Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Way back on March 7/20 I posted here about the City of Waterloo Annual (drinking) Water Report. These municipal reports focus on distribution issues such as lead, bacteria, chlorine levels etc. versus regional issues including the raw water supply sent to the different municipalities. Unfortunately they totally ignore asbestos fibres in the water from asbestos water pipes. While this is legal because our federal government have a vested interest in ignoring the issue nevertheless our regional and municipal governments should be stepping up. They are not doing so.

The Kitchener Distribution System has some unfortunate surprises. Firstly is page 3 which lists the Adverse Water Quality Incidents (AWQI) reported to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. There are 26 of them during 2019. They include lead exceedances, low chlorine in the distribution system, way too many Total Coliform (bacteria), and even two Boil Water Advisory's (BWA). The Distribution System claims to have found zero E.Coli and one Total Coliform. The maximum Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) however is 500 Coliform Units (CFU) which is too high. Lead results in household/commercial plumbing range as high as 14.5 ug/l which exceeds the criteria of 10 ug/l. The distribution system has a maximum of 28.3 which also well exceeds the criteria of 10. Trihalomethane results are very good (i.e. low) however Haloacetic Acids (HAA) are nowhere to be found. That is not good.

The Cambridge Distribution System in my opinion has fewer nasty surprises at the municipal level. Do recall however the regional reports with various low level solvents in a number of wells with Trichloroethylene (TCE) being the most prevalent. Over $4 million is listed as maintenance expenses for water connections, water mains and hydrants. There were two Adverse Water quality Incidents with one being a very high Sodium result and the other was the presence of Total Coliform in the water. The maximum HPC result was 260 CFU. Lead exceedances were found in plumbing (private presumably) systems but not in the distribution system. In fact there were ten separate instances of lead exceeding one half the provincial criteria with five of those also exceeding the provincial criteria of ten parts per billion (10 ug/l). Both HAAs and THMs were at very good (i.e. low) levels.

Monday, March 30, 2020


The following pumping wells failed to make their Target pumping rates during February 2020. On-site well PW5 was shut down for seven days allegedly for maintenance. Off-Site pumping wells W5A and W5B were shut down for the same length of time also allegedly for maintenance. Of course wells W6A and W6B had their Target rates reduced months ago hence they are now allegedly "achieving" their Target pumping rates. Pumping well W9 continues not to pump at all while a new treatment system is built for it. This well has not been regularly on-line pumping for the last few years due to one failure after another. Lanxess have turned the temporary shutdowns at pumping well E7 into a virtue with their claims that "pulse" pumping actually improves NDMA removal from the groundwater. The long and short of it is that the pumping rates for all the off-site wells eight years ago were far higher than they are today (approx 53 l/sec versus approx. 38 l/sec today). Keep in mind that Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers promised verbally and in writing that they would TRIPLE those pumping rates in order to achieve the mandated 2028 Elmira Aquifers cleanup deadline. As usual the MOE/MECP are simply along for the ride giving approval to this sham of a cleanup.

Tables A.2 and A.4 indicate specific concentrations of chemical contaminants both on and off-site. These concentrations continue to be horrific on site and after twenty-two years of off-site pumping still have some ridiculously high concentrations of chlorobenzene, toluene, NDMA, Carboxin, Mercaptobenzothiazole and more.

Contaminated water is still being discharged from the MISA (Municipal industrial strategy for abatement) system directly into the creek containing Lindane, NDPA and Aniline. The conductivity of this discharged water is also very high.

Surface water issues in the Canagagigue Creek remain as indicated in Table C.2. Over time the higher chemical concentrations downstream due to discharges from the Uniroyal/Lanxess site allegedly have reversed with many higher concentrations upstream than down. Yes NDMA and Toluene averages remain higher downstream but so many other chemicals have higher averages upstream indicating to me that there is still discharges from the Bolender Park Landfill and other upstream sources.

It is very difficult for me to see either any hope whatsoever of achieving cleanup of the Elmira drinking waters by 2028 or of even continuing improvement towards that goal. I think that all parties (Moe/MECP, Lanxess, GHD, Woolwich Twn.) have thrown in the towel but simply aren't telling TAG, the public or the local stakeholders such as CPAC that it's over. At some point expect the MOE/MECP to legalize and legitimize this failure by all the guilty parties.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tues. Aug. 17, 1999

Dear Mr. Marshall,
I want you to know that I respect you alot for taking a stand for the many kids who were abused one way or the other by ... ......... Nobody asked me to write this letter. I saw you on television and I heard about the Judge's ruling. I also want you to know that I disagree with the Judge's ruling. I think the 400,000 dollar fine is absoloutely ridiculous. The court case is over and still, nobody REALLY knows what it was like for me to be in ... ......... class. I doubt that anyone ever will. In short, it was an absololoutely horrible experience. I hate to even think about it. I feel sick to think that ... might go back to teaching. I absoloutely hate to think that some kid might have the same experience as me. No child should be treated with such disrespect. No child should be looked down upon as I was. I remember how small, how helpless I felt. No child should be taught by ... ........ and I pray, every night that no child will ever be taught by ... ........ again. Well Mr. Marshall what you did was very brave and courageous and on behalf of all the other kids who were taught by ... ........ I thank

Page 2



Jennie . .....

1. Judge Riley
2. Waterloo County Board of Education
3. Premiere Mike Harris
4. Ontario College of teachers

Saturday, March 28, 2020


It makes MOE/MECP corruption look like child's play. It makes WSIB and Ontario coverups of the fatal occupational damage to rubber workers look like kindergarten stuff. It even makes the failures and negligence of staff at Kitchener's Prison for Women in regards to the death of Ashley Smith almost look like small potatoes. I am talking about the death while in custody of Soleiman Faqiri. Soleiman was studying engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2004 but after a car crash was diagnosed with schizophrenia and couldn't continue his studies. The Waterloo Region Record published a significant article regarding the life and death of Mr. Faqiri on March 21, 2019 (pg. A8). Two months earlier in January 2019, the Fifth Estate had televised a show about Mr. Faqiri's death at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay on December 15, 2016. According to the Fifth Estate this particular Ontario prison has led the number of complaints to the Ombudsman about their treatment of inmates for the last three years in a row.

According to both autopsy evidence as well as a first hand witness's account, Mr. Faqiri while awaiting a transfer to a mental health facility, was quite simply and frankly, beaten to death by multiple guards at the Lindsay Correctional Centre. As a human being suffering from mental health issues he should not have been in jail. He should not have been in isolation as he was. And he sure as hell should not have been the victim of a beating while restrained/handcuffed by multiple guards that included fists, pepper spray, kicks, neck compression's and more.

Pure physical evidence combined with first hand witness testimony should be way more than adequate to bring any wrong doers to justice if that is what the evidence says. Unfortunately in this province/country it is not. Mr. Faqiri died in custody as a direct result of a beating that included pepper spray (twice), head and body trauma, physical restraints and compression of his chest and neck area. He was mentally ill and it was the moral and legal duty of ALL those responsible for him to protect him from harm. Not to kill him.

I have seen or heard exactly nothing about this case over the last year. Shame on all our authorities including the Ministry of Corrections and the province of Ontario. Supposedly the Ontario Provincial Police have reopened the investigation. I'm not holding my breathe based upon the skills and mindsets of politicians, career bureaucrats, unionized jail guards and all the other entitled folks who believe that laws do not apply to them, only to us lesser folk.

Friday, March 27, 2020


The New Dundee Water System consists of wells ND4 and ND5. Bacteria are absent in both the raw and treated water however results from the Distribution System are notably absent. They may be in the municipal report (Wilmot) but they should be here in this regional Annual Report as well. Both turbidity (murkiness) and chlorine levels are very good with readings of .71 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) and a maximum of 1.68 mg/l chlorine in the water. The sampling was done in 2018 for most parameters which is disappointing. Sodium levels are very close to O.K. (27.8 mg/l) however Nitrates are a problem at a high of 3.42 mg/l despite being less than half the prescribed standard. Lead testing results are also not here which is unacceptable. Neither are HAAs or THMs. Again they may be in the on-line municipal reports but there is no reason that they could not all be here in this report as they huge factors in regards to the safety of the water. Lastly in line with all the other Annual Reports, the MDLs are too high for many parameters.

The New Hamburg/Baden Water System consists of wells NH3 and NH4. There was massive spending last year totaling almost $1 3/4 million on treatment upgrades and commissioning and connecting well NH4 to the system. No mention of course as to whether older or different wells have been dropped from this system which is unfortunate. Oddly to my mind at least, well NH4 was offline for the entire year. This seems odd considering the money spent including commissioning this presumably new well. Again no explanation given. Test results are primarily from 2018 although Sodium, nitrates and nitrites were sampled in 2019 and the results excellent for all three. Lead results are not provided yet again. Method Detection Limits (MDLS) are too high for numerous industrial/agricultural chemicals.

The Shingletown System consists of two wells namely K50 and K51 of which this paragraph deals with only K50. Bacteria results in the raw and treated water are excellent although Distribution System results are not given. Well K50 surprisingly was offline for seven weeks in 2019 despite no expenses being listed for repairs or replacement parts. Testing was mostly done in 2018 which I believe to be inadequate. Sodium levels are fine although Nitrates are high with the maximum found during only quarterly testing to be 3.62 mg/l. Lead results are also not provided for the plumbing or distribution system although they should be. MDLs are too high for numerous parameters including Glyphosate (roundup) still at a ridiculous 25 parts per billion (ppb).

Well K51 is the other well that is part of the Shingletown System. Bacteria results for both the raw and treated water are excellent although Distribution System results are not provided. Also the maximum Heterotrophic Plate Count result is 93 Coliform Units which is way above the recommended level. I find that worrisome. Test results are primarily from 2018 which continues to be problematic for me. Sodium results are excellent as are nitrates and nitrites. Lead results are not given which is poor. MDLs are too high for at least ten chemical parameters including Glyphosate (Roundup) at 25 ppb.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


The Wilmot Township System consists of a very large number of wells and smaller systems namely the Mannheim Wells K22A, K23, K24 and K26 as well as the Foxborough System, the New Dundee System, the New Hamburg/Baden System and the Shingletown wells K50 and K51. A number of these wells (Mannheim Village & Shingleton wells) were briefly mentioned as being part of the Mannheim Water Treatment Plant System (Kitchener System) as they are pumped into the Mannheim Pumping Station Reservoir. There is a map on page 4 of the 250 page Region of Waterloo Annual Reports which shows where these various systems and sub-systems are located.

Mannheim Village Well K22A was offline for all of 2019. Naturally of course the Region do not say why that was so in this report. Also of interest is that the sampling dates for all parameters is 2009. This indicates to me that this well has NOT been actively used for a very long time. The reason(s) should be here and are not.

Mannheim Village Well K23 was shutdown for 22 weeks in 2019 possibly as part of a $84,000 rehabilitation project. Raw and treated water, when sampled. had zero E.Coli or Total Coliforms which is very good however the HPC test had a maximum of 49 Coliform Units which is high. The maximum chlorine level was also high at 2.93 mg/l although it did keep just below the criteria of 3 mg/l. Sodium levels are high at 40.2 mg/l and Nitrates as well at a high of 4.71 mg/l which is below the criteria. Method Detection Limits (MDLs) just like all the other reports are far too high for numerous chemicals including Glyphosate.

Mannheim Village Well K24, when sampled, had zero E. Coli and Total Coliforms in both the raw and treated water. Oddly this well was shut down for six weeks in 2019 although no significant expenses for rehab, repair or replacement are listed. The sampling dates are all for 2018 which is both disappointing and in my opinion dangerous as problems that arise will take far too long to be addressed without more regular sampling. Sodium is high at 49.4 mg/l as are Nitrates with a maximum sampled value of 5.54 mg/l which exceeds half the criteria (10). MDLs are far too high in conjunction with the other reports.

Mannheim Village Well K26 looks very good in relation to bacteria. Chlorine levels are O.K however Sodium is a little high at 42.4 mg/l. While most of the chemical parameters were sampled in 2018 versus 2019 at least the very high Nitrate levels (highest I've seen to date in these reports) at a maximum level of 6.65 mg/l are sampled in 2019. These Nitrate levels are well in excess of "...half the standard prescribed in Schedule 2 of Ontario Drinking Water Standards.". MDLs as usual are much too high as well.

The Foxborough System consists of wells FG1, FG2A, and FG4. Bacteria results look very good and interestingly the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) operates the Distribution System on behalf of the private owner of this system. My guess is that this is a subdivision perhaps similar to the West Montrose subdivision in which the private developer several decades ago installed private wells and water treatment system. Sodium is a little high at 35.3 mg/l and Nitrates and Nitrites however are excellent. Most of the chemical results are from the last sampling in 2018 which is disappointing. Lead (and asbestos) results are not available although lead appears to have been tested for by OCWA. Similarily HAAs and THMs were tested for by OCWA but no results are shown here as they should be. MDLs are equally bad with all the other Region of Waterloo Annual Reports.

The rest of this System (Wilmot) will likely be discussed here tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Firstly a mea culpa. I have been advising here occasionally that these reports are part of the Region's Annual Reports which do not focus on bacteria, chlorination, and other local distribution issues. Hence I have missed pointing out in some of these reports such as yesterday's (& more) Wellesley Supply System local distribution system issues such as Lead sampled and tested but NOT reported in the Regional reports. This is a failure by our authorities in that they are not putting the whole picture in front of us in one document. The Wellesley Regional Reports (& others) actually state in regards to lead testing " Not required. Plumbing exemption based on historic results. Next distribution sapling event in 2020.". This is unacceptable. Have we the public already forgotten the lead results in the Flint, Michigan water supply caused by both a change in water source (river water versus wells?) as well as the ongoing use of lead distribution pipes for drinking water? These following four Regional Reports for Four North Dumfries well systems have the exact same quote regarding non lead testing in them.

The first of the four North Dumfries water systems is the Ayr Water Supply Sysdtem. It consists of three wells, A1, A2, and A3. Supposedly the Region of Waterloo spent $1,500,000 last year to replace one watermain (Swan St.). On the face of it that seems awfully expensive.This system had two Adverse water Quality Incidents (AWQI) with Total Coliform (bacteria) being present in the distribution system in early August and early October last year. The corrective action did not include flushing or increasing chlorine residuals in the system. It consisted of only resampling the water after the fact. Ugh.Also HPC (Heterotrophic Plate Count) testing had an unacceptable maximum result of 81 Coliform Units. This is all the while having zero detections of either E.Coli or Total Coliforms in both the raw water and the treated water. This makes me suspect that more regular testing of raw and treated water is necessary because obviously that testing is missing incoming bacteria to the system. Sodium and Nitrate levels are fine as are HAA and THM levels. Method Detection Limits (MDL)
)especially Glyphosate) are too high for at least ten industrial/agricultural chemicals.

The Branchton Water System consists of wells BM2 and BM3. The BM stands for Branchton Meadows. This small water system had over $600,000 spent on upgrades last year including decommissioning well BM1 and connecting and commissioning well BM3. As could be expected well BM3 did not operate for the full year as it was not commissioned until well into the year. Sodium levels are too high at 87.3 mg/l. Nitrates and nitrites are fine. Haloacetic Acids (HAA) levels are
fine as were Trihalomethanes (THM) for three of the four samples taken during the year. The fourth sample was at a much higher 38.2 parts per billion (ppb) which while high is less than both the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS) and even half the standard which is usually specifically reported in these reports. MDLs are as bad as all the other regional reports including glyphosate.

The Lloyd Brown System is totally supplied by the Cambridge Distribution System which we know has multiple low level solvents (TCE & more) in it. Bacteria results are only supplied in this report for the Distribution System and not for the raw or treated water. These weekly only bacteria results in the Distribution System are zero. Despite this the maximum chlorine level of 3.18 mg/l exceeds the standard. HAAs and THMs are all at acceptable levels although there are no results for lead (or asbestos) as well as no results for any of the 44 industrial/agricultural chemicals routinely tested for by the Region. This lack of results in this specific report is unacceptable.

The last system is the Roseville Water System and it consists of wells R5 and R6. Bacteria levels are all at zero albeit with only weekly testing of the treated water and distribution system. The maximum HPC result is a little too high at 26. Sodium levels are fine as are Nitrates, nitrites, HAAs, and THMs. MDls as usual are too high for at least ten chemicals especially glyphosates.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


This well system consists of the Heidelberg wells, Linwood wells, St. Clements wells and the village of Wellesley wells. The Heidelberg wells consist of two wells, HD1 and HD2 located in the village. To my surprise the gross contamination from the former garage on the main street of Heidelberg has never shown up in the reports however this may have something to do with the fact that numerous chemicals found in gasoline and diesel fuel are not part of the standard 44 chemicals tested for by the Region. Another reason may be that the two drinking water wells fortuitously are located upgradient from the former garage. This of course is no guarantee of safety as the cone of influence from a well that is pumping regularly will draw some downgradient water back to the pumping wells. Bacteria results are excellent in both raw and treated water although a maximum of 27 Coliforms were found via Heterotrophic Plate Count (61 samples) in the Distribution System. That number is higher than what I have read can normally be achieved by municipal water systems (i.e. 10). Both Turbidity and Chlorine maximum levels are fine although there was one Adverse water Quality Incident (AWQI) as the chlorine residual contact time (CT) was found to be zero. This resulted in restoring disinfection, flushing mains and resampling. Obviously something went wrong whether mechanical or human failure.
Sodium and Nitrate levels were also fine in 2019.

The St. Clements system consists of three wells, namely SC2, SC3 and SC4. Bacteria levels in both raw and treated water are zero and the HPC numbers in both treated water and the Distribution System are below 10. Sodium levels are fine although Nitrates are elevated. At the same time Nitrates do not exceed the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS) nor half the standard. MDLs like the rest of the Region's reports are too high for ten industrial/agricultural chemicals. Both Haloacetic Acids (HAA) and Trihalomethanes (THM) are well below both the standard and half the standard.

The Linwood System consists of wells L1A and L2. Bacteria levels, Turbidity, and chlorine levels in the water are all fine. Sodium is somewhat elevated although not huge as with some other salt contaminated groundwater sources. Nitrates and nitrite levels are both fine. Method detection Limits (MDLs) are too high for at least ten industrial/agricultural chemicals. HAAs are elevated although remain slightly below half the standard (i.e. ODWS). THMs are also a problem as they are not only elevated but very close to half the standard (ODWS) of 100 ppb. I am perplexed to see both high HAAs and THMs when there does not seem to be a bacteria problem with these wells that would require excessive amounts of chlorine.

The Wellesley System consists of wells WY1, WY5 and WY6. There were no AWQI and bacteria levels in both raw and treated water were zero in 2019. The HPC however had a maximum result of 120 Coliforms in the distribution system which is much higher than the recommended value of 10. Perhaps the distribution system needs more regular flushing although I admit that that is merely a guess on my part. Sodium and Nitrate levels are fine and the MDLs are as bad as all the other systems to date. Glyphosate (Roundup) continues to lead with a Method Detection Limit of 25 parts per billion (ppb). HAAs and THMs are both at reasonable levels and are well below even half the standard (ODWS).

Monday, March 23, 2020


This water treatment plant located in Kitchener receives water from the Grand River. After extensive treatment it is stored in the Mannheim Pumping Station Reservoir where it blends with numerous groundwater well sources (up to 13 wells) including the village of Mannheim wells as well as the Shingletown wells. Expenses for repairs and replacement equipment in 2019 assigned to this system totaled approximately $6 million. A couple of these costs are somewhat peculiar such as $100,000 for "St.Jacobs Fuel System Upgrades" and $2,100,00 for "Laurel Standpipe Interior Painting and Mixer".

The microbiological testing results are downright scary and trust me when the Region of Waterloo first advanced the idea of using Grand River water they sure didn't advertise the extent of harmful bacteria from that source. The raw water from the groundwater wells has a grand total of one detection of Coliforms with zero E.Coli which is appropriate. The raw water from the Grand River however had a maximum level of 85,000 Coliforms and 380 E.Coli present. That raw water source is horrific and I expect far worse than the numbers of E.Coli and Coliforms in the Walkerton wells during their water crisis. Keep in mind that this is raw water results however the failures in Walkerton occurred due to both human failure at multiple levels (municipal employees & Ministry of Environment) as well as due to faulty infrastructure either preventing physical access to groundwater wells by contaminated surface water or in the subsequent treatment and disinfection thereafter.

The Turbidity (murkiness) of river water varies dramatically based upon rain and surface water carrying sediment into the river. The maximum Turbidity of the river water is extremely high and high Turbidity makes disinfection more difficult as bacteria can "hide" from disinfection due to the foreign particles in the water. That said the Region clearly have good filtering of the raw water as post filter the Turbidity levels drop dramatically. As long as both equipment and operators do not fail, the treatment and removal of bacteria is very good.

I assume that part of the trade off in using highly contaminated (i.e. bacteria) river water is that much greater chlorination and chloramination is required to disinfect this water. That appears to be so with the specific listing of a full page of Inorganic parameters (chloramines) that exceed half the standard prescribed in the Ontario Drinking Water Standards (ODWS).

I am relieved to see that all the sampling for the 2019 Annual Report for the Mannheim Water Treatment Plant was indeed done in 2019. Sodium is a little high at 35.4 mg/l although not in comparison to some of the well sources in Cambridge or Waterloo. Nitrates on the other hand are higher than I've seen so far this spring in my examining the recently released Region of Waterloo Annual Reports. This water system to date is the only one to have Nitrates exceeding half the standard prescribed in the ODWS. Method Detection Limits (MDLs) are also very high for ten different industrial/agricultural chemicals just like the groundwater wells throughout the Region. This of course includes Glyphosate (Roundup) at a ridiculous MDL of 25 ppb.

Good news is that this report includes results for both Haloacetic Acids (HAA) and for Trihalomethanes (THMs). These are both by-rpoducts of disinfection and are not good for you. The bad news is that again likely due to the need for incredible clorination and chloramination in order to kill the bacteria in the raw water and to maintain disinfection in the treated water, these HAA and THM results are high. Due to averaging results and the joys of mathematics, HAAs are not listed as exceeding half the standard prescribed in the ODWS. In fact there is at least one HAA result which clearly does exceed half the standard. Trihalomethane results are even higher with five results exceeding half the standard and an amazing number of results hovering within a whisker of half of the standard which is 100 ppb. It certainly appears as if the 48 and 49 ppb results are the result of judicious dilution with groundwater sources prior to testing. Again likely due to averaging and mathematics THMs are also not formally listed as exceeding half the ODWS standard. In my opinion they should be.

Th O'Connell Commission which examined the failures in Walkerton, Ontario determined that our drinking water must be examined closely from source to distribution system. There must be multiple barriers to contamination getting into our water at every location including the source water. Simple reliance upon a good treatment system always maintained by certified professionals is not adequate. This principle is being violated by the Region of Waterloo and most likely by many other jurisdictions in Ontario. Any guess when and where the next water crisis will strike?

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Firstly keep in mind these Region of Waterloo Annual Reports generally do not include HAA (Haloacetic Acid) and THM (Trihalomethane) results as they should. Those results are in the individual municipal reports (i.e. Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Woolwich Twp. etc.). One exception is the regional report for the Mannheim Water Treatment Plant which has a ton of HAA and THM results. Also keep in mind that both HAAs and THMs are by-products of the disinfection process (chlorine & chloramination) and that they are hazardous to our health.

The Strange St. Wells include K10A, K11A, K13, K18 and K19. Not all of these wells are located near Strange St. and the old Uniroyal Tire factory and are located further west towards the Westmount area. It is my opinion that industrial solvents certainly have impacted some of these wells in the past and thus I am not surprised at all with the shutdowns and closures including wells K13, K18 and K19 being offline for all of 2019. Well K10A was offline for fifteen weeks and K11A was offline for nine weeks as was the Strange St. Pumping Station during 2019.

Bacteria levels seem good although the maximum chlorine was 5.0 mg/l which well exceeds the criteria of three. Somehow this maximum avoided being flagged as an Adverse Water Quality Incident (AWQI) which I find strange. Sodium levels are also high at 79.8 mg/l. MDLs are high for ten chemicals including of course Glyphosate (Roundup) which has a Method Detection Limit of 25 parts per billion (ppb or ug/l). The chemical sampling dates are 2018 versus 2019 as one would expect with a 2019 Annual Report.

The Woolners Well System consists of three wells namely K80, K81 and K82. They rate their own Annual Report despite all three being shut down throughout 2019. If that seems strange then how about the fact that all the sampling dates are from 2010? That's right 2010. Without going back and digging through my paperwork I expect that this system has been shutdown for years. Maybe there's some advantage to the Region to not formally decommissioning them. These "river" wells are located along the Grand River downstream from the long discontinued Forwell Wells (K70 & K71) which are also "river" wells located directly downgradient from the former Breslube (now Safety-Kleen) factory in Breslau. And yes Dorothy, Breslube/Safety-Kleen can take credit for the K70 & K71 wells being removed from service.

The last system for the Kitchener Wells is the Mannheim Water Treatment Plant. In fact water from it and the Grand River are mixed with groundwater wells and are part of the IUS or Integrated Urban System which supplies water to Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Elmira, St-Jacobs and just recently Conestogo and West Montrose. This raw water is heavily contaminated with bacteria including E.Coli and Coliforms and is the most expensive to treat throughout the Region of Waterloo. The Middleton Wellfield is the most expensive groundwater (influenced by river water) system to treat in the Region. Further details next week, likely Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, March 20, 2020


The five Greenbrook Wells are located near Stirling Dr. and Homer Watson Blvd. At one point the Region admitted that they had to improve the treatment system to remove 1,4 dioxane. I believe that this chemical and others have migrated from the former Ottawa St. Landfill (Sid McLennan skihill) courtesy of companies like Varnicolor Chemical dumping liquid wastes illegally, decades ago.

One Adverse Water Quality Incident occurred last year in March as the free chlorine in the treated water was too low. Disinfection was restored and the water mains were flushed. Of the five wells (K1A, K2A, K4B, K5A, K8) only one , well K1A was offline for just five weeks in 2019. This is a pleasant surprise. Sodium at 96.4 mg/l is quite high and Nitrates 2.77 mg/l are high but below the criteria of 10. Ten chemicals have Method Detection Limits (MDL) that are quite high including Glyphosate at a ridiculous 25 ppb. Chloramines used in the disinfection process are the only Inorganic or Organic parameter that exceeded half the prescribed standard. For me it is the numbers of low concentration parameters (chemicals) in our drinking water that causes me concerns. Each individual criteria/standard is based upon the false assumption that that parameter alone is found in the water. There is not and never has been drinking standards for multiple issues, parameters or chemicals in our drinking water.

The K34 (K for Kitchener) Well System consists of wells K34 and K36. Each of these wells was offline last year for five weeks as was the entire system. While a relatively short shutdown it is notable that absolutely zero significant expenses occurred which would indicate repairs or replacement of parts (pumps etc.). The chemical results are from 2018 versus testing being done last year. I find this somewhat bizarre for ANNUAL Reports. Sodium was at 51.0 mg/l in comparison to the recommended 20 mg/l maximum concentration. Again ten chemicals have MDLs that are very high including as always Glyphoste (Roundup) at 25 ppb. Finally chloramines from the disinfection process are highlighted as exceeding half the prescribed standard.

The Parkway Well System consists of wells K31, K32 and K33. Chlorine levels and bacteria counts are good however both sodium and Nitrates are bad. Sodium is at 247 mg/l and Nitrates are at 3.73 mg/l. Keep in mind that Sodium is tested only once during the year and Nitrates only four times. Hence these results likely have both lower and HIGHER concentration levels during the year.All the industrial/agricultural chemicals were sampled and tested in 2018 versus 2019 as we would expect in an ANNUAL Report. This is particularly problematic when we see trichloroethylene (TCE) present in the treated water year after year. Once again a former local industry (Deilcraft) can take credit for this just as they have contaminated the groundwater by their former Shanley St. factory which has become notorious for corporate/government negligence and irresponsibility. Again there are ten chemicals with very high MDLs and chloramines are repeatedly throughout the year exceeding half the standard prescribed in Schedule 2 of the Ontario Drinking Water Standards.

Much more to come regarding the Kitchener water supply including the Mannheim System which supplies extraordinarily expensive Grand River water throughout the Region of Waterloo including Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and a large part of Woolwich Township which used to have its own high quality water sources prior to industrial contamination in St. Jacobs/Elmira and bacterial contamination in West Montrose and possibly in part of Conestogo.

Thursday, March 19, 2020


The three wells in this Turnbull System are G16, G17 and G18. G16 was rehabilitated and hence shut down for nine weeks in 2019. However the other two wells were also shut down for six weeks as was the entire system. It would seem to be that they had a quality issue which once again is not clarified in these regional Annual Reports. Chlorine levels as well as Sodium are fine and the only other obvious issue are the ten industrial/agricultural chemicals who's Method Detection Limits (MDLs) are too high thus likely hiding low level detections of some (or all) of these chemicals. Sampling for industrial chemicals etc. was last done in 2017 which may be legal but is not satisfactorily protective of human health.

The Shades Mill System, also on the east side of Cambridge, consists of wells G7, G8, G38 and G39. Both wells G8 and G38 were rehabilitated during 2019. G8 was shutdown for four weeks, a not unreasonable length of time for rehabilitation where G38 and G39 were shutdown last year for twenty weeks. That to me speaks to far more than a simple rehab in G38 and absolutely no clarification in the Annual Report as to why G39 was shutdown at all. I suspect industrial contamination from former (or current?) industries in the area. Chlorine levels in the treated water are good whereas Sodium is somewhat high at 40.8 mg/l. The only remaining obvious issue are the ten elevated MDLs for the industrial/agricultural chemicals sampled.

One last comment regarding the chemicals that the Region of Waterloo sample: again whether legal or not (i.e. via provincial law) many more chemicals need to be tested and publicly reported. There are hundreds of other likely candidates in our groundwater and more chemicals being produced every year. These reports sampling and testing only approximately 44 different chemicals may have been adequate fourty or fifty years ago. They no longer are.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Two points: This posting is solely about the Region of Waterloo's Annual Report and does not include Haloacetic Acids (HAAs) and Trihalomethanes (THMs) that are covered in the City of Cambridge Annual drinking water Report. That was posted about here last week. Secondly take note that most of the abandoned wells in Cambridge are not discussed in these reports. One example would be wells P6 and P7 found in the Dumphries Conservation Area, downstream from the former Northstar Aerospace and Rozell Mfg. Guess why those wells are shutdown?

Well P9 overall looks pretty good. No shutdowns, no detections of bacteria and reasonable chlorine levels in the treated water. Sodium is high at 77.7 mg/l but is not off the charts as some other Cambridge wells are. Method Detection Limits are far too high for at least ten industrial/agricultural chemicals and lastly I should have seen this earlier with both the rest of the wells under discussion today as well as some earlier ones. The damn sampling dates! I had forgotten that the Region of Waterloo don't even sample all the wells for chemicals on an annual basis. All the chemical sampling dates are from 2017 for this 2019 Annual report. Is that nuts or what?

Well P15 (P for Preston, G for Galt) had both high chlorine at 2.92 mg/l and 32 Coliform Units detected using the Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC). Sodium is high at 85.9 . MDLs are high for at least ten chemicals although all of the chemicals were sampled in 2017! I find that totally unacceptable whether or not it is legal to do so.

Well P16 is in this years reports although it was off-line for all of 2019. What is really bizarre is the sampling dates for chemicals are all in 2003! A quick on-line check advises me that this well was also off-line throughout 2018. I expect that it may have been closed for many, many years. The question is why it's been closed and why is it still actively reported on year after year in these Annual Reports. Strangely Glyphosate in 2003 had a MDL of 10 ppb (parts per billion) versus the elevated 25 ppb Method Detection Limit over the intervening years. It seems obvious to me that Glyphosate concentrations have been increasing and are being hidden via this outgareously high MDL.

The Pinebush Wells consist of P10, P11 and P17. P17 was off-line for seventeen weeks in 2019 without explanation. There were no repairs or replacement of parts recorded. This is also unacceptable reporting. Bacteria and chlorine levels are good although Sodium levels are at 51.6 mg/l versus the 20 mg/l recommended. MDLs are also too high for at least ten industrial/agricultural chemicals. Finally the chemical sampling dates are all from 2017!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Well G4 is located on the west side of the Grand River in the south end of Cambridge although it is further north than Canadian General Tower which is located beside the Grand River. Wells G5 and G6 are located respectively just north of the former Ciba-Geigy and just south of it. Funny how low level solvents and chemicals from Ciba-Geigy weren't showing up decades ago in the drinking wells when its' spill history was discovered but are present nowadays. Well G9 is on the east side of the Grand River and southerly near the Allen-Bradley Co. and possibly also near the (former?) Long Mfg.

Well G4 has Sodium at high levels namely 96.7 mg/l versus the recommended 20 mg/l. Chlorine levels in the treated water have reached 2.99 mg/l while the criteria indicates a hard maximum of 3.0 mg/l. The Heterotrophic Plate Count had a maximum of 92 CFU (Coliform Units) when municipal treatment systems are supposed to be capable of keeping it at 10 or below. Too many industrial/agricultural chemicals are at Method Detection Limits of 1 part per billion (ug/l) or higher including Glyphosate at 25 ppb. Most disturbingly well G4 was shut down for 26 weeks last year and well G4A was shut down for 25 weeks.

Well G5 has Nitrates at significant values although below the provincial criteria. Chlorine levels have reached 2.9 mg/l which is too close to the criteria (3.0) and Sodium levels are at an incredibly high 243 mg/l. 1,1 Dichloroethylene is in the treated water at .98 ppb which while concerning is below the provincial criteria. Of course the Region of Waterloo do not include the Ontario Drinking Water Standards they merely state YES or NO in the Exceedance column. MDLs are far too high in this well as well. Shutdowns again without any breakdowns or repairs required include 29 weeks for well G5 and 21 weeks for well G5A.

Well G6 has both high Sodium values (162 mg./l and high Chlorine levels (2.90 mg/l) in the treated water. Method Detection Levels are far too high for at least ten industrial/agricultural chemicals. Lastly Metolachlor is found in the treated water at .44 ppb which again is below the provincial standard. This well was shut down for only six weeks in 2019 although again no explanation is given and the report does specifically say that no money was spent for breakdowns or repair.

Well G9 has issues with Sodium ( 162 mg/l) shutdowns and with Trichloroethylene (TCE). MDLs are also too high for too many chemicals. The TCE is at 1.44 ppb which is less than the provincial standard which used to be at 5 ppb but should be lower. This well was off-line for an incredible 32 weeks in 2019.

There is nothing good happening when municipal wells are regularly shut down for months at a time while authorities ask for water restrictions but fail to advise why all these wells are shut down.

Monday, March 16, 2020


Local panic buying at least is an indication that a lot of people are finally taking notice. Grocery stores and pharmacies are awfully popular right now. Everything else not so much. Certainly our authorities belatedly have closed arenas, schools and universities. Large public gatherings are being discouraged. Even churches with large congregations are postponing their Sunday morning services. Air travel has dropped significantly although more is needed.

My daughter has a Phd. in Biology and her husband a Phd. with a double major namely Chemistry/Biology. They are professionally involved with both a university and a hospital in Vancouver. Our weekly phone chats have been supplemented with her calling us now weekly with updates on the coronavirus. Her quote is that it is going to get "ugly". She has pointed out two members of our family here in Elmira, Ontario who are at particular risk due to age and health and she is suggesting that we do their grocery shopping etc. for them.

Public areas and surfaces are being sanitized more frequently. Stores, health clubs and more are putting out hand sanitizers to be used both coming in and exiting from their facilities. Health/fitness clubs that remain open are advising members to immediately sanitize equipment and machines that they have just used and the wipes/sanitizers are available right there. I expect that restaurants and movie theatres will already be feeling the pinch. It definitely is not business as usual. Companies whose employees spend the bulk of their day on computers are either being sent home to work or being told that they have that option.

Keep in mind that always expanding GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and economic growth rely on more and more people i.e. more consumers. This was never a sustainable model and yet all our authorities have embraced it forever. Economic growth and expansion have caused our climate change emergency and population growth and overcrowding combined with readily available international travel have caused this pandemic. This is a warning humanity. Ignore it at all our peril.

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Hespeler used to have a number of active manufacturing facilities. Like every other city/town with on-site manufacturing, they cheerfully disposed of their solid and liquid wastes as close to home as possible. The criteria was cost followed by cost followed by cost. Cheap waste disposal assisted with lower prices when in a competitive marketplace.

Well H3 actually consists of well H3 and well H3A. More than likely the two wells are beside each other albeit one will be drilled deeper than the other. This seems to happen with the second well drilled in order to avoid an area of sub-surface contamination. Indeed It appears as if musical wells are the rule as well H3A was off-line for 34 weeks in 2019 and well H3 was off-line for 17 weeks. This occurred while there were "no significant expenses incurred". These expenses normally have to do with well maintenance such as replacing pumps, cleaning etc. which would shut a well down for perhaps a week or two only.

The range of chlorine concentrations in the treated water had a maximum level of 2.92 which is getting very close to the maximum allowed of 3.0 mg/l. Sodium was quite high at 91.9 mg/l. Like most of the other wells covered to date there are ten industrial/agricultural chemicals with high Method Detection Limits (MDL) which can hide low level detections of these compounds.

Well System H4 actually consists of well H4 and well H4A. Strangely while both raw and treated water had zero detections of E.Coli or Coliforms, the HPC (Hetertrophic Plate Count) test had 260 Coliform Units (CFU) present. This is the prize winner to date in my examination of 2019's Annual Reports and indicates some problems with bacteria. The maximum chlorine concentration of 2.84 mg/l also seems to verify concerns with bacterial presence. Sodium is also a little high at 55 mg/l. Method Detection Limits are consistently high for ten different industrial/agricultural chemicals including Glyphosate (Roundup).

Well H5 consists of wells H5 and H5A. These wells also like the H3 wells had major shutdowns last year (2019). H5 was off-line for 35 weeks and H5A was off-line for fifteen weeks. Again there were no significant expenses incurred for repairs or maintenance. I view this as a very bad sign and an indication of contamination well hidden in that it does not leap out to the public via these reports. Chlorine concentrations are also high in the treated water although below the criteria. The usual ten chemicals have high Method Detection Limits.

It is my opinion that the Hespeler wells have serious problems based upon the lengthy shutdowns of the H3 and H5 Systems. If and when Cambridge and Waterloo Region are in a surplus water situation, then long term well shutdowns would be less bizarre.

Friday, March 13, 2020


Well it's not getting any better. The huge expense for the Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) several years back certainly has not removed all the trichloroethylene (TCE) from the treated drinking water. My guess would be that the Region however do not have to dilute the treated water from those wells with other water as much as they used to. My interpretation of the expenses listed leads me to continue to believe that after the massive treatment costs associated with treating Grand River water, that the Middleton Wellfield remains the second most expensive to treat water in the Region of Waterloo.

The municipal report for the City of Cambridge covers all the water from many, many different wells and wellfields. There are significant issues including a very high maximum Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) of 260 Coliform Units per 100 ml of water. HPC counts while an indicator of overall bacteriological presence in the water are not necessarily hard and fast determinants of unsanitary water. Nevertheless they are used by water treatment managers and their systems and while there is not a hard criteria or guideline I did see the suggestion on-line of 10 CFU being achievable by all municipal water systems. Also I might add that to date in looking at Waterloo and Woolwich water, none of them are even close to a maximum CFU (Coliform Forming Units) of 260.

Sodium at 138 mg/l is also far in excess of the recommended 20 mg/l guideline. Also there were 5 exceedances for lead of 117 samples taken in individual plumbing systems.

Getting back to the Regional report on the Middleton Wellfield, it is clear that those wells are under the influence of Grand River water. There was one detection in the raw water of E.Coli as well as twenty detections (raw water) of Total Coliforms. The maximum HPC count was a stunning 220 which tells the tale both as to how large the percentage of Cambridge's water comes from the Middleton Wellfield as well as how poor the quality of the raw water can be at certain times. Only to add to these problems is a Sodium concentration of 140 mg/l which exceeds the recommended 20 mg/l guideline.

Similar to all the other water systems in the Region we have ten industrial/agricultural chemicals with high Method Detection Limits with Glyphosate (Roundup) leading the pack with a MDL of 25 parts per billion (ppb).

By the way the highest trichloroethylene (TCE) concentration found in our drinking water in 2019 was 1.89 ppb which while below the current provincial criteria of 5 ppb is still much too high both on its own and when you look at all the other issues and problems in the water. It is my belief that the day will come when science is able to prove major adverse health effects in drinking water today that we the public have been assured is of good quality.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Well first of all both logic and the Regional reports make it clear that there are and have been two separate water systems in Conestogo for decades. Unfortunately the choice of wording in the Township of Woolwich reports is much less clear.

The two long time wells of the Conestogo Plains System, C3 and C4, were replaced in October 2019 with the pipeline from St. Jacobs which is part of the Region's Integrated Urban System (IUS). These two wells have also supplied the village of West Montrose for a very short period of time, albeit a replacement water supply for West Montrose was decades overdue (horrible source water-bacteria). The Region's testing shows zero Coliform or E.Coli bacteria in both the raw and treated water. Again however there is a very low count of two Coliforms in the Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) testing. This I assume is simply the result of testing at different times. Sodium concentrations are low and generally so are Nitrates. There are ten different industrial/agricultural chemicals with Method Detection Limits above 1 part per billion (ppb) including Glyphosate (Roundup) at 26 ppb. Interestingly the two Coliforms found by the Region via HPC are magnified to nine Coliforms in Woolwich Townships report via HPC. This is another reason why I find two separate reports (or more) for the same water system to be a poor idea.

The Conestogo Golf Water Supply System consists of wells C5 and C6 located near or on the golf course itself. They have zero detections of E.Coli and total Coliforms in the treated water and one detection of total Coliforms in the raw water in the Region's report. Also the HPC indicates a detection of four Coliforms. The Woolwich Township report however indicates that six Coliforms were detected via HPC. Sodium in this Conestgo water system is a little higher than the Conestogo Plains System however it is still below the guideline of 20 mg/l. Nitrates are also a little higher although below the criteria of 10 mg/l. There are also ten industrial/agricultural chemicals with Method Detection Limits above one part per billion (ppb) with Glyphosate as it is throughout the Region at a stunning MDL of 25 ppb.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


The Region have all of four Annual Reports for Woolwich Township in 2019 namely two for the village of Conestogo and two for the village of Maryhill. The village of West Montrose has been dropped because all its water now comes from a pipeline from Conestogo which of course is supplied by a pipeline from St. Jacobs and the Region's IUS (Integrated Urban System).

It is of course a little bizarre having separate reports (Regional and Municipal) for the very same water supply however that complicates things and may be the preferred choice of politicians who hide behind paid experts and prefer the public stay confused or uninformed. Or maybe there are legitimate reasons.

The Maryhill Water Supply System consists of two separate systems. The one has two wells named MH1 and MH2. The other is called Marhhill Village Heights system and consists of two wells named MH3 and MH4A. The first system has zero E.Coli and zero Total Coliform found in both the raw and treated water which is good however there appear to be two Coliforms found in another testing method known as Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC). I must assume that the HPC in the treated water is taken at a different time than the other testing of the treated water which had a result of zero. The wells MH1 and MH2 have an issue with a Sodium reading of 84.8 mg/l which is more than quadruple the recommended maximum of 20 mg/l. Three of four of the Nitrate test results in these wells (MH1 & MH2) are very low with a fourth test result of 2.51 which while still below the drinking standards nonetheless is still high. Finally there are ten industrial/agricultural chemicals including Glyphosate (Roundup) with what I view as very high Method Detection Limits (MDL) in the treated drinking water.

The Maryhill Village Heights system (MH3 & MH4A) had one formal Adverse Water Quality Incident (AWQI) with Contact Time (CT) of chlorine being inadequate in October 2019. CT refers to a standard of 3mg/l of chlorine per minute of contact with the treated water in the system for the purpose of maintaining disinfection (i.e. killing bacteria). Similar to the other system the raw and treated water had zero bacteria present when tested but one CFU (Coliform Units probably-the Region still fails to define all the acronyms that they use) was found by the HPC method. Sodium is much lower in this system although Nitrates in three of four samples were higher although still below the drinking water standard. There were ten industrial/agricultural chemicals with high Method Detection Limits (MDL) including Glyphosate at a ridiculous MDL of 25 parts per billion (ug/l).

Tomorrow I may discuss the Conestogo water results.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Last Saturday I posted here about the annual municipal water quality report for the City of Waterloo. Today's posting is about the Region of Waterloo's Annual Reports for the three well systems in Waterloo namely Well W10, the Erb St. Wells (W6B, W7, W8) and the William St. Wells (W1B, W1C, W2, W3). To say that there are major issues is an understatement.

Well W10 seems the least problematic of the three systems. It had four Adverse Water Quality Incidents in 2019 all regarding excessive chloramines concentrations in the drinking water. The watermains were flushed and then resampled. Sodium was a little high at 35.5 milligrams per litre (mg/l) with an advisory concentration of only 20 mg/l. There were ten industrial chemicals that in my opinion have Method Detection Limits (MDL) that are far too high. Yes they are designated as Non Detect (ND) but all at MDLs of 1 part per billion or higher with one (Glyphosate/Roundup) at a ridiculous 25 parts per billion detection limit.

The Erb St. wells consist of W6B, W7 and W8. Well W6A was offline for all of 2019 which is a bad sign. There was one Adverse Water Quality Incident during 2019 which consisted of a low Contact Time (CT) of chlorine in the drinking water. The criteria is 3mg/L*min which means the concentration of chlorine in mg/l multiplied by the contact time in minutes. Nitrates concentrations were a little high although still below the provincial criteria. Chloramine concentrations were also high and were flagged as exceeding half the standard prescribed provincially. Nine industrial/agricultural chemicals had high Method Detection Limits (MDL)with Glyphosate again being ridiculously so. Lastly Dichloromethane was detected in the treated drinking water at 2.02 parts per billion (ppb) which is bad news although it was below the provincial criteria. I would classify this detection as unusual although Dichloromethane is one of the chemicals routinely tested with high MDL's which such high MDLs I consider a possible attempt to reduce detections of industrial/agricultural chemicals in our drinking water.

The William St. wellfield I consider the worst of the bunch. In fact shutdown times for the various wells during 2019 included wells W1B and W2 being offline for 12 weeks, well W1C offline for 18 weeks, well W3 offline for all of 2019 and finally the entire wellfield (all wells shut down and offline) for 14 weeks in 2019. Without an adequate and intelligent rationale by the Region for these huge shutdowns I suspect that this is the Region of Waterloo playing musical chairs/wells and removing wells from use as their contaminant concentrations become too high. Sodium concentrations are a ridiculous 228 mg/l with the advisory level being 20 mg/l. Nitrates are also a concern although below the applicable criteria. There are also ten industrial/agricultural chemicals with MDLs of 1 part per billion which is too many chemicals at too high of a detection limit. Glyphosate is also still at the ridiculous 25 parts per billion (ug/l) MDL. Keep in mind that all these criteria are set on the ridiculous assumption of only one contaminant per litre of clean water. In other words our health authorities haven't a clue as to what the health implications are of multiple low level contaminants simultaneously in our water supply. For the cherry on top of all of this we also have trichloroethylene (TCE) concentrations below the drinking water standard throughout the entire year. These TCE low level concentrations (likely due to careful dilution with less contaminated wells) have been ongoing literally for decades. Lastly chloramine concentrations were also flagged as exceeding half the standard prescribed provincially.

Now take all these issues together by mixing these wells all into the Distribution System for the City of Waterloo. Short term everything is likely O.K. but long term residents are drinking water with multiple contaminants and issues.

Monday, March 9, 2020


This report is solely in regards to the local distribution system focusing on bacterial issues etc. not so much on industrial/agricultural chemicals as does the Region of Waterloo Annual Reports. Unlike the City of Waterloo, Woolwich Township does not list the material used in water pipes in St. Jacobs and Elmira. These would unfortunately include both lead and asbestos pipes. Lead sampling occurs but unfortunately asbestos does not and it should. Asbestos fibres in drinking water are regulated in the U.S. and other countries but are not in Canada, likely for political reasons such as continued exports of asbestos overseas.

Oddly a reading of 10.1 parts per billion for lead in the plumbing system is not indicated as an exceedance although the criteria is 10.0 . Yes it's close but still an odd interpretation of the numbers.

The maximum number of coliform bacteria results was 350 in 2019 which comparatively exceeds the other three municipal systems I have examined so far this spring namely Waterloo, Maryhill and West Montrose at 65, 19 and 3 respectively. There were also four Adverse Water Quality Incidents involving Total Coliform in which flushing of watermains was undertaken followed by resampling.

Both Haloacetic Acids (HAA) and Trihalomethanes (THM) are well below the criteria for them.

Also there was zero E.Coli found in the system .

At a later date I will likely post the Region of Waterloo's Annual Report for Woolwich Township and its various water systems.

Saturday, March 7, 2020


Firstly realize that this is not the same thing as the Region of Waterloo's Annual Report for the City of Waterloo. In that report the Region focus on the chemical testing of the treated water sent to the City of Waterloo. These chemicals are both industrial chemicals as well as agricultural chemicals such as herbicides (glyphosate-Roundup, 2,4-D & much more). The city themselves in their report are focusing on lead and bacteria in their distribution systems as well as products of disinfection such as HAAs and THMs (Haloacetic acids and Trihalomethanes) both of which can be toxic and carcinogenic above certain criteria. Notable by their absence is asbestos fibres in the drinking water as well as any mention of lead piping owned by the city. They list all the types of materials used in their "watermains" including asbestos-cement but do not mention lead pipes. Possibly "watermains" are defined as solely the piping under the roadway and not the secondary lines from the roadway "watermains" taking water into each individual home and building. Also possible is that all the lead piping on city property has been replaced with other material although I am doubtful. What however is very clear is that some Waterloo residents are drinking water laced with lead as this report makes that very clear. Some of the lead concentrations are more than double the criteria and some of the lead in plumbing systems is triple the criteria as well as nine times greater and one sample was 26 times greater than the criteria. For lead in the distribution system action consisted of flushing and resampling the offending site which frankly I view as doing little or nothing. Actions for lead in individual plumbing systems consisted of notifying the Public Health Unit, the Spills Action Centre and the residents of the home involved. Again I view those actions as inadequate.

Regarding the failure to even mention or advise that asbestos fibres are released from older asbestos-cement pipe or disturbed pipe I am deeply offended. Our municipal authorities seem to feel that as long as Health Canada and the federal government are willing to pretend that asbestos is a non issue, then so are they. Meanwhile other jurisdictions around the world including the U.S. have set health standards for asbestos fibres in drinking water.

By the way the concentrations for both HAAs and THMs are well below the provincial criteria for those substances.

Regarding bacteria there are some concerns. There were two instances of Total Coliforms exceeding the criteria which resulted in flushing and resampling the site but of even greater concern was one instance of E.Coli being present in the system. In this case the Public Health Unit did issue a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) which only lasted for a few days as again flushing and resampling occurred. Between gaps in the Regional testing and publishing of results as well as gaps in the municipal program there will be residents who are adversely affected by their drinking water. In most cases it will be long term health issues (chronic) versus immediate sickness (acute).

Friday, March 6, 2020


It's a health problem/crisis. It's spreading throughout the world due to too many people travelling around the world and without governments using the authority they have to at least temporarily slow unnecessary travel i.e. holidays abroad. The front page of today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story: "Coronavirus hits home". This is the first documented case in Waterloo Region although that certainly doesn't mean that it is the only case.

The woman travellor to Italy returned on Tuesday and immediately drove herself to Grand River hospital. Allegedly proper precautions were taken there to avoid spreading of the virus. Of course we don't know how long she spent in the Emergency department waiting for attention. What we do know is that she was released from hospital a few hours later. Her diagnosis wasn't confirmed until the next day (Wednesday). What the hell! Again allegedly she is at home in self-isolation. The problem is that she does not live alone. Therefore are her "small family" also quarantined even via self-isolation? Or in the alternative are they off to school or work within the community? Has someone outside the family been appointed to pick up groceries, pharmaceuticals or other necessities and leave them at the front door?

There are way too many unanswered questions and I expect way too much opportunity for this virus to move through our community as it has everywhere else.

Thursday, March 5, 2020


March 15, 2014, Letter To The Editor of the Woolwich Observer: Dr. Dan Holt, CPAC Chair sent the following Letter To The Editor titled "Groundwater safety an issue right here in Elmira". Essentially Dr. Holt was both complimenting the Woolwich Observer newspaper for a recent article they did about groundwater protection in California and around the world and at the same time asking why they so studiously appear to be ignoring that which is unfolding before their eyes here in Elmira, Ontario.

Dr. Holt advised that Chemtura Canada (formerly Uniroyal Chemical) in conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of Environment were refusing to do on-site source removal of contaminated soils and buried wastes which have and are negatively impacting groundwater quality here in Elmira. While Dr. Holt focused on the former Uniroyal site, I can advise that there are multiple former industrial sites in Elmira that have never been remediated and which affect our local groundwater. Yes this includes multiple local landfills which accepted (as was the norm at the time) both municipal food wastes as well as local industrial wastes, toxic or otherwise.

Does anyone in Waterloo Region seriously think that the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge with their past history of industrial manufacturing and use of solvents including benzene, toluene, xylenes , trichloroethylene (TCE) and so many more not also have ongoing contamination of groundwater due to negligent toxic waste disposal practices from the early 1900s to the 1980s?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


No I'm not so far gone as to be patting myself on the back and referring to my recent distribution of maps both electronic and hard copy version to the TAG Chair (Tiffany) and members. I have been publicly assured by Tiffany at last week's TAG meeting that the electronic copies will be sent on to both Lanxess and the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOE/MECP). Further praise is required for Sarah (sp?) Goldrup and Lisa Schaefer. Both employees of Woolwich Township they converted my initial hard copies of both text and maps into excellent electronic versions for TAG distribution. That said, then after sending on my hard copy stuff to Lisa and Sara (sp?), I improved particularly on the Conestoga Rovers map of the east side ground surface contour lines. This I did by both handwriting the typed contour lines larger without covering up the originals as well as further clarifying the source of the bottom half of the ground surface contour lines on my large 2 1/2' x 3' map. That is why I handed out the hard copy package to TAG members Thursday despite Sara (sp?) and Lisa's excellent electronic versions delivered to TAG members well prior to the public meeting.

No the stroke of genius in the title refers to Uniroyal Chemical's initial actions in 1983 in regards to the construction of the Stroh Drain, Ditch and Berm (SDDB) followed by the likely construction of the Interceptor Trench across the north-east to south-west part of their property. My best guesstimate for the construction of the Interceptor Trench (if indeed that is what it is versus say a Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB)) would be between 1991 and 1993 well after the construction of the SDDB.

Multiple unfolding problems were "resolved" by these relatively inexpensive projects. The chemical stinkhole and swamp on both the Stroh and Uniroyal properties could be drained into the Canagagigue Creek. It could be done so while bypassing direct discharges from the Uniroyal property that could not be kept hidden from the MOE or the public. Afterall while the regular flow of overflowing liquid wastes into and from the east side pits had fully stopped by 1970, the soils were saturated in the east side low lying areas of both the Stroh and Uniroyal properties. The SDDB would take both surface water as well as contaminated groundwater southwards into the Canagagigue Creek.

Secondly the bonded Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins/furans and DDT with the soils on the lowest lying areas of the Stroh property would be constantly exposed to erosion from heavy rains and regular flooding of the creek . The Berm part of the SDDB physically slowed and blocked the force of the flooding creek from sweeping across this floodplain area and scouring and carrying these contaminants downstream.

Thirdly if indeed the Interceptor Trench was designed to stop the flow of grossly contaminated groundwater westwards from the overflowing pits directly into the creek then by connecting it to the galvanized pipe discharging groundwater into the top (north) end of the SDDB a successful and hidden from the public bypass was achieved.

Fourthly and less successful may have been the attempt to avoid ever having to excavate and remove the two "Consolidation Pits" on the east side namely RPE-4 and RPE-5. If groundwater sampling on the north-east side of the creek showed little contamination (courtesy of the likely Interceptor Trench) then the rationale for very expensive full and final remediation of those two pits could be weakened. Alas it was not to be so as public scrutiny of the MOE made that impossible.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020


Dr. Dan Holt and I had an informative and enjoyable experience at Groh Public School again yesterday. We had attended there two years ago again via an invitation from teacher Ms. Alana Simpson. At that time we spoke to I believe two classes of Grade 7 children. Yesterday's chat and presentation was with approximately 70-75 kids (3 classes ?) of Grade 8s. Wow calling them kids is appropriate chronologically (13 years old?) but as Dr. Dan only slightly exaggerated when he said to me, half the kids, boys and girls, were my height. I am (was?) 6' 1 1/2" most of my life and always thought of myself as tall. Apparently not so much anymore. Anyway I will say this, those kids were very well behaved and clearly the two lady teachers present were in charge and there wasn't the least hesitation by any of the students in following all directions from them.

Dr. Dan and I had been preceded the previous week by a speaker from the Region of Waterloo who talked to the students. The speaker had talked about how and where the water gets to households in the Region and she touched upon salt as a water quality issue. Dr. Dan and I expanded somewhat on that topic both with ongoing Elmira water quality issues as well as with ongoing TCE (trichloroethylene) issues in Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo. There was some discussion regarding how both corporate money and politics overwhelms regulatory bodies (MOE/MECP) as well as local politicians. I believe that the message did get through that everybody now a days understands that an ounce of prevention/awareness is worth a pound of cure after pollution has occurred.

Dr. Dan and I each received a card and small present afterwards from the kids and greatly appreciated the opportunity to speak with them.

Monday, March 2, 2020


Dr. Dan Holt and I are back on an environmental, classroom experience today. In the past we have spoken about Elmira water issues at Wilfred Laurier University as well as at local public schools. It's been a couple of years since our last excursion and we both are looking forward to it. Our last trip was particularly worthwhile as the kids involved (Grade 7) were well prepared ahead of time on the subject matter and had literally dozens of excellent questions for us.

As you will likely recall Dr. Holt was the Chair of the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) from 2011 until September 2015. CPAC as a committee of Council was disbanded in typical Woolwich Township amateur and nasty fashion and replaced with two brand new committees. The members of that last CPAC however changed the name to Citizens Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) and have continued on albeit in a lower key fashion with Dr. Holt still as Chair.

Today's discussion, question and answer sessions etc. will at least partially encompass our experiences, good and bad, in Elmira post "Water Crisis" but may also likely include some discussions regarding our regional water supply and treatment. While the Region of Waterloo have stepped up incredibly since the 1989 Elmira water crisis, nevertheless challenges remain. Some are being well addressed, others less so.