Wednesday, May 13, 2020


This is the result of the heavy industrialization within Kitchener-Waterloo (shhh- & Cambridge) from approximately 1850 until 2005. The report that I have been rereading is on-line and is titled "Groundwater contamination in the kitchener-waterloo area, Ontario" dated January 1995. The authors were a multitude of hydroegeologists from the University of Waterloo and their report was published in the Canadian Water Resources Journal.

After reviewing this article I will say in a nutshell that plans for looking at a pipeline to one of the Great Lakes twenty-five plus years ago were not premature based upon the extent of contamination in the aquifers of the Waterloo Moraine in Waterloo and Kitchener. The industries involved included plastics, leather tanning, textiles (woolen mills etc.), rubber and chemical industries. The toxic chemicals and heavy metals in our drinking water aquifers include trichloroethylene (TCE), NDMA, benzene, toluene, xylenes, PCBs, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, and aluminum. What is likely of great significance is the number of drinking wells in Waterloo Region closed down due to industrial contamination over the last thirty years or more. Furthermore while this study by U. of Waterloo experts, provoked by the 1989 Elmira Water Crisis (pg. 147), focused on Kitchener and Waterloo, do not doubt for a second the volume, density and only possibly in hindsight, the anti-social environmental behaviour of industrialists in Cambridge (Hespeler, Preston, Galt).

Instead of proceeding with a Great Lakes pipeline, our local illuminaries decided instead to pick upon the Grand River. Or more accurately to pick upon the residents of the Grand River watershed. As bad as our groundwater has become, the Grand River has been the recipient of most if not all of these contaminants right from the beginning of local industrialization. Surely the most soluble contaminants are long ago deposited into Lake Erie but certainly contaminated sediments, creekbank soils and floodplain soils continue on just as they do downstream of Elmira in the Canagagigue Creek.

This report also takes careful aim at our beloved (Ha!) Ontario Ministry of Environment and their somewhat notorious past dealings with polluting industries. In fact there is significant discussion regarding the lack of public trust in both government and industry. That lack of trust is, in my opinion, deserving.

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