Wednesday, May 31, 2023


 What a hypocritical country we live in. Minority rights my butkus. This country like every other has been built upon the rich and powerful taking from those who aren't. It's been about the concentration of wealth with  the powerful lobbying for the laws and rules that help mostly themselves often at the expense of others. Man made laws are primarily for the purpose of reinforcing the status quo as in making it easier for the rich to get richer usually at the expense of those who already have very little. 

Pollution laws are mostly vote getters. Politicians then make sure that whatever inadequate laws there are will not be properly enforced. Blatant pollution is ignored while selective enforcement sometimes occurs on a complaints driven basis only. In Elmira, Ontario the owner of tiny Varnicolor Chemical, albeit a large polluter, went to jail. Nobody from the larger polluter Uniroyal Chemical ever came close to going to jail. 

Gravel pits are another sore point. Snyder Rd. west of Kitchener and near the village of Petersburg  is an example. Apparently there are seven gravel pits along Snyder Rd. One or two pits could probably easily handle the volume of gravel being extracted and used each year from all those pits but oh no various aggregate users and developers all want a piece of the action and to hell with the noise, dust and disruption to a few nearby rural neighbours. Here's where minority rights come in. Maybe you are harming the quality of life of only 30-40 people with each new gravel pit along that road. Do either the provincial government or the aggregate companies care if it's 30-40 in total or even if it's 30-40 people per pit as in 35x7 pits= 245 people. Either way it's a tiny total of the whole population of either the village, the Region or the province. That is how they get away with that crap. Although they personally are pocketing 100% of the profits their claim is that the whole province are benefiting from cheap gravel close to the end use of it. Nonsense!  It's all about a small group of already well off people with outsize political influence getting laws made to harm unorganized, non wealthy minorities in order to milk the country's natural resources  for their personal benefit. 

That folks describes a democratic, capitolist country: wealthy minorities ensuring the laws, rules and regulations permit them to exploit natural resources for their sole advantage with non wealthy minorities living with all the negatives from it. i.e. just like pollution they externalize their costs upon everyone else. (today's Waterloo Region Record: Paige Desmond: "You're all a bunch of cowards" - residents decry pit approval)   

Tuesday, May 30, 2023


I believe that the Uniroyal/Lanxess Canada site in Elmira has been leaking  into the natural environment from all aquifers. Yesterday we talked about the Municipal Aquifers (MU & ML) and today it is about the Shallow Aquifers also known as the Upper Aquifers (UA1, 2, 3). Page 5 in the April 2023 monthly Progress Report tells the tale while a picture is provided in Fig D.3, D4 and D.5 all in Attachment D. 

Page 5 advises us that as per Figure D.3  "...there were several losses of containment on April 13, 2023."  Further  "Figure D.4 shows UA1 groundwater elevation contours beneath the entire Site, East of the Creek, UA1 groundwater  elevations north of OW98-5 were higher than the corresponding surface water elevations which is consistent with the discharge of this groundwater into the Creek." Finally "The UA1 groundwater elevation at UOW+460 was higher than the surface water elevation at station SS+450A indicating UA1 groundwater was not contained at this location."

How often and how severe over the decades have these losses of hydraulic containment been? How much of Uniroyal's toxic legacy has continued to flow off their site both into the Elmira drinking water aquifers and into the Canagagigue Creek? With total control of the cleanup in the hands of the polluter (Uniroyal/Lanxess) and their partner in pollution (Min. of Environment/MECP) it is difficult to prove. Exactly as planned and supported by many local politicians. 

Monday, May 29, 2023


 Lots of excuses. Lots of psuedo explanations yet none of them address the decades of pumping in which the Target pumping rates were taken seriously. Now all we keep hearing is that well these really were only suggestions not requirements. Good Lord! The battles UPAC and CPAC went through to ensure that as poor as Pump & Treat was that at least it would not weaken or falter.

The April 2023 monthly Progress Report has been released. Both on-site Municipal Aquifer pumping wells are way below their Target Pumping Rates. It also looks as if suddenly the footnote advising that GHD recommends that Lanxess maintain "...pumping rates greater than or equal to these rates." has been somewhat altered. It has been removed on page 7 completely however on page 2 it just seems a little different. The Target Average for PW4 is 2.9  l/sec and the actual average is only 2.2  l/sec. Similarly the Target Average for PW5 is 1.8  l/sec and the actual average is only 1.1  l/sec. These are huge decreases and failures in on-site pumping and all the excuses in the world do not justify or permit the.

Come on TAG, get off your butts and start yelling long and loud to the public about this. Otherwise your affinity and extent of cooperation with GHD, Lanxess and the Ontario Ministry of Environment will be seen as capitulation and surrender. 

Saturday, May 27, 2023


Not a whole lot in common one would think in regards the title above. Well yes and no. Both show a remarkable contempt and disdain for the public.  The behaviour of our Ontario government, Ministry of Natural Resources and some local councils regarding gravel pits mirrors the behaviour of many of our Trustees at the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). Gad what a pack of shits. Oh and you can certainly add the Ontario Land Tribunal to the list above although I suppose if the province gives them their marching orders ahead of time to approve as many new gravel pits as possible then we can expect what we are getting.

The WRDSB  have yet again over many decades been getting the press they deserve which most recently includes the Caroline Burjowski issue as well as the Trustees' wish to subvert the wishes of the voting public in order to bolster their own minority wishes. Shutting down parents and educators alike is all in a days work for the Borad of Trustees. Failing to take immediate, strong action against past criminal behaviour by a very few (Thank God) rotten apple teachers should have tarred the Board (WRDSB) and maybe the Trustees forever. It has not. 

Regarding the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) they just like their predecessor the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) are simply a cudgel used to beat down citizen and taxpayers opposition to the proliferation of unnecessary new gravel pits sometimes with several grouped together all on a single road or in close proximity. That the Conservative provincial government have changed the rules even more dramatically in favour of gravel pit proponents is shocking and contemptible. Advising citizen groups in advance that if (actually when) they lose the hearing they will be on the hook for their opponents legal costs is disgusting. It is a blatant and successful attempt to deter any serious opposition to new gravel pits and has changed decisions by both Woolwich Township (the Maryhill Pit) and Wilmot Township (the Hallman Pit).

This is precisely why citizens have and are losing confidence in their governments who less and less even pretend to be governing in the public interest.

Friday, May 26, 2023


 My opinion is yes however today I will focus on Fraser Kelly who has in my opinion brought the administration of justice into disrepute. Hmm so has RR  but his was a little more subtle. Well just to show that no one is perfect darned if the Woolwich Observer newspaper article I wish to quote appears to be hand dated March 24/31. Seriously. Now the article I've saved on the other side of the page is hand dated March 24/16 which makes a lot more sense. 

The title of the article I wish to examine is "Crown drops case against Woolwich mayor". Now Mr. Kelly is quoted at length and frankly he's absolutely full of it with his nonsense about legal technicalities that I allegedly failed to follow. Firstly I'm not a lawyer. Secondly each and every charge had to be vetted by a Justice of the Peace and was. Thirdly the entire private prosecution process is arduous, long and twisted and I believe that is by intent. In other words the system does not like private prosecutions no matter how well founded and substantiated they are.

I will skip right to the nub of the matter. I was quoted in the Woolwich Observer thusly :  "I must have missed the overnite announcement that the province has repealed the Municipal Elections Act". "If the Crown advises that the specific laws broken by Mayor Shantz are minor or trivial, then again, clearly I missed that part of the MEA which specifically stated that they are trivial or minor and therefore merely suggestions to be followed by election candidates, if they feel like it.".   

That is exactly what has occurred. Mayor Shantz screwed up royally and repeatedly and bluntly some of the errors are incredibly self-serving as she twisted and contorted to keep below the maximun expenditures that would demand an audit. This would allow her to both avoid the additional personal cost of the audit as well as help to hide the fact that she spent about triple her combined opponents to obtain the mayor's chair. Unintentional my butkus. Oh all right it's hard to prove intent therefore I'll settle for damned suspicious and leave it at that.

Thursday, May 25, 2023


 It's become an incestuous relationship. Talk about being in bed together. Governments are supposed to be regulators not babysitters concerned with their "client's" best interests. Similarly corporation's duties are to follow the laws, rules and regulations not to be a political partner of governments by assisting them  with helpful public relations. This is why books have been written about polluters "capturing" their regulators.

There is an interesting phenomenon going on right now in Elmira and area. We, the public, do not know for certain who all have contributed to the chlorobenzene, NDMA, toluene, benzene, xylenes etc. in the Municipal Aquifers in Elmira, Ontario. Similarly we, the public, do not know who have contributed the PCBs and mercury to the Canagagigue Creek sediments and downstream soils. Just as we know for certain that Uniroyal Chemical did dump NDMA and chlorobenzene into the Elmira Aquifers we also know that they directly and indirectly dumped DDT and dioxins into the Creek.  Who is responsible for the mercury and PCBs however? There are upstream companies who are known to have had PCBs on their property yet oddly enough the Ontario MECP appear to have given them a free pass. Why?

We know why the MECP gave other in town companies a free pass for their contributions to the Elmira Aquifers. This included Nutrite (Yara) and Varnicolor Chemical although of course yours truly, with assistance, dragged both Varnicolor and the MECP into the public spotlight and eventually the courts. Many other local companies got off scot free. This assisted Uniroyal's local reputation as well as the MOE/MECP's as they could pretend that there were only a couple of bad apples in town versus just about everybody. That made a corrupt and incompetent MOE/MECP look far better than they deserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


 Municipal, regional, provincial and federal: They all abuse their authority whether for personal gain, financial or other, power, greater authority, status, you name it. The old saying is that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". It is true and it is understated and often misunderstood. 

There is an article in today's Waterloo Region Record by Paige Desmond which analyzes strip searches of various levels done by the Waterloo Regional Police. That too is one more example of abuse of authority. The proof is in the lack of accountability and transparency. I have sent a note to the reporter suggesting a few more statistics she might want to look at. If that data is made available to her I expect that the public will see way too much subjectivity, personal animosity and other inappropriate criteria being used for strip searches.  

As it is I believe that the social and cultural, Old Boys Network is far too pervasive here. No I do not believe that Waterloo Region is necessarily worse than other jurisdictions in Ontario and Canada. I do believe however that it is a microcosm of what goes on everywhere. Things like blacklisting for jobs is pervasive amongst certain employers. Their common thread may be membership in private clubs such as Westmount Golf & Country, DeerRidge and others. Many employers love the idea that here in Canada we have a major underclass of citizens permanently relegated to fairly menial, labour intensive jobs. I am not referring to skilled trades here by a country mile. Speaking of Westmount and DeerRidge do you think that our Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs of Police want to hobnob with the unwashed masses on their free time ? Hardly.

I believe that a formal "Blacklist" for employment exists here. It can be "justified" for example when an employee blows the whistle on an employer breaking the law whether labour law, environmental law or whatever. A few words dropped amongst peers and friends and that individual, even if their allegations are backed by the courts, is done locally for most good jobs. Likely there are other blacklists which when in the hands of police for example can be badly misused. I believe some of our school boards are also involved with blacklists when they get into trouble from complaining parents. And on and on. What a country. Our authorities don't generally murder their enemies here, they attempt to starve or criminalize them into submission.

Monday, May 22, 2023


Kelly Donovan and Angie Rivers are two former police officers fighting lonely battles. An entire group of other women police officers filed a class action suit against the Waterloo Regional Police which the courts cheerfully threw out. Are our local courts firmly in bed with our other local power structures? Does the blue wall exist in policing? Are some of the teachers' unions in bed with their own school boards? Have the Waterloo Region District School Board been discredited due to their ongoing harassment of both teachers and parents who disagree with some of their Woke attitudes and policies? 

Why have our regional councillors not been tarred with the same brush as the WRDSB? In particular what about our female regional councillors who conveniently forget their gender when it does not personally help them advance? How about the women representatives, including regional councilllors, on the Police Services Board? They actually have some power but heaven forbid they squander their political capitol on a worthy cause that should be close to their own hearts. Yes they've succeeded albeit against the odds. They too have abandoned  doing the right thing in order to insulate their own progress.

Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carried another article about the trials and difficulties that Angie Rivers, former police officer, has gone through trying to defend her human rights. Funny but mostly, not solely, males on the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) view her human rights as somehow a wall to their own. Is it as simple as they do not want to have to compete for privileges and promotions with the female part of the Police Service ? Is this similar to white, male police officers not wanting to have to compete with black and brown officers? If so it sure shows the entitlement, laziness and lack of confidence of so many of them.

In Terry Pender's Record article last Saturday he listed a number of what appear to be petty complaints and write-ups that Ms. Rivers received as an officer. This is standard operating procedure in any insular and poorly trained workplace. Sometimes the employer, owners and management actually promote internal bickering and undermining of staff hoping to keep the focus off their own weaknesses and drawbacks. In other words fight each other versus getting together and fighting the stupidity and rot at the top. Meanwhile our politicians do what they've always done which is to protect the status quo by occasionally putting bandages over open wounds rather than actually solving serious problems. This also entails sacrificing many good people along the way not for the good of the organization so much as for the benefit of those at the top.  

Saturday, May 20, 2023


 The public interest has never been served by love ins between the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and Uniroyal Chemical. It has however always been served when those two parties or  successors to Uniroyal Chemical are in conflict. I'm particularly thinking of the two Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearings back in 1990 and 1991. Then and only then did the public receive some of the truth and reality of corporate ideology, mass toxic waste dumping and gross governmental failures to supervise and enforce existing environmental legislation.

These governmental failures were closely observed over the decades by other polluters in Elmira who clearly felt that if big/bad Uniroyal Chemical can dump their wastes wherever they want, then why can't we? Some employees of Uniroyal actually started their own waste management companies such as the case of Severin Argenton (founded Varnicolor Chemical) who had worked at Uniroyal Chemical initially. He saw how mere lip service to the then Ministry of Environment (MOE) was more than adequate. 

Does anyone think that the mess at Nutrite (Yara) happened overnite? They had a lagoon on site and had been allowing ammonia, 2,4-D, and other assorted chemicals to leak into the ground on their property beside Uniroyal Chemical here in Elmira. Other companies whether big or small also took note of the lack of enforcement. Same thing with a number of local service stations. One of the finest local examples had to be Woolwich's mayor who had at least two contaminated sites himself within Woolwich Township namely his gas station in Heidelburg that underwent groundwater remediation for many years as well as Strauss Fuels on Arthur St. beside the current location of the Woolwich Observer. Yours truly actually worked on that remediation for Quantum Environmental. Besides labouring I also operated and maintained the on-site portable water treatment plant. This included removing and changing filters as well as emptying and refilling the carbon adsorber vessels.

The Ontario MECP will only step up and confront Lanxess Canada when their own credibility is on the line. Maybe...just maybe their current, contemptible do little or nothing plans for the Canagagigue Creek will do the job. If the public raise enough of a stink about the state of dioxins, PCBs, mercury, DDT and more in the Creek then the MECP might just decide to step in hard. If we are very lucky.

Friday, May 19, 2023


 Yesterday's page 3 article titled "Chlorobenzene spike latest mystery for environmental watchdog" written by Leah Gerber is excellent. She advises readers of the first professionally acknowledged admission that there might well be another source for chlorobenzene in the Elmira Aquifers above and beyond Uniroyal Chemical. That acknowledgement came from Dr. Neil Thompson (U. of Waterloo) who had been hired by Chemtura to write a full and proper Conceptual Site Model (CSM) versus what Dr. Richard Jackson, the first TAG Chair, who had referred to CRA's CSM as a "cartoon".

Ms. Gerber also gives readers a good background analysis of the uses of chlorobenzene including for paints and dyestuffs. Guess who that specifically points to in Elmira's industrial history? My first educated guess would be either Borg Textiles or Varnicolor Chemical both located at Howard Ave. and Union St. with Borg on the south side of Howard Ave. and Varnicolor on the north side. Both of these companies were located south of Uniroyal/Lanxess Canada. Unfortunately there are other possibilities as well.

Is this all ancient history or do we need to know who the source is? We need to know because it is an unbelievable act of gross negligence for the Ontario Ministry of Environment to pick and choose which companies get free passes environmentally versus which ones pay the piper including formal charges. It also is unacceptable for the MOE/MECP to target one company and then make sweetheart deals with that company that are not in the public interest. 

All facets of this coverup by Uniroyal, MOE, Woolwich Twn., Region of Waterloo etc. need to become public. If the Woolwich Observer want to sink their teeth into a real local scandal then here is their opportunity. Free phase DNAPL was found north of Borg and west of Varnicolor near the Elmira water tower approximately 100 feet below ground in well OW57-32 around 2006 and brought to CPAC for discussion by myself. It was inappropriately and falsely dismissed by CRA, Chemtura and the MOE at the time. Now Lanxess are having second thoughts whereas the Ministry (MECP) seem to want to continue the coverup.  

It is time for the full truth around the 1989 Elmira Water Crisis to come out.

Thursday, May 18, 2023


 Luisa D'Amato as a reporter with the Waterloo Region Record has literally decades of experience dealing with and reporting on the WRDSB (Waterloo Region District School Board). I would rate her as being extremely fair, calm and measured in her reporting over the decades. Gosh, balanced would also be a good description. 

Today's Opinion piece by Luisa is titled "Public school trustees show anti-democratic colours in filling board vacancies". Luisa indicates her support for three trustees namely Bill Cody, Mike Ramsay and Cindy Watson who all argued that the runner ups in last fall's election should be appointed to the two now open positions occasioned by a health problem for one and the sudden and unexpected death of another. These three make the excellent point that the voting public made their wishes known only six months ago and that those runner ups are the next persons that the public want as their representatives. This would result in Wendy Woodhall being appointed in Waterloo-Wilmot and Jen Burkholder in Woolwich-Wellesley.

Luisa refers to the rest of the WRDSB's decision to go through an appointment's process as "...breathtaking in its' arrogance." She also stated that "...most other trustees decided they know better than the people who pay the bills, take the time to educate themselves and vote." Her final sentence is in regards to the sacred trust of elections and voting. She strongly advises that "Public school trustees are now moving forward with actions that express contempt for that trust."

While I agree with Luisa's position could it be remotely possible that the WRDSB trustees are merely being provocative and actually are going to appoint the runner ups? I hope that happens but their decision making record doesn't lead to that happy conclusion. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


 Isn't democracy grand? It's not remotely about the rule of law, fairness or equality. It's really no wonder that dictatorships, oligarchies, monarchies and other non-democratic modes of governing choke when told that Democracy is the best of the best. Democracy basically means that those with wealth and power have rules and some limits on their influence. The rest of us have zero limits on our influence because we simply don't have any in this society without money and probably lots of it.

The new proposed gravel pit is called the Middle Street Pit and joins a cacophony of gravel pits along Snyder Rd. What's one more noisy, dusty location with yet even more heavily laden, slow dump trucks going back and forth all day long? For most of us it is nothing but for nearby residents it is everything and it stinks. Paige Desmond has a front page story in today's Waterloo Region Record titled ""Six is enough on this stretch of road", Petersburg resident says of sand pit" "

Interestingly the Trustees of the Waterloo Region District School Board are again back in the news this time regarding how to replace two new trustees who have departed, one for health concerns and the other for his health and life suddenly departing him last week. Both are extremely unfortunate but both give the trustees the opportunity for more politiking and partisanship. They claim that an election is far too costly hence they want to appoint two people who will either toe the line or better yet will be strong supporters of their own positions and biases. Good Lord. Whatever happened to educating students?

If not an election then appointing the two runnerups to the two departed trustees is the way to go. Citizens have already voted and their choices are clear. If trustees pull the same crap that Woolwich Council did a couple of years ago by appointing Julie-Anne Herteis over far better educated and knowledgable candidates simply because she was willing and malleable, then shame on them. Also in Julie-Anne's case the runnerup was Dr. Dan Holt who was/is far better Council material then Julie-Anne ever was which was exactly why he wasn't appointed to Council. Isn't Democracy grand folks? 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023


Dr. Henry Regier sent an excellent e-mail missive to a number of Woolwich Township folks recently in which he properly comes to the defence of the very innocent (mostly) and very tasty pig.  How thoughtless of me to call Uniroyal, Nutrite, Varnicolor Chemical and some of their unheralded local brethern environmental pigs. 

Speaking of calling local polluters environmental pigs inappropriately (to the pigs) what can you say about the lack of on-site pumping of the Municipal Upper and Municipal Lower Aquifers on the Lanxess site last month? Pumping wells PW4 and PW5 pumped a grand total of 3.4 litres per second when their stated and written Target Rate is 4.7 l/sec. What this clearly means to us mere mortals, unblessed with either physic powers or magic wands is that contaminated deep groundwater is leaking off of the Lanxess site further guaranteeing an even longer timespan to clean the Elmira drinking water aquifers. 

Fortunately for Lanxess, the Ontario MECP does not seem willing to criticize them no matter what they do or don't do. Lanxess's bought and paid for apologists claim that everything is just dandy. They claim that they have a vested interest in not losing hydraulic containment. I don't believe a word of it. They are either getting ready to cut and run unilaterally or they are getting ready to cut and run with MECP public approval. Either way both Woolwich taxpayers/residents and the environment are getting screwed. 

Monday, May 15, 2023


 I believe that this may be the beginning of the end of the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Protection (MECP).  Or is it Ministry of Enhanced Corporate Protection? Or is it Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Public Relations?  Regardless they are a long corrupt body whose focus is on avoiding both corporate confrontation as well as avoiding embarrassing the government of the day. With that raisin d'etre they have succeeded admirably to the point of being useless as guardians of the environment and of the public health.

Some form of HONEST and transparent public inquiry is desperately needed in Elmira, Ontario. I have long believed that the MOE/MECP may have fudged the numbers! The mechanics, the chemistry, the individuals are not known to me but the motivation is clear. Just as they did their best in minimizing the two highest concentrations of NDMA found on site (9 parts per billion & 14 ppb) by surrounding them with much lower groundwater concentrations likely many years after Varnicolor ended their illegal discharges of dimethylamine into the natural environment; the MECP probably in conjunction with Varnicolor Chemical and maybe even with Uniroyal Chemical's blessing (?) removed or reduced chlorobenzene shallow groundwater concentrations on site. The 9 ppb NDMA concentration was found in subsurface soil and the 14 ppb was found in a sump on the Varnicolor site.

Varnicolor's business was recycling used paint solvents. Chlorobenzene is an extremely common solvent used with paints. It should have been found along with 100 other solvents on the Varnicolor site but allegedly was not. Similarly Borg Textiles across Howard Ave. from Varnicolor Chemical used massive amount of dyes from Hoest (Germany) among other suppliers. Dyes, solvents and chlorobenzene should have all been common and ubiquitous at this property a mere road width away from Varnicolor. Also Borg was publicly called out by the GRCA in a report on the Grand River watershed in the early 1980s for their discharges of high strength liquid wastes to the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. Why were soil samples either not taken at the Borg site or if they were the results not published for public consumption? I believe it was a coverup. Similarly soil and shallow groundwater testing should have been done at numerous other industrial sites in Elmira in the early 1990s such as Sanyo Canada, McKee Harvestor, Resurfice etc. It was not and the reason is obvious.

One the MOE/MECP did not want the public to know that they didn't simply fail in supervising and enforcing environmental protection at Uniroyal Chemical. They failed at Nutrite, Varnicolor, Uniroyal, multiple gas stations and other local industries in town. Secondly by buying Uniroyal's agreement that they were the sole contributor of NDMA to the town's water supply they further reinforced this falsehood. Uniroyal's price was that they would not be forced to clean up their own property plus Pump & Treat technology would be approved as O.K. when all parties knew then and since that it was not adequate on its' own to do the job by 2028. Also the MOE agreed to wait decades before Uniroyal had to look at cleaning the Canagagigue Creek of DDT and Dioxins etc. in the hope that annual spring floods would wash everything downstream into the Grand River leaving a much smaller mess behind.

The Ministry of Environment have both failed Elmira and Ontario and as well they have colluded with Uniroyal and corporate successors behind closed doors. They have also actively colluded with the polluter to give the impression of public consultation while actually harming it. Many of our local politicians also share blame for their deference to and support of the inadequate environmental cleanup here. 

Saturday, May 13, 2023


 It sure looks that way to me. In protest and disgust I skipped the last public TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meeting at which I've been advised that the excess chlorobenzene in the Elmira Aquifers was also mentioned. The way that Ramin calmly and factually advised TAG, Woolwich Council, the Woolwich Observer and the public at the RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) meeting two days ago was stunning and shocking. As somewhat was Jason Rice's (Min. of Environment/MECP) rebuttal or perhaps merely throwing water on the idea of additional significant polluters in Elmira, Ontario.

Without any doubt Varnicolor Chemical leads the parade of likely environmental pigs courtesy of the efforts of myself, Rich Clausi, Susan RUPERT and Ted Oldfield. Nutrite (Yara/SNC Lavalin) is also a known contributor of ammonia to the Municipal Upper Aquifer. 

Here's what I think. Lanxess Canada are getting private pushback from the Ontario Min. of Environment (MECP) regarding Lanxess's absolutely biased, illogical and contemptible Risk Assessment of the Canagagigue Creek. The MECP are having a hard time selling no downstream cleanup even to friendly opposition such as TAG. As a result Ramin and Lanxess are publicly tweaking the MECP about their past but gross failures to apprehend any of the other major polluters in Elmira. In fact it was my stepping forward with assistance from APTE members that caused the tipping point with Varnicolor Chemical. The MECP did their very best to criticize, denigrate and muzzle my input but combined with my inside source, even years later, we were able to get multiple serious environmental convictions againt Varnicolor Chemical. 

Conestoga Rovers and Uniroyal/Chemtura flatly denied the presence of free phase DNAPL at OW57-32 west of the Varnicolor site, near the water tower. Unfortunately for them that was after they had quietly reported it in their monthly Progress Reports. They, Chemtura and the MECP must have breathed a sigh of relief when neither I nor any other CPAC members initially did not pick up on it. Fortunately later I did and brought it to the original/old CPAC who weren't that interested to my surprise at the time. That of course was when Pat & Susan were firmly in control of CPAC.

The documentation was clear as was the denial, obfuscations and distractions by CRA, MECP and Chemtura regarding free phase DNAPL 100 feet below ground surface. Keep in mind this was years prior to Dr. Neil Thompson publicly advising about the excess chlorobenzene in the Elmira Aquifers. One thing I have learned is how well professional liars can pivot when new facts undermine their old lies.

I believe that Lanxess want a mostly free ride regarding the Canagagigue Creek Risk Assessment. The very gutless and corrupt  Ontario Ministry of Environment will not publicly confront Lanxess Canada over the issue. It's business as usual with the province (MECP) negotiating behind closed doors with the polluter versus actually involving the public in discussions and negotiations. Once again public consultation is all about lip service and public relations not about honesty, transparency and accountability. Quoting famous environmentalist Pat Potter :  "THEY ALL LIE !" 

Friday, May 12, 2023


 There are only so many possibilities as to who it/they are. From north to south in Elmira there is Varnicolor Chemical (a proven gross polluter), Borg Textiles (bailed out of Elmira a few years prior to the discovery of NDMA in the south wellfield), Sanyo Canada (extremely limited evidence), McKee Harvestor (possibly even less evidence than Sanyo). Yes there are a couple of other manufacturing entities nearby (Resurfice etc.) but to date I have heard absolutely zero about their operations. 

Ramin Ansari (Lanxess Canada) publicly stated last evening at RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) that he has three separate lines of evidence indicating a second source of chlorobenzene in the Elmira drinking water aquifers. Prof Neil Thompson (U. of Waterloo) first raised the possibility/probability of a second source of chlorobenzene during his stint writing a Conceptual Site Model (CSM) on behalf of Chemtura about five years ago. I believe that he stated that there was an excess amount of chlorobenzene dissolved in the Elmira Aquifers from what the records had stated was the amount of chlorobenzene which Uniroyal Chemical had likely discharged as waste into the natural environment.

Jason Rice of the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MECP) was much more unwilling than Ramin to suggest that a third environmental pig/hard working industry had contributed to the local contaminated groundwater by improperly disposing of their waste chlorobenzene. In fact if I were not aware of the long ago "sweetheart deal" between the MECP and Uniroyal Chemical I might have wondered at Jason's reluctance. Jason went so far as to cast doubt on any other chlorobenzene source and then flatly stated that there was no ongoing source of chlorobenzene to the Elmira Aquifers. Hmm is he in a backhand manner suggesting that there was another source but they no longer operate in Elmira, Ontario? This of course could include Varnicolor Chemical, Borg Textiles (Glenoit) and McKee Harvestor.

Councillor Eric Schwindt bluntly asked whether the appearance of two separate chlorobenzene plumes indicated another separate, unknown source perhaps located closer to the south wellfield. This is when Ramin started to talk about Dr. Neil Thompson of the University of Waterloo. Also of interest to me is the high concentrations (40 ppb.) of NDMA also found in the south end of Elmira not far from the south wellfield. NDMA found at Varnicolor Chemical in both soil and groundwater has long piqued my interest especially with their use of dimethylamine, a precurser to NDMA. Varnicolor used that chemical in a commercial can coating process on site for a while.

One of Ramin's three lines of evidence is the "fingerprint" of the chlorobenzene found in the south end of Elmira. Allegedly this chemical can be determined to be different from the "fingerprint" of the chlorobenzene used by Uniroyal Chemical. I would like further information on that but of course as a member of the unwashed masses not specifically hand picked by Sandy Shantz & friends (MECP & Lanxess) to be a TAG member, I am not allowed to ask any questions. 

Two further interesting points were raised last evening. Firstly I believe it was Ramin who stated that to his knowledge no contaminant plume of the magnitude of the Elmira plumes (NDMA & chlorobenzene) has ever been fully remediated most especially by Pump & Treat methodology. Gee thanks Ramin: Elmira residents could have used that information 33 years ago instead of being lied to about a thirty year full cleanup. Secondly Ramin then falsely claimed that "...pump and treat was the only way to do this back in the 1980s." 

Jason Rice (MECP) also had his moments when he suggested that a reevaluation and review of remedial methods will be required when we have certain knowledge that the 2028 deadline will not occur. Really! Well we are there and have been now for several years so get off your butt and do your job Ontario Ministry of Environment. Source removal has long been advised by citizen reps on UPAC, CPAC and even somewhat on TAG.

Free phase DNAPL (chlorobenzene) was discovered west of Varnicolor Chemical 100 feet below ground near the Elmira Water Tower. MECP, Chemtura and CRA (Conestoga Rovers) all downplayed it at the time despite my insistence upon transparency. This was around 2008. This was why pumping well W4 was located nearby in order to capture the chlorobenzene as it dissolved into the groundwater. This chlorobenzene either came from Uniroyal or else from Varnicolor or even Borg Textiles across Howard Avenue from Varnicolor. I was kicked off CPAC by Woolwich Council (& Pat & Susan) specifically because of my insistence on full and honest examination of DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids). Now years alter it is becoming public knowledge that chlorobenzene, both dissolved and as a DNAPL, has contributed more and worse than originally understood to the destruction of our drinking water aquifers.

This is exactly what happens when the fox (Uniroyal & MECP) are in charge of the cleanup from beginning to end. They lie and obfuscate one to lessen their financial costs and secondly to lessen the costs to their reputation and public relations. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023


     RAC -Remediation Advisory Committee

Wow it's a little bit of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

This is in regards to both the environmental issues in Elmira that RAC prefer to gloss over as well as the public consultation issues that I (and CPAC) have long raised including the nonsense that occurred towards me at the March TAG meeting. I have sent repeated e-mails & phone calls to the new Support Specialist on that matter with zero response or comments back. I expect this is likely less her doing and more under orders either from Woolwich's mayor or CAO.

God help Woolwich Township if there is ever a public inquiry or some other honest form of independent inquiry into what has occurred here since the November 1989 Elmira Water Crisis. Now I am no longer the naive person I was more than thirty years ago. I routinely see the corrupting political influences that have spread into all our systems and processes including so called independent inquiries etc.  Whether the OLT (Ontario Land Tribunal), the EAB ( possibly now the Environmental Review Tribunal), MECAC (Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee) or even our Provincial and Superior Courts down in Kitchener; it is very bad. Regional and municipal governments are treated by our courts differently than unknown individuals are. The same thing goes for our local School Boards and believe me the bias is in favour of the status quo which means against you and me and most of the rest of us. 

Hence when the time comes that those in power can no longer look the other way, rest assured that they will do their utmost to tilt any examination or investigation into Elmira's cleanup/remediation in their favour and even possibly shifting the blame onto the victims of their bias and incompetence. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


 The quote above is from the April 5, 2016 Waterloo Region Record Editorial titled "Council shouldn't gag the public". It is in my opinion one of the defining moments of both Sandy Shantz's mayoralty as well as in the battle for proper public consultation regarding the Elmira Water Crisis. It is also one of the defining moments personally for Dr. Dan Holt and myself regarding how Mayor Shantz and former councillor Mark Bauman disparaged and criticized CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) back in 2015. They manufactured a crisis and then quietly backed both Chemtura (Uniroyal) and the Ontario Ministry of Environment's efforts to destroy CPAC as an effective, informed citizens' voice for a better cleanup of soils, ground and surface water in Elmira.

The above quote in the title of this Blog posting refers to Woolwich Council's egregious attempt to deny Woolwich citizens and residents the right to address their Council on a matter of local significance and of great importance. Now seven years later it is even more obvious that all the promises and commitments made by Uniroyal Chemical and the Ontario Ministry of Environment were nothing but wind and bluster. The 2028 mandated restoration of the Elmira Aquifers to drinking water standards will not happen according to all stakeholders. The goal (2028) was never impossible IF the guilty parties had listened with open minds to suggestions and comments from local, informed citizens. Instead with cover from both municipal and provincial politicians they ploughed ahead with the cheapest and least effective remediation possible. You get what you pay for.


Tuesday, May 9, 2023


 The Agenda page of course is for this Thursday May 11/23 at 5:30 pm.  It is both very thin as well as somewhat weak in content. Item 5.1 is the 2022 Annual Monitoring Report presented by the so called famous and wonderful Joe Ricker. Well at least GHD and Lanxess think he's something special which pretty much tells me all I need to know about him. Agenda Item 5.2 is Jason Rice of the Min. of Environment (MECP) telling us about the Ministry's role as the "Regulator". Seriously. This should be good for at least a few sniggers and smiles. Item 6 is the status update on the 2023 alleged Work Plan. It is difficult to get enthusiastic about a third party's decades long attempt to avoid spending money, avoid facing the long term informed local public and overall running interference for our local, world class polluter and heavy duty B/S artist. 

The second page of the Package is the start of the Minutes for the December 8/22 virtual RAC meeting. The bottom of page 2 has an awkward sentence likely indicating the author's misunderstanding of what "back diffusion" is and how it effects groundwater cleanup. The next page references "discussions" about various cleanup options past 2028. To date I would reference these "discussions" as primarily private and or secret. There are also claims that on-site containment of contaminants is holding despite long term pumping reductions. Regarding on-site direct cleanup of  their contamination, Lanxess stickhandled around the question with an indirect answer that they expect to pump & Treat on-site  "in perpetuity". In other words NO they do not want to spend money to properly clean up their site.

On page 4 there is a reference to myself actually being allowed to ask a question of Ramin Ansari of Lanxess. Of course my name was not directly included in the blessed, near spiritual writing of the RAC Minutes. Basically Ramin agreed that mathematically I was correct in that there was greater off-site pumping currently than there ever has been however that that was not translating into drawing contaminated groundwater off-site thus causing a loss of on-site hydraulic containment. Frankly I do not believe a word that comes out of his mouth or the MECP's. Too many decades of obfuscation and bullsh*t have lessened their credibility to zero. 



Monday, May 8, 2023


 RAC or Remediation Advisory Committee is the more useless and biased of the two committees of council. It also as is typical politically the far more influential of the two committees. In other words TAG reports to a bunch of RAC bureaucrats and politicians who know little and generally side with the status quo and the monied interests. The virtual meeting is this Thursday at 5:30 pm. and can be attended by contacting Robin Koutrouliotis at Woolwich Township (6691647) preferably today.

Last Saturday the K-W Record carried a story titled "Why are toxic dyes still used on our clothes?" That is an excellent question and my immediate answer would be because our governments do not protect us especially when some already wealthy folks want to keep on making money despite the health implications for others. Dying fish species, contaminated soil and poisoned drinking water as well as rare human diseases and serious skin ailments and rashes are all the result of using chemical dyes. 

There are natural dyes available including some produced by microorganisms. The problem is that the powerful and wealthy have little incentive to make changes that might cost them money in the short term. In other words, business as usual with minimum government oversight.

Saturday, May 6, 2023


 Generally it's easy albeit I'll admit it is not 100% foolproof. If the alleged environmentalist is accepted, praised, recognized and most especially given awards by government agencies, ministries or politicians at any level then most likely you've got a stinker. Ask yourself for example when was the last time David Suzuki was talked up by either federal or provincial politicians and leaders. Even in the unlikely case of that happening if you listen carefully you will hear things like well if only he wasn't quite so strident or gosh he could be so much more effective if he only changed this or did that. That is politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths. 

Bureaucrats and politicians love soft environmentalists. These are possibly good people who nevertheless avoid controversial statements and positions. They are by nature conciliatory. A perfect example of the exact opposite would have been Pat Potter originally from the Dunnville area near Lake Erie. She was known to wear T-shirts to public meetings that said "THEY All LIE ".  

Co-opted environmentalists are welcomed with open arms at all public meetings by those in authority. They want persons who appear green to lend credibility to their basically tarnished ideas, positions and history. By lining themselves up with token environmentalists, politicians pretend that they have open minds and listen to both sides when in fact they absolutely abhor sharing a stage with those with strong, informed and differing opinions. Neither Pat Potter nor myself were or are welcomed to public meetings and events by those trying to promote the status quo at the expense of the environment and public interest.  

Friday, May 5, 2023


 Well done with yesterday's article titled "No end in sight for efforts to decontaminate Elmira aquifer". It is truly surprising how many relatively well informed Elmira and Woolwich residents assume that no news is good news and hence that the cleanup is over and everything has been restored. It's not even close despite percentages and numbers thrown out by Lanxess Canada and fellow apologists. 

Ms. Gerber has defined for her audience the process of "back diffusion" whereby contaminants (from Uniroyal) have moved into the aquitards (clay & silt) in the past and now as the aquifer (saturated sand & gravel) slowly becomes cleaner the contaminants back diffuse (i.e. move) from the aquitard back into the aquifer. This process really isn't any surprise to knowledgable hydrogeologists and has been known for many decades or longer.

The "pulse pumping" strategy is also a cost cutting move for which Uniroyal Chemical and successors are famous for. Or as consultant Dave Belanger on behalf of the Region of Waterloo stated decades ago "Pump & Treat is the cheapest, least effective remediation method.". That has been proven true as despite the so called efficacy and cost effectiveness of hydraulic containment (pump & treat) the fact remians that all parties and stakeholders admit and understand that it has failed to deliver cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers within thirty years and perhaps within sixty years. As suggested other, better remediation is long overdue but the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Lanxess would rather not. Unfortunately all the culpable parties are in control of the cleanup and nobody wants to rock the boat provided it is only the public and the environment who suffer as a result.   

Thursday, May 4, 2023


 "Turnaround is fair play". "What comes around goes around". Both of those quotes apply. Now I've been involved with chatting with students in their educational setting, off and on for years. I do it because frankly social media and our mainstream media (newspapers, T.V., radio) don't talk about local pollution often enough in my opinion. Yes the "Elmira Water Crisis" was national and international news back in the day (1989-1992) but the crisis continues. We do not have our own local water in our taps as promised and likely will not for many decades more if ever. Similarly the Canagagigue Creek is a mess with Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and more in the Creek sediments, soils, fish and other mostly untested lifeforms further up the food chain. Finally the former Uniroyal Chemical site (now Lanxess Canada) is still a disgusting mess albeit mostly underground and out of sight.

Even without the public relations efforts of Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura/Lanxess I would volunteer for these educational efforts to inform the next generations. Knowing however how actively corporate polluters like to have their cake and eat it too, my continued speaking out along with my colleagues (CPAC +) feels very rewarding. I have learned over the decades exactly how much I despise lying from politicians, lawyers, intellectual prostitutes, and our various authority figures whether bureaucratic or political. If I am able to throw any sand whatsoever into the well oiled gears of professional liars who somehow think that lying is O.K. if it is done to garner votes, or money for the corporation's bottom line; then I am doing my job. Yes I understand that there is and has been a cost to doing that but clearly it's one I've been willing (sort of) to pay. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023


 Actually it's just one more visit to a local educational venue to speak to students about groundwater contamination. Over the years I've been involved in doing this mostly in conjunction with one or two other CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) members. This of course is despite our current mayor's lying about our group back in 2015 for political purposes. Generally speaking I've found students whether public school or high school age to be very interested in matters that especially have affected either themselves or their parents. 

The best part of course is when the students are attentive enough and interested enough to ask questions. Often the questions are somewhat unexpected ones and challenge the speaker, his recollections and possible biases. This is also an opportunity for me to see the difference that individual teachers can make in their classrooms. While following a fairly strict curriculum may be necessary at the same time experienced teachers can stimulate students with different learning methods and experiences including bringing in guest speakers.

I have posted here, even recently, criticisms of our public school board as well as the provincial Ministry of Education. The fact is that the rubber meets the road in the classroom in front of students. They are the most important part of education and it is good to see that many rank and file teachers put their students learning ahead of everything else.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023


 I keep thinking that it will but then there is nothing in the media for several days. Today's K-W Record has an Opinion piece by regional councillor Colleen James in which she castigates the three regional councillors on the Police Board who conveniently kept quiet during regional council's debates and deliberations on the police budget. The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) were asking for several millions of dollars more in this year's budget and there was most appropriately pushback from some councillors. By the way the three regional councillors on the Police Board are Karen Redman, Doug Craig and our very own Woolwich mayor Sandy Shantz.

To make a long story short these three Police Board regional councillors only provided their colleagues with a two page Summary of the financial position of our WRPS. With much angst regional council approved the budget increase only to learn weeks later that the WRPS have been enjoying budget supluses recently and have money set aside that regional councillors did not know about. That is the majority of regional councillors not on the Police Board did not know about the surplus whereas the three councillors on the Board did. Well! It seems that politicians not only don't mind leaving citizens in the dark but when it suits their purposes will leave their own colleagues in the dark as well. As Colleen James has suggested this does not bode well for political transparency between any of the stakeholders.   

Monday, May 1, 2023


 This is exactly why citizens withdraw from any kind of public life, public service and or even public comment on issues. Thirty three years ago the Elmira public were appropriately outraged with their local and provincial politicians, Ministry of Environment (MOE/MECP) and Uniroyal Chemical. Decades of falsehoods, obfuscations, ignored criticisms of serious pollution all came home to bite our so called authorities and elected politicians. However all the guilty parties got together and rewrote history as best they could. They also pretended to listen to local, involved citizens who demanded to be part of the solution. Then slowly but inexorably our authorities one step at a time reestablished control and authority over the entire cleanup/remediation process. They did it primarily through dishonesty and obfuscation backed up by technical "experts" conveniently getting paid by the polluter them self.

TAG members and others knew what occurred at the March TAG meeting and how I was intentionally isolated amd made to wait before entering the virtual TAG meeting. The e-mail I sent to all the Woolwich councillors including mayor Shantz was also later sent to CPAC and TAG members. Yes CPAC ,members have commented to me about it but so far other than Sebastian (CPAC & TAG member) not a peep from the other members, the Chair (Tiffany Svensson) and sure as heck not from mayor Shantz or the councillors yet. That said I did hear from one councillor, to their credit, prior to the TAG meeting when I wasn't even sure if I was getting in at all. 

Truly incredible that public consultation has deteriorated to such a degree although there is some pushback occurring with a review of RAC & TAG procedures underway. Thank goodness although frankly Lanxess and the Min. of Environment (MECP) have let this self-serving situation go on for far too long. There is absolutely zero credibility in their claims of open and full public consultation. I believe that some day jokes will be made regarding token public consultation by referring to it as "Elmira style" public consultation. All credit to Sandy, MECP and Lanxess for more shame and embarassment being put upon our home and township.