Wednesday, June 14, 2023


 The examples are legion namely Uniroyal Chemical, Varnicolor Chemical (Lot 91), Grassy Narrows, Gaukel St. Kitchener Post Office/former Bus Depot, and the one written about a week ago Saturday in the Record namely Deilcraft/Electrohome. That story was titled "Construction set to begin at former Electrohome site in Kitchener". This site is at the corner of Duke and Shanley St. in Kitchener and the original factory was erected in 1898 and demolished in 2020. Most likely the gross soil and groundwater contamination has been there since the 1950s and 60s albeit it's probably only been public knowledge for barely the last twenty-five years or so. A quarter century that local residents have lived beside it not knowing the extent of the threat to their health and lives. Sounds to me more like a third world country than the Canada I was brought up in.

This article focuses on the new residential apartment building soon to arise and barely even mentions the sad, dangerous and pathetic environmental history of the site. Furniture makers use large quantities of paints and dangerous solvents. Those solvents were either spilled or dumped on site into the ground. I'm thinking of Sunar/Sunshine just off of Erb St. in Waterloo and stories of open lagoons for similar waste products from their production of metal furniture, lockers etc. This site was known to have trichloroethylene (TCE) in the subsurface which is higly toxic. It has been publicized in various movies such as "A Civil Action" (John Travolta) and others. TCE is toxic via direct inhalation, in drinking water and by vapour intrusion into basements of homes (also inhalation). It was most likely responsible for cancers, other sicknesses and deaths in the Bishop St. community in Cambridge as it entered hundreds of homes through their basements.

How good was the belated cleanup? How much money was saved by letting these toxins volatolize into the air as well as disperse and dilute in the groundwater? How many human beings paid the costs of improper and late cleanup with their health? Shame on our authorities.

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