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. 

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