Thursday, July 28, 2022


 I'm going into a little more detail today regarding what appears to me to likely be dishonest and disingenuous groundwater and drinking water information being given to the public. The garage/service station on the NE corner of Lobsinger Line and Kressler Rd. sits on the Wellesley/Woolwich boundary. It is however clearly in Woolwich Township. 

I am smelling an inappropriate scratch my back and I'll scratch yours political scenario. Yesterday here I indicated a number of past examples of the Region of Waterloo gilding the lily by not indicating to the public the clearest and most accurate causes of groundwater contamination affecting local drinking water. I have sent my comments regarding the proposed Heidelberg Water Treatment Plant to both Stantec Consulting and to the Engineering and Planning, Region of Waterloo, Water Services as suggested in the on-line document.

There are four Alternative Solutions proposed. Number 1. is do nothing which seems odd considering that we are told that "...significant components (of the water treatment plant) will reach the end of their service life within the next five years." 

Alternative 2. is "Implement upgrades to the existing Heidelberg WTP (water treatment plant). Allow the plant to continue supplying Heidelberg in the long-term. " This "alternative" is ranked second lowest after Alternative 1., albeit in my opinion by a rather bizarre ranking system. One thing it does do is give the appearance that nothing is wrong with the groundwater and the treated drinking water from the Heidelberg wells. 

Alternative 3. is the preferred and most highly ranked alternative. It suggests decommissioning the Heidelberg plant and building a short pipeline from St. Clements to Heidelberg and supplying both towns from the St. Clements wells.

Alternative 4. suggests extending the new pipeline a little further to the existing Heidelberg WTP storage tank. This would entail partial decommissioning of the treatment processes at Heidelberg WTP.

What seems clear to me is that there appears to be exactly zero discussion or even mention of the years long groundwater remediation underway in Heidelberg caused by underground leaking fuel tanks at the garage mentioned in my first paragraph. Does the plot thicken? Possibly local residents have received updates on the years long remediation efforts and effects. Possibly not. What I do know is that contaminated groundwater flows and carries contaminants with it. It can even flow against the normal groundwater flow direction by being "pulled" upgradient by the pumping of municipal drinking water wells. This is exactly how Elmira's north wellfield became polluted with NDMA from Uniroyal Chemical despite the natural groundwater flow being south to south-west.

Is this the normal don't scare the horses or the public with bad news scenario going on or is something more insidious? Is the fact that the owner/operator of the service station was both a local Mayor as well as a Waterloo Regional Councillor for many years part of the reason? To counteract the appearances  of fibbing or even simply ignoring the groundwater contamination it would be appropriate for all the Heidelberg groundwater studies to be released to the public. I suppose it could be possible that the quite gross groundwater contamination including LNAPLS floating on the surface may not have entered the cone of influence of the Heidelberg pumping wells. Personally however I am doubtful of that. The wells are much too close. It is also possible that the Region have been treating this contaminated groundwater successfully but the costs have become exorbitant and untenable to continue to do so. Hence the real need for upgrades.


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