hard copy Record delivered to my door and equally as often articles show up in my hard copy Record that do not get into the on-line Record copy. This is simply to explain why I include a link to some of the articles in the Record newspaper (& others) that I am commenting on and not to others. There simply isn't a link to do so with.

The article today in my hard copy Record is titled "Bayer chair steps down amid Roundup battle" and is written by Ruth Bender of the Wall Street Journal. The chair is Mr. Werner Wenning and he has made some disconcerting comments regarding his and the company's attitude and approach to lawsuits against them for the popular (and profitable) herbicide known as Roundup. To date Bayer has lost three of these lawsuits as the jury believed that Roundup was the cause of cancer in the plaintiffs. Mr. Wenning's statements to me reflect good corporate thinking (versus human decency) when he advises that Bayer are making progress "...from managing the legal battle to integrating Monsanto and restructuring its other businesses.". Mr. Wenning further states "We have made and continue to make progress in handling the legal issues in the U.S.".

Maybe I'm just an old stick in the mud. There was a time when companies at least went through the motions of pretending that their businesses had something to do with the public good. That those companies valued their customers and would never, ever introduce products that could possibly harm them or their families. Maybe it's not all bad that those hypocritical days are behind us?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


The title of the February 14, 2020 article in the Waterloo Region Record, written by Jeff Outhit, is "Judge blasts child protection worker, police in ruling". The sub-title to the story is "Judge dismisses evidence and acquits couple to protect their privacy rights in scathing ruling". In U.S. law (and television) the principle is sometimes referred to as "fruit of the poisoned branch (or tree). Essentially it means that just because an illegal or unconstitutional search of a person or property yields some sort of criminal evidence, that search does not then become legal, ethical or morally acceptable. In Canada and the United States citizens have the right not to be subject to illegal search or seizure. There must be proper and compelling evidence first prior to any police intervention. Proper and compelling evidence does NOT include tips from the public nor does it include police merely suspecting criminal activity from an individual. Tips or other "information" must be confirmed through non intrusive investigation or independent confirmation from other sources.

In this specific case the child protection worker (Chuck Dasilva) heard that a five year old boy might have seen a gun. That was it! He then, with police accompaniment, went to a home to inspect the home. He had no warrant from a judge ordering a search of the home. Police later returned with what was described as an "unlawful" warrant to search the residence. While they did find evidence of illegal drugs and replica guns, there was no real gun present. The judge in the case threw out all the evidence as having been illegally obtained. This is not the first time Waterloo Regional Police Officers have obtained evidence illegally or improperly nor the first time that they have been publicly criticized for it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


The Region of Waterloo Annual (Drinking ) Water Reports are being advertised in local newspapers as being available this Friday, February 28, 2020. The annual municipal drinking water reports for last year (2019) actually are already on-line for Kitchener and Waterloo. Cambridge did not seem to have theirs available yet nor could I find Woolwich Township's. Keep in mind that the Regional Annual Reports encompass all three cities as well as the four Townships (Woolwich, Wellsley, North Dumphries and Wilmot) and cover much more than the municipal ones. The municipal reports essentially cover that for which they are responsible such as local distribution issues including lead, bacteria (E.Coli/Coliforms), THMs (trihalomethanes) and HAA (Haloacetic Acids).

While these reports as mandated by the province of Ontario Clean Water Act are very helpful, they are still lacking in many aspects. The Region have improved their defining of various acronyms such as NTU, Free Chlorine, MF, CT etc. but more could still be done. Also including the Ontario Drinking Water Standard along with each industrial contaminant tested for, is long overdue. There are also dozens to hundreds more of these industrial contaminants such as solvents as well as agricultural contaminants (pesticides) that simply are not being reported in these reports. Perhaps the Region are testing for them but they certainly are not telling the public about them. This would include NDMA (a huge contaminant in Elmira and probably elsewhere). At the same time the municipalities also seem to be avoiding some parameters such as asbestos fibres in the water courtesy of old asbestos water pipes still in use. Lastly I would love to see actual concentrations of all contaminants in the raw water whether from wells (groundwater) or from the Grand River. Of course politically that could be a nightmare as politicians would be called upon to explain where the various crap is coming from and why don't they stop it at source.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Offsite well pumping as stated in the Lanxess January 2020 Progress Report is in the crapper again. The total off-site pumping of all wells is somewhere around 55 litres per second which is about the same as it was in late 2012 when Chemtura determined that they would have to TRIPLE the volumes of off-site pumping in order to meet the 2028 deadline for remediation of the Elmira Aquifers. I'm beginning to wonder if they have thrown in the towel and are just running out the clock now.

Well E7 missed its' mandated pumping volume by a small amount this month. However we now have the story that "pulse" pumping is supposed to actually increase the amount of NDMA being pulled from the sub-surface in the area of E7 at the south end of Elmira. In other words they are going to shut the well down for periods of time and then pump it intermittently allegedly then removing more contamination from the aquifers. Oh boy that sure has a funny smell to it. This I can say: we the public have been fed a pile of horse manure for over thirty years now. We have been manipulated, deceived and out right lied to on occasion. Why in the name of God should we believe a damn thing that Uniroyal/Crompton/ Chemtura and now Lanxess say to us? Their partners in pollution, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, generally are not much better.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


The TAG meeting next Thursday will incorporate both the normal meeting as well as the third part of the Webinar dealing with Risk Assessments. I think that the normal meeting is first with the Webinar to follow. To date I have found the Risk Assessment Webinar's informative while at the same time I have seen no evidence that they are immune from self-serving or dishonest manipulation by parties lacking scruples. In other words they can be properly and honestly done or they can be mere "greenwashing" exercises.

Under 3. New Business , 3.1.1 we have "Alan Marshall - Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm (SDDB) - Dioxin-DDT Repository". As it is on the Agenda and as all members will have received an electronic version of the paperwork I submitted to TAG, then I presume some discussion will ensue. It is my hope that the much more legible ground surface contour lines will confirm the location and likelihood of a "sink" of hydrophobic Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) namely dioxins/furans, DDT and more on the Stroh property (just off the Lanxess south-east corner).

Under 4. Detailed Discussion there are three subjects namely 4.1 ...October 25/19 Creek Contaminants of Potential Concern, 4.2 the Ministry of Environment's Email response to that October report and 4.3 Creek Revised Conceptual Site Model Nov. 25/19 report. All three of these Agenda items are very important stepping stones for the upcoming Risk Assessment of the Creek.

Under 5. Correspondence and Documents received there is only the January 2020 Lanxess Monthly Progress Report. TAG member Linda Dickson has been well presenting the highs and lows of these monthly reports for some time now.

The last item on the Agenda is 6. Next Meeting and RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) is scheduled next for April 2,2020 at 6:00 pm. The next TAG meeting after Feb. 27/20 has yet to be determined.

Friday, February 21, 2020


Below is the right side (east side) of the south-east corner of Lanxess/Stroh property that was not included in Wednesday's post here. This is the result of another photograph taken (left side cropped) and posted here. Essentially this Blog format limits the width of photos that can be posted.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


There are three locations in regards to our drinking water. There is our raw water as both groundwater as well as surface water namely the Grand River. Then there is our treated drinking water that exits the various water treatment plants in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. Lastly there is the water in our distribution systems which is under municipal control. Unfortunately the municipalities are solely focused on bacterial removal. This mostly means dosing various local systems with additional chlorine when required to keep bacterial growth minimized.

With the exception of bacteria (Total Coliform & E.Coli) we do not receive any information from the Region of Waterloo concerning raw water contaminants. This includes solvents, pesticides, herbicides, salt, NDMA, PFAS (per & poly fluorinated alkyl substances) and other industrial chemicals.

Our water treatment plants successfully remove an awful lot of these various contaminants although certainly not everything. They do not remove salt in the water which can be very bad for people with heart conditions. They reduce but certainly do not eliminate solvents particularly trichloroethylene (TCE). They also reduce but not eliminate Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round Up. Unfortunately our treatment systems can also produce Trihalomethanes, TrihaloAcetic Acids and even NDMA depending on the treatment used. All of these have negative health implications. As worrisome is the list of various industrial and petroleum based contaminants testing results that are not even published in the Region's Annual (Drinking Water) Reports such as toluene, xylenes and NDMA.

Finally we have the municipalities area of influence, the distribution system. They are not doing a good job. Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Elmira just like most distribution systems throughout the country initially used both lead and asbestos pipe to distribute our drinking water. Exactly how stupid are they and our authorities over the last 100 years? My recollection is that some scholars have actually partially blamed the fall of the Roman Empire on mass lead poisoning from their lead water pipes used for distributing water obtained from Aquaducts. Currently in Elmira there is still both lead and asbestos pipes carrying water to homes. That is both disgusting and disgraceful.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


These three pictures are the followup of yesterday's posting here. With the able assistance of both Sarah and Lisa (Woolwich Township) this information is being sent to the TAG (Technical Advisory Group) members. They are getting an e-mail which provides a better photograph than here on The last two pictures are identical because yours truly is not terribly computer or apparently Blogger literate. So far I haven't figured out how to get more of the right side of the picture in which would show the rest of the ground surface contour lines numbers (i.e. elevation). I will attempt further technical assistance later today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


By going to the year 2019 in the Archives section of this Blog (right hand side) and then scrolling down to July one can get to my July 17, 2019 post titled "Time For A Third Map". At the end of the text is a colour photograph of my large (3'x 2 1/2') map originally produced in 2014 which shows the entire east side of the Uniroyal/Lanxess property as well as the Stroh Ditch, Drain and Berm (SDDB). Unfortunately even though the ground surface contour lines are drawn and numbered on my map, the photograph does not pick them up clearly, especially the numbers (eg. 347.0 meters above sea level).

I am in the process of correcting this and providing TAG members (& interested CPAC members) with a similar, colour 11"x17" map with the ground surface contour lines clearly marked and numbered. This plus some text on the back explains what the different arrows (orange, red) on the map represent as well as a legend indicating what various short forms such as RPE, RPW and TPE stand for.

My expectation is that this map and accompanying text will be a form of necessary spoon feeding of important information to all with legitimate concerns about the state of cleanup and non cleanup of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) still entering the Canagagigue Creek. This map as it has for nearly the last six years is a smoking gun proving that the bulk of the POPs which overflowed from the east side pits (RPE 1-5) gravity flowed over to the Stroh farm on the east side of the Uniroyal/Lanxess property. While it is not citizens' responsibility to produce evidence of the exact location of an off the polluter's site, probable "sink" of POPs such as dioxins/furans and DDT, nevertheless that is exactly what this map does. I refer to a "necessary spoon feeding of important information". This is because neither Lanxess nor the Ministry of Environment have provided TAG members with the appropriate ground surface contour lines drawn by either the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) or by Uniroyal/Lanxess's consultants, Conestoga Rovers (CRA). Those maps will confirm the contour lines that I have drawn and then added flow direction arrows as the liquid wastes gravity flowed downhill southerly and easterly over to the Stroh farm property.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Gotcha with that title above (I hope). At least I've got you started on today's posting. Recently here I've written on some of the environmental issues that have been intentionally avoided, buried, circumvented, and ignored by Lanxess Canada and their partners in pollution, The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), affectionately known by me and others in the know as the Ministry of Expanded Corporate Pollution (MECP). These earlier posts include February 12/20, January 22 & 23, 2020 and can be accessed through the Archives on the right side of my Elmira Advocate Blog.

Lanxess and Ministry of Environment (MOE/MECP) issues include ridiculously high Method Detection Limits (MDL) for contaminants in the Canagagigue Creek which effectively force hundreds of phony Non-Detects (ND) in their sediment and soil sampling. Issues include their inappropriate reliance on shovels versus proper core samplers to sample sediments in "armoured" (i.e. coarse gravel, stones, hardpan?) areas of the creek. As stated previously sample sediments where you are most likely to get hydrophobic compounds bound to them, namely the finer sediments.

Other issues that have been so ignored and buried include the Interceptor Trench proposed to be built in 1991 in a document submitted to the Environmental Appeal Board hearing by Brian Beatty (Morrison & Beatty) on behalf of Uniroyal Chemical. Aerial and satellite photos show clearly some sort of man made sub-surface structure running from the west side of Uniroyal's east side pits southwards past all the pits and then jogging south-east towards the Stroh Drain, Ditch and Berm (SDDB) which was built in 1983. I believe it likely that the underground drainage/piping runs into the corrugated steel pipe which discharges into the extreme north end of the SDDB.

GP-1 was discovered in old photos (1980s) to have been relocated from its original position on the north-east side of the diagonal high ridge of ground which runs in a north-west to south-east direction to the south-west side of the ridge. This is relevant as an approximate $3.5 million remediation took place in the probably phony location of GP-1. Makes me wonder how expensive the cleanup would have to be if they did it in the right location. This issue has totally been ignored and buried by all the guilty parties. These last two paragraphs illustrate how when the guilty parties bury issues and refuse to discuss them they fall off the discussion table. TAG and RAC don't mention them and yours truly who discovered both of them, sometimes forgets them simply because they aren't included in current discussions, debates and meetings. Mind control perhaps but sure as hell issue control.

Friday, February 14, 2020


Saskatchewan has recently suffered through two derailings of oil tank cars and who can forget Lac Megantic back in 2013. It seems clear that pipelines are "safer" than rail transport. But...pipelines can and do leak. Generally they don't explode and then produce massive air pollution however. I'm trying to recall if the massive spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan five to ten years ago was from a leaking pipeline or not.

The problem is this ...climate change. Either declaring climate change an impending world disaster was the right move or not. If the consensus is that indeed climate change is upon us, it is man made, and we needed to be acting decades ago, then our future action should be obvious. Yes there will be major pain in weaning the world off of oil. Financial pain, economic pain, physical pain, cold in winter and heat in summer all will be increased in the short run. The problem is that we've already delayed for too many decades and now the piper has to be paid. The alternative is essentially human annihilation.

So do we bite the bullet and not only stop oil pipeline construction now but actually reduce our insatiable consumption of gas and oil? If not then our children and grandchildren may be going a lot hungrier and colder than we will by merely reducing our consumption of oil products now. Rail sucks but the damage and pain only increases every day for future generations that we continue on our current path of oil production, export, and consumption.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


That's the problem right there. The Ministry of Environment (MECP) and or a hundred consulting companies can claim that the waters in Mill Creek (Cambridge) are as clean as a whistle or perhaps they might claim that the water is cleaner than all criteria tested for. Meanwhile the dumb mink, trout, ducks and other wildlife are avoiding the area because of perhaps unmeasured odours, irritation to their skin, eyes, ears, nose or any one of a hundred factors that the MECP have not or can not measure. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following front page story titled "We want the documentation".

Well as usual the MECP aren't doing themselves any good by refusing to release the report that they commissioned. That said that report even if it says exactly what the MECP claim, namely that the consultant's surface water assessment summary reported contaminant concentrations "below guidelines protective of aquatic health" really doesn't prove a whole lot. Which contaminants specifically? Every single component found in jet fuel or only the compounds that the MECP think are most toxic? Secondly the MECP are referencing surface water "from April". The spill was four months earlier so is April when the sampling was done or when the report was published? Also surface water testing is important but what about the sediments in the bottom of the creek where benthic organisms live and eventually are eaten by fish and other predators? What about soil samples beside the creek? The local resident, Mr. Johnston, made a good point about mink getting fuel oil on their fur and going into their holes to die.

I wonder if any air samples were taken and if so when. Hydrocarbon fuel contamination is toxic whether eaten, absorbed through the skin or inhaled. The article mentions that the lighter hydrocarbons would evaporate. At the time of the spill any local wildlife would have been exposed through the air even if they weren't exposed by direct water contact or later ingestion of exposed creek life.

If the Ministry of Environment (MECP) continue to stonewall local residents, the general public and the Friends of Mill Creek by refusing to release their publicly funded "shoreline treatment report" from their consultant, they will be assisting all of us who publicly claim that our so called democracy is a sham. When publicly funded reports concerning the ecological health of a public (and private) contaminated area are not released to either the private nearby landowners or the concerned public then we have to ask who the MECP are protecting. Is their job to 100% restore a site after a spill (likely impossible) or is their job just to go through the motions and to reassure the public that their government are doing their jobs? Perhaps the best possible scenario is to minimize the damage through an immediate cleanup followed by natural processes that could take years to fully restore the natural environment. Whatever the scenario the one thing that our governments must do is stop hiding facts and information from the public. Come clean and let us know the truth.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


The one word answer is "Delay". The three word answer is "Delay", "Delay", "Delay". There is however much more than that. It includes local political control, however accomplished. It also includes media control, however accomplished. Our local media suffered a terrible setback in the summer of 2015 when the Elmira Independent closed it's doors. Our one remaining LOCAL media (Observer) seems quite obviously constrained in their coverage of anything to do with Chemtura/Lanxess. Yes they have done good things in covering the political scandals and fiascos revolving around creative election finance reporting and as well council misbehaviour involving local environmentalists in 2016 namely Dr. Dan Holt and myself. They also covered well the removal of CPAC in 2015 by Woolwich Council (i.e. Sandy & Mark) along with the manufactured "crisis" to justify it. What they are reusing to do is to cover ANY of the public RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) and TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meetings. If they want to justify that by claiming that those two groups are impotent, then fine, do so publicly and loudly!

With that as a background the rest of the polluter's strategy is much simpler. They simply ignore criticism whether constructive or not. They often don't respond to it in writing. I've lost count of how many excellent TAG criticisms have either gone unanswered or at best answered along the lines of well let's see what further develops before we make any adjustments etc. As far as my written comments to the MOE, Lanxess, GHD, TAG, RAC I usually don't get either verbal or written comments. Regarding the Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm (SDDB) I was permitted an informal, after the TAG meeting discussion with Lanxess and GHD. Of course these discussions neither made the Minutes nor the newspaper for the reasons mentioned above.

As far as testing the soils, sediments etc. in and around the SDDB, Lanxess and GHD make excuses, including ridiculous ones and refuse outright. Meanwhile it's been so obvious for decades that the polluter's "regulator" has been "captured" that I almost didn't include that as part of the Chemtura/Lanxess strategy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


The story for this meeting was carried in the December 5, 2013 edition of the Elmira Independent and written by Editor Gail Martin. What a devastating loss to Woolwich Twp. and the residents of Elmira when the Independent closed less than two years later.

It was an unusual meeting as the pair of co-optees spoke (bragged?) about a recent trip Pat McLean had taken to Alberta. This was most likely yet another all expenses paid junket for the National Advisory Council of the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) of which Chemtura were a member and recipient of *Responsible Care from them, oddly enough with the support of Pat and Susan. Also note that while CPAC from (2010-August 2015) permitted both the public to speak as well as the former CPAC members who got bounced by Mayor Todd Cowan's council, the next incarnation of public consultation has refused to let either the public speak at RAC and TAG public meetings or the previous CPAC members who also got bounced by Mayor Sandy Shantz and her council. This will eventually bite both Woolwich Council and Chemtura/Lanxess in the ass when either or both make further false claims about appropriate public consultation having taken place.

Pat advised that the petrochemical industry in Alberta have a number of superior communication strategies with the community in regards to air quality monitoring. These include a website, the use of Facebook and other methods. Pat also urged Chemtura to follow through on past promises including fence-line air monitoring (still not done) and that they address the ten year old July 2003 Request For Action prepared by CPAC 's Soil & Water Committee which I had done the bulk of research for. Many items of that still are not done and others done improperly.

All in all it was a brazen performance by a brazen pair who while they maintain overall public approval, the list is shrinking as their self-serving behaviour has become apparent to more and more honest persons.

Monday, February 10, 2020


The article /opinion piece in the Record shows a picture of a driver using his cell phone. For me cell phones simply are the physical embodiment of what is and is not going through a driver's mind. I have long railed against distracted driving although I've called it HUA. Head Up A.. . Literally for the last fourty years or more I've complained about drivers who obviously aren't focused on their driving. They are talking to their passengers while turning their heads towards them. They are looking at newspapers, they are staring out their side windows looking for addresses while driving forwards and they do not react to vehicles, dogs or pedestrians who step out in front of them until they are right on top of them. The article in the Waterloo Region Record is titled ``It`s time to treat distracted driving the way we treat drunk driving``.

In the past drivers who hit parked vehicles, trees or other stationery objects have lied claiming oh a squirrel, tree, dog or cat jumped out in front of them and they swerved to miss the critter and ran into the stationery item. Police could administer a breathe test but impaired driving has always been a small fraction of the causes of distracted driving.

Other drivers who run into moving cars blame the other vehicle. Essentially they claim that the vehicle or pedestrian came out of nowhere and they didn`t see them until it was too late. Occasionally that can happen but for some drivers the truth is that they hear the impact before they even see or realize it`s imminence.

This article claims that the No. 1 cause of deaths on Ontario roads in 2018 was distracted driving. The article states that in 2016 distracted driving contributed to 21 percent of fatal collisions. They quote Transport Canada`s National Collision Database for these statistics. News flash folks. Distracted driving has always been the major cause of all accidents, fatal or otherwise. People don`t pay full attention to what they are doing behind the wheel. They never have and until they have a very close call they won`t. Some never do even after an accident. The lack of enforcement of so called `minor`infractions such as failing to signal ahead of turns, drifting over lanes, changing multiple lanes simultaneously while in traffic and yes even unnecessarily driving below the speed limit on roadways also contributes to drivers paying only partial attention to what they are doing.

This article wants distracted driving treated for what it is- ``an intentional act that jeopardizes lives``. I often point out a particular driver to my wife when I am driving. I tell her to watch this car for the next couple of minutes. Invariably that driver will continue their distracted and poor driving including failing to signal, stopping other than at red lights or stop signs, drifting over lane markings and more. Rarely do they make but one mistake alone. They are an accident waiting to happen and it will eventually catch up to them and unfortunately others will also suffer.

Saturday, February 8, 2020


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Brantford reports hydrocarbon spill into creek". The creek discharges into the Grand River however it does so downriver of Brantford's intake pipe which provides their raw drinking water. While it appears that various authorities such as the GRCA and MECP (MOE) as well as downriver municipalities were informed promptly apparently the public had to wait a week before they were so advised. While that is not good nevertheless it pales in comparison to Sewergate in Hamilton which refers to the raw sewage discharging through a malfunctioning gate that ended up in the Hamilton Harbour area. That ongoing spill wasn't reported to the public for nearly a year after it was first discovered. Similarly there have been incidents of spills in Elmira that were never reported to anybody or equally bad were actually denied by the guilty party when the authorities came knocking on their doors.

The source of the hydrocarbon spill is suspected to be a former Stelco Fasteners manufacturing plant which is currently undergoing remediation. Apparently a pile of contaminated soil was not adequately covered and likely rainfall had mobilized the hydrocarbon contaminants which flowed into the nearby creek. Clearly there was a failure in regards to best remediation practices, especially with a creek so close nearby.

There had been another spill noted a week earlier in which a red substance was noticed in the Mohawk Canal. It was believed that a car involved in an accident ended up in the canal. My guess would be that the red substance was power steering fluid.

Overall media coverage of these events is important as people realize that eventually so called "contained" substances will end up in the natural environment. Ongoing media coverage greatly assists in raising awareness among us that constant vigilance is required to nip these small but ongoing spills in the bud.

Friday, February 7, 2020


Last evening's Webinar on Risk Assessments was worthwhile as I and TAG members learned about some of the inputs, intents, calculations (formulas) and more that make up proper Risk Assessments. At the end we were reminded of the intense necessity to have an accurate Conceptual Site Model (CSM) and an accurate Conceptual Exposure Model(CEM). Without either one the entire Risk Assessment is called into question (i.e. doomed/a sham/ etc.) We were also advised that Risk Assessment's need to be defensible in order to have any credibility.

We were again focused on the CSM, followed by the Risk Paradigm, and then the Protection Goals, the Framework and finally the Toxicity of Chemicals. The Risk Paradigm is simply three overlapping circles of Contaminants, Receptors and Exposure Pathways. Where the three circles overlap is the Risk involved by the Contaminants following the Exposure Pathway and affecting the Receptors. The Protection Goals vary dramatically between Human and Ecological Risk Assessments. With human beings it's all about protecting the most vulnerable such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and mothers etc. With Ecological Risk Assessments it's about protecting the populations of wildlife not the indiviual members. With invertebrates and plants it's about protecting communities not populations or individuals. The one exception is listed species at risk which receive greater protections. The Toxicity of Chemicals basically discussed the difference between Threshold and non-Threshold chemicals. The dose is the poison for many chemicals but nor for carcinogenic, mutagenic chemicals etc. Non-Threshold chemicals literally can cause adverse affects at any concentration or dose.

I was impressed to learn that many of the numbers plugged into the various equations are provided by Health Canada. In other words all the various parameters in the various equations are not the purvue of the polluter and his consultants. Certain things like the amounts of soil ingested by children, the fraction of time receptors are exposed, bioavailability of specific chemicals and time outdoors that children are exposed to dust are pre-determined by Health Canada hence limiting fudging of those numbers.

Of huge interest to me was the insistence of the importance of practical and useful Method Detection Limits. This was emphasized, especially the fact that the lowest detection limits possible are required and that they MUST BE BELOW THE STANDARDS AND CRITERIA provided by the provinces or the federal government. Certainly the TAG Chair and members all picked up on that and recalled the ridiculously high detection limits used in the Canagagigue Creek study by GHD which were dozens to hundreds of times higher than various criteria.

Finally it was also made clear that human exposure is predicted not measured. In other words tissue samples are not collected from potential human receptors to see if indeed they have accumulated the contaminants of concern on a particular site. While this is a weakness compared to Ecological Risk Assessments that collect tissue samples and have formal Tissue Residue Guidelines, clearly this is neither practical, acceptable nor ethical with humans.

This was a very enlightening Webinar and I'm glad I attended.

Thursday, February 6, 2020


I think that it's a three part series as we've already had about a 35 minute web presentation already and there's more to come after tonite. The Webinar is being brought to us (TAG & public) courtesy of TAG (Technical Advisory Group) Chair Tiffany Svensson. I'm doing a little guessing here but I suspect that she may have correctly identified growing concern among the TAG membership with some of the statements and claims coming from Lanxess and their consultants GHD. I base this supposition upon TAG members public and appropriate criticisms of everything from the monthly "Progress Reports" to all kinds of technical reports dealing with the Canagagigue Creek, contaminants of potential concern (COPC), Conceptual Site Models and more.

The Webinars in my opinion to date are extolling the intent, broadness of investigation, scientific validity, and overall positives of Risk Assessments. These Risk Assessments may include Environmental Risk Assessments (ERA) dealing with the natural world and its lifeforms or they can be Human Health Risk Assessments (HHRA). Fifteen or sixteen years ago Elmira & Woolwich residents were treated to a Site Specific HHRA and ERA in regards to the Crompton/Chemtura property in Elmira. They both were a croc. It is my opinion and position based upon experience that the best of programs, plans, blueprints for whatever human endeavour can be grossly mismanaged, manipulated, and bastardized. Where there is a will there is a way.

The third such Webinar will be held at the start of the next formal TAG meeting on Thursday, February 27/20 at 6:30 pm. as well. Despite my skepticism I expect to attend and pay close attention to all three of these Webinars.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


O.K. I'm guilty of somewhat gratuitous poking and prodding of the bear with this next comment. I still prefer calling the MECP the Ministry of Expanded Corporate Pollution. There we have to get a giggle at least once in a while when dealing with these )@(#*$*%&^. Hmm seems to be a bit of a typo there. Truth be told I do understand that employees, especially lower level employees of the MECP, have through good looks, lobbying, connections, good fortune, merit or whatever obtained a government job with security, benefits and wages not commensurate with equivalent private sector jobs. They very likely have families, mortgages, and all the rest of daily expenses that they are responsible for. Giving up one's career/job just because one's employer or their raisn d'etre is a sham, is a huge step. Let's be honest. Somebody else will cheerfully take over the job that you found distasteful. So you ignore the big picture. You ignore what you know are counter productive steps such as conditions, rules and regs laid upon known polluters that will never be implemented and never enforced. You focus solely on your job and your responsibilities. You do them diligently and you do not take undue advantage of sick leave (i.e. when you're not sick) or other perks of your job. You attempt to do a full days work for your wages and you continue to hold your nose each and every time a local known polluter screws up the environment publicly that your office has been "monitoring" for years.

Right now such a polluter is Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura/Lanxess. Each successive company has purchased both the assets and the liabilities of their forerunner. Perhaps it is a testament to the weakness of our environmental laws and their enforcement that companies are so willing apparently to buy a company with such a disgraceful environmental history and remaining environmental liabilities. Currently a Site Specific Risk Assessment is in the cards for the Canagagigue Creek. It's only about thirty or fourty years overdue however the delay has been in order for as much as possible of the polluter's toxins to flow, erode and or be flushed downstream into the Grand River. Then of course so as not to provoke the non-righteous wrath of the polluter, certain concessions must be made. Afterall the MECP/MOE certainly don't have the budget, manpower, legislation or anything else necessary to actually force the polluter into compliance. They are and always have been a paper tiger and everyone involved with them knows it perfectly well. They are there to give the appearance of environmental stewardship. Yes they can be hell on wheels for a small company (like Varnicolor Chemical) if provoked sufficiently. The big boys however are way out of their league and that is and has been so by political intent of our provincial governments whether Liberal or Conservative from day one.

The concessions mentioned in the last paragraph include the MOE accepting junk science and methodologies all beneficial to the polluter (think shovel sampling versus core sampling & Method Detection Limits dozens to hundreds of times higher than legislated criteria and standards). Concessions also include looking with a blind eye to all the other contaminated areas and companies and landfills contributing to the pollution of the Canagagigue Creek in Elmira and downstream. I submitted a list of these companies and sites to Woolwich Council and RAC last year. Then of course there are all the other chemical contaminants from Uniroyal that have been arbitrarily and unilaterally dropped from consideration by Lanxess with hardly a whimper from the MECP/MOE. Finally there are contaminated soils on the Stroh and Martin farms to the east and south of Uniroyal/lanxess that have not been properly examined by Lanxess/GHD/MECP. In fact all parties have blatantly refused to do any testing in specific areas pointed out to them on these farms as being repositories of Uniroyal's overflowing east side pits from the late 1940's until about 1970. All of these Persistent Organic Pollutants bind with soil particles but can be eroded/flushed downstream especially during heavy rainfalls and flooding conditions. In fact both of these farms have areas submerged by the Canagagigue Creek when it is in full flood as it has been more often the last few years. Maybe now you can understand why I so frequently show my distaste for the Ontario MECP/MOE. They are an intentional sham and a joke.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following opinion article by Frank Addario titled "Ford government seeks to return patronage to judge selection". This title contains both good news and bad news. The good news is that allegedly our current judicial (i.e. judges) appointment system is not corrupt (i.e. political at its worst) and the bad news is that (surprise/surprise) some current politicians want a return to the bad old days.

I have long been of the opinion, based upon both personal experience and paying close attention to current events for many decades that the majority of our lawyers have below average ethics/honesty as do the vast majority of our politicians. Therefore how can you possibly appoint an abundance of good, honest, ethical and unbiased judges one from a group whose majority are lacking necessary qualifications (i.e. ethics/honesty etc.) and two when those doing the appointing are even less qualified (i.e. politicians with ethics/honesty and no biases). Oh my goodness but my computer almost shut down when I wrote the words ethics and honesty in the same sentence as politicians.

Based upon the time frame suggested in this article it appears as if the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC) has been around doing good work for about thirty years. The author claims that this committee are far superior than the old pure political appointments of the past. Maybe he's right although I do note that the province (i.e. governing party whether Liberal or Conservative) still appoint roughly half of the members of the public to the JAAC and the rest are appointed by "...the bar and the judiciary.". Hmm this would be the judiciary previously appointed by the Liberal/Conservative parties.

Frankly while there might have been an improvement in the appointments process over the last thirty years based upon merit versus political activity and affiliation it seems still likely that poor candidates have gotten through. If that were not the case then you can bet that smart lawyers (many) would be avoiding the older judges/appointees like the plague in favour of newer/younger appointees. All in all I am not impressed with a system of alleged fairness, honesty, unbiased justice, and rule of law still being in the hands of the most dishonest and unethical (i.e. politicians). There is a reason a particular local, religious group of persons (Mennonites) avoid the courts and prefer to settle grievances among themselves.

Monday, February 3, 2020


I posted here on Monday December 30, 2019 an article titled "A Letter to Woolwich Council, Staff, MOE/MECP, CPAC, Ombudsman etc.". The sub-title was "Sad State Of Public Transparency And Accountability". This morning I sent a followup e-mail to Woolwich Councillors which may also end up going to others as well. Today's e-mail included an Attachment which was an article in last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record titled "Ontario's Ombudsman is more lapdog than watchdog". The Record article was written by Andre Marin who certainly knows what he is talking about in regards to the Ombudsman's office as he held that position from 2005 until 2015. By that time Kathleen Wynne and the governing Liberals had been on the receiving end of far too much criticism (as far as they were concerned) regarding various government bodies and agencies who had at the least under performed their duties according to the Ombudsman's public reports. Hence his mandate was not renewed and he was replaced by the to date unspectacular Paul Dube. Apparently even the Ontario Ombudsman can not fight City Hall indefinitely without paying the consequences.

This is the great truth that so many of our citizens are oblivious to. Democracy is beyond fragile. It is at death's door as the majority of politicians are accomplished liars, deflectors and manipulators. They do not hesitate to "change the narrative", "gild the lily", and "massage the truth" whenever it serves their purposes. They count on not just citizens giving them the benefit of the doubt but even the media tend to be obsequious and respectful towards office holders until at least the particular politician has been caught once too often out and out lying (think D. Trump?).

The purpose of today's e-mail to Woolwich councillors is within the title of this posting above. Woolwich Council and some staff have not been honest with either the public or myself in regards to the methane issues in and around the former Bolender Park Landfill. They have actually accepted a couple of my recommendations for greater monitoring on the north and south sides of the former landfill all the while publicly, falsely, denying almost every fact I presented to them and the public. Hard to have any respect at all for that kind of behaviour. It seems as if they'd rather prove themselves as blatant liars rather than ever admit that either they or their predecessors made mistakes.

Saturday, February 1, 2020


It wasn't just Varnicolor Chemical's can coating compound manufactured inside their now long gone orange building that contributed to NDMA production in soils and groundwater in the aquifers in the south end of Elmira, Ontario. It was also their production of detergents and windshield washer fluids among other products. Last May 7, 2019 I posted an article here titled ""A Water Pistol In A Thunderstorm"- I Think Not". In that posting I indicated Varnicolor Chemical had dumped both dimethylamine as well as dimethylamine waste waters from their orange building into underground vessels designed to allow them to leak into the surrounding soils.

I was aware that Varnicolor had also manufactured various detergents, windshield wiper fluid and other liquid products for sale. How long this went on and what the volumes produced and sold were I do not know. I can however with confidence suggest that if asked the Ontario MOE/MECP would most certainly minimize those volumes to the tiniest amount possible. It turns out that these products are produced using quarternary ammonium salts otherwise known as quarternary amines. Applications for this group of compounds includes disinfectants, surfactants, fabric softeners, shampoos, as well as the previously mentioned detergents and windshield wiper fluid.

The can coating compound was made from dimethylamine, a direct precurser to NDMA. Coating the inside of metal cans was used for corrosion inhibiting purposes. Other amines are also possible precursers to NDMA under the appropriate conditions. This includes acidic environments, presence of nitrates or nitrites etc. In the May 7/2019 posting here I had quoted from a document (Exhibit I) submitted to the Environmental Appeal Board in 1990. It clarified the conditions necessary for spontaneous (exogenously) formed NDMA in the natural environment. This I can say in regards to the volumes of relevant liquid products produced by Varnicolor Chemical. With or without actual production records, the concentrations of chemicals and by-products of detergents, shampoos, surfactants, windshield wiper fluid etc. are significant years after production stopped. These concentrations were found in shallow soils, groundwater, deeper soils (7'-12') as well as within the two buried vessels that received the liquid waste waters from the orange building.

I do not believe for one second that both Uniroyal Chemical and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) did not have this full knowledge in 1990 and I believe that they intentionally have kept it to themselves for the last thirty years. In fact this information may have been the biggest reason why the MOE gave Uniroyal the Indemnity and sweetheart agreement they did in October 1991.