Thursday, February 29, 2024


 I've been advised that some (all?) of the reforms of RAC & TAG will be introduced this Tuesday at the Committee of the Whole meeting (7 pm.) in Woolwich Council Chambers.  TRAC or the so called Technical & Remediation Advisory Committee is supposed to replace it. I expect some pretty heavy duty bullsh*t will be required in order to gracefully throw out Sandy's baby (RAC & TAG) and replace it with TRAC. Two weeks later it would be likely that Woolwich Council will then give the go ahead for this latest public relations foray.

Earlier this week in writing (e-mail) I did advise all Woolwich councillors that I had not been fully briefed on the changes. In fact it was a case of one councillor (Nathan) showing up at my door uninvited and giving me only a partial glimpse into the new committee. No mention of who will be on the committee only that there will be improved interactions with the public. This upon questioning was advised to be members of the public will be allowed during meetings to ask questions as well as make comments. Of course the proof is in the pudding as promises in Elmira are like the wind. They blow hot and cold and often reverse direction.

Knowing so very little as to what is being proposed ahead of time it's difficult to know what to be a Delegate about. Perhaps after I hear some more substantive information I will decide to be a Delegate at the March 19/24 Council meeting. We shall see as obviously after 35 years of ongoing deception, manipulation and lying why exactly should I expect anything else from Woolwich Township? I expect that this is the primary way that they get rid of opposition i.e. just keep on lying and ignoring facts and truth.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


 The simplest definition of "dishonest governance" in the title above is either staff or councillors lying to their residents and citizens. Unfortunately no politicians yet have had the courage or stupidity to attempt to make lying to the electorate illegal. If they did we'd have the Russian equivalent of jailed politicians. 

Nathan Cadeau stated that I called him slimy and a polluter apologist somewhere recently. Hmm must have been an off day for me going so easy on him. Now again as per the title above why do I feel that dishonest governance is inevitable? Easy! If a municipality has made the decision to participate in a coverup of almost any kind then bingo it's full speed ahead with the lying. Now there is lying by both omission and commission. My long held opinion is that Woolwich Township are up to their necks in both.

Poor old Nathan I believe has been appointed the dedicated whipping boy. Now he does have unusual skills in that his confidence to knowledge ratio is so very high. He also has a very thick skin which is good. Finally he has the knack of reading an e-mail sent to him and totally ignoring and not even acknowledging its' contents in his response. O.K. I'll admit that I don't like that . It's really quite ignorant but may be helpful to him when he has no honest response. 

I am gaining confidence that Sandy has also been chosen many years ago to be the political sacrificial lamb. When the rats start leaving the ship somebody is always left holding the bag and my prediction is that Sandy and Nathan are the designated duo. They are silly think that the power base behind them will support them to the end as long as they don't lose faith. Ha ! We will see.    

Tuesday, February 27, 2024



Following is the speech I presented publicly last week at the Rural Roots venue following the showing of the Documentary "Toxic Time Bomb" by Sheba Films. Again kudos to the owner Roger Jutzi, organizer Sadi Goertz, Master of Ceremonies Rich Clausi.

                                                                                                       FEB. 21/24

Elmira's Environmental Awareness Event

One company has been in full charge and full control of the failed Elmira cleanup. That is the polluters themselves namely Uniroyal Chemical and then their corporate successors which currently is Lanxess Canada. The Ontario Ministry of Environment are the alleged regulators. They have proven to be pathetic and wholly incapable of protecting Elmira's environment and citizens.

Since 2012 local residents known as the Citizens Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) have advised both Woolwich Township and the public that the 2028 mandated deadline for clean groundwater in Elmira was not going to happen. Uniroyal/Chemtura, at the time, along with the Ministry of Environment denied that. Chemtura six months later advised that in order to meet the deadline they would have to TRIPLE the amount of groundwater pumping and treatment in Elmira. This of course never happened, or even close. Somewhere around 2017 the new owners Lanxess began to suggest that the 2028 deadline could not be met.

Multi national, multi billion dollar corporations do not like to admit failure, especially publicly. Currently they along with other parties such as the Ministry of Environment and Woolwich Township are in CYA mode. This Cover Your Astuteness includes suggestions for a new source of drinking water as well as a new Order from the Ministry of Environment. It's not as if any of the old Orders have done much good to date.

The parties have recently been trotting out various excuses for trial runs. One of these is to blame a chemical process known as Diffusion. Essentially as the groundwater concentrations of at least 100 different chemicals such as NDMA, chlorobenzene, ammonia, toluene, xylene, styrene, benzene got higher and higher in the groundwater some of the chemicals began to “diffuse” i.e. move into the clay and silt aquitards and bond with the soils. Decades later after 26 years of up and down, erratic groundwater pumping as groundwater concentrations of contaminants began to decrease those bonded chemicals in the soils are starting to be released back into the groundwater. Sometimes this process is also referred to as “rebound”. All of this is common knowledge among hydrogeologists yet the guilty parties pretend it's a surprise to them.

Another excuse being used today is that NDMA is so toxic that its' health criteria is measured in parts per trillion. The majority of toxic chemicals have criteria in the parts per billion which is a thousand times larger than parts per trillion. Hence 35 years after NDMA was allegedly discovered in Elmira's groundwater the parties are now advising that contrary to what they told us back in the 1990s up until recently, that gosh nobody can successfully remediate groundwater via pumping & treating down to that tiny concentration. Again a complete reversal of what they told us for 25 years plus.

Here are a few specific examples of “adjusting the science according to your needs”. In order to pretend that contaminated groundwater is hydraulically contained, a polluter requires an observation well or two that have their well screens able to draw in water from two different aquifers simultaneously. This is best accomplished by having your observation well located very close to a “window” between the two aquifers. This “window” is actually an area where the clay or silt aquitard, which slows groundwater flow vertically between aquifers, is thin or even totally absent allowing the higher and lower aquifer to be in direct contact. Then an alleged lower water elevation reading will give a much higher reading based upon the water elevation of the connected upper aquifer. This higher reading can then be intentionally misinterpreted as showing the direction of groundwater flow being the opposite of what it truly is.

More specific to the Canagagigue Creek is the following. Dioxins, DDT compounds and PCBs tend to migrate within living bodies to the fattiest areas. This is true for wildlife as well as human beings. In the case of fish the highest concentrations of these contaminants are found in both the liver (which attempts to filter them) and in the belly or other fatty areas. So guess exactly where the Ontario Ministry of Environment sample fish they have collected for analysis? Skinless, lean dorsal fillets are preferred.. Absolutely no fatty areas or livers.

Next we have one of my favourites. Normally core samplers, which are hollow tubes, are pushed into the bottom of creeks and the sediment samples are then held inside the core sampler as it is lifted clear of the water and set down on a table. The core sampler is opened up and there is the sediment sample in one long piece representing various depths below the bottom of the creek bed. Not so here in Elmira. It appears that Lanxess Canada and their consultants have again “adjusted the science according to their needs.” They have replaced core samplers with ordinary shovels. According to the Ministry of Environment's recent December critiques of the Draft Risk Assessment, this has occurred with most of the sediment samples taken in the Canagagigue Creek and presented in their Soil & Sediment Investigations. Therefore keep in mind that outside of living bodies DDT and dioxins tend to bond with soil fines. Hence fine sediments are the normal location to find these chemicals. Shovels however are used allegedly to break through “armouring” on the bottom of the Creek. Certain areas have stones and cobble on the bottom versus fine sediments. Regardless when you draw a shovel up from the bottom of the Creek through the water column the fines are washed away and only the stones, cobbles and coarse sediments are left. A polluter's paradise yet again.

Finally we have the use and misuse of Method Detection Limits (MDL). Basically laboratories have a lower limit concentration that they are able to consistently and accurately measure with the equipment at their disposal as well as other factors. The key is to always be able to measure at least as low as the health criteria of a contaminant. For example if benzene in water has a MDL of 4 parts per billion (ppb) and the Ontario health criteria is 5 ppb then any and all exceedances in water samples of the 5 ppb criteria will be detected. However if the MDL at the lab for whatever reason is 7 ppb. then any exceedances in the water sample of the health criteria from 5 to 7 ppb. will be shown as Non-Detect @7 ppb. Therefore what a wonderful method to both decrease the number of exceedances as well as of detections of a contaminant. I mentioned that the lowest limit that a lab can accurately and consistently measure is a factor of the equipment they are using as well as other factors. Those other factors can be “matrix interference” which simply means that the more other contaminants are mixed in the sample the more difficult it is for the lab to measure at it's lowest possible concentration. Or another factor is simply cost. The lab will charge a higher fee per sample if the customer wants to measure the absolute smallest concentrations possible. Think about that. If Lanxess want to save money they simply ask the lab for a higher number MDL . This costs them less plus produces more Non-detects and less exceedances of criteria.

These higher than necessary MDLs are enormously detrimental as they distort the data presented in the report. The MDL issues effect Sediments much more than they effect Soil samples. Basically Sediment criteria are much smaller than Soil criteria and hence detections and exceedances can be covered up much easier when the Method Detection Limits are for example .02 parts per million (ppm) which is considerably higher than the criteria for Lindane, DDD, DDE, DDT. In other words those contaminants in Sediments are the ones whose detections are most negatively affected by much too large MDLs.

There are two more significant matters which I would like to bring to your attention. The first is the fact that despite numerous requests decades ago there has never been any health studies done of either Elmira residents or of downstream Canagagigue Creek residents. My understanding is that there are 22 families living along the downstream Creek from Uniroyal/Lanxess as far as the Grand River over five miles away. I am shocked that a third party can produce an alleged scientific document assessing health risks to these residents while studiously ignoring health data that exists and is in the possession of our medical authorities. Our Old Order Mennonite neighbours also use the same health system that we do involving doctors, nurses and hospitals and I do not believe that their opting out of OHIP and paying cash instead, somehow makes their health records invisible to the appropriate authorities especially in light of the risks to their health from exposure to dioxins, DDT, mercury and PCBs.

The second significant matter is in regards to the fact that even honest science versus the quite frankly junk science, that Lanxess and their consultants have passed off on us, is unable to give us all the answers we would like. To date science has not been able to determine health criteria for either multiple contaminants simultaneously or for multiple routes of exposure simultaneously.

The multiple contaminants simultaneously refers to not just the four contaminants I listed in the previous paragraph but also literally the hundreds of others that Uniroyal/Lanxess have discharged over the decades. The multiple routes of exposure means exposure by breathing and inhalation combined with skin exposure to soils and sediments as well as ingestion of contaminants whether through milk or beef consumption from cattle grazing on contaminated Floodplain soils.

Now to get really serious think carefully about what our local downstream residents have lived through for the last 75 years and longer. They and their children and grandchildren have been exposed to the prevailing winds bringing solvents, dioxins, DDT and much more to them from Uniroyal/Lanxess as well as being exposed to more than 75 years of eating contaminated food from their own chickens and cattle combined with skin contact with chemicals attached to soils that end up in their gardens and childrens' sandboxes. I repeat there is absolutely no way for science to be able to determine health criteria for multiple simultaneous chemical exposures nor is there any way for science to determine health criteria for multiple simultaneous routes of exposure such as dioxin fumes in the air combined with handling dioxin contaminated soils combined with eating dioxin contaminated beef, chickens or fish. Then add in breathing benzene fumes, handling dioxin contaminated soils and eating DDT contaminated beef, chicken, eggs, milk and fish. And now for the final insult to our downstream neighbours, some non-medical, very well paid by Lanxess, folks in three piece suits are telling them that there are no unacceptable risks to their health.

Prior to giving you some “Where do we go from here?” suggestions I would like to briefly summarize. Uniroyal Chemical's on-site cleanup did not follow the Ministry of Environment's Control Order. DNAPLS or Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquids in particular were covered up using grotesque manipulation and deception by the company with the Ministry enabling the coverup. On -site pumping and treating has generally failed over the years to achieve the company and their consultants Target pumping rates although they've now changed their story and state that gosh they were only suggestions and actually pumping at those Target Rates is optional.

So where do we go from here and what needs to be done? Dishonest brokers can no longer be in charge of the cleanup of Elmira and the Creek. This includes Lanxess Canada, the Ministry of Environment and Woolwich Township. The RAC & TAG committees are being shut down in favour of a committee called TRAC. Unfortunately while a rose by any other name can smell as sweet, nevertheless a horse apple by any other name still stinks. Changing names is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Other cleanup technologies in particular those involving source removal need to be seriously considered versus the usual lip service they get..Take the current biased and dishonest Risk Assessment of the Creek and throw it in the garbage. That's all it is worth. Real cleanup of the Creek needs to be done. Finally citizens be skeptical. You've been lied to for decades regarding the Elmira Water Crisis and that won't change over night. Ask for evidence and independent proof from Council and others. If our local media write stories about this meeting, TRAC or cleanup, please read those stories carefully!

Thank You for your attention.

Alan Marshall


Monday, February 26, 2024


 Way, way back in the 1990s I put a large sign on the roof of my car and parked outside the municipal arena on Snyder Ave. The sign read "The Cleanup Is A Scam".  At the time I was referring to the current scam that was ongoing at the public UPAC (Uniroyal Public Advisory Committees) meetings. Most likely that would have been what eventually ended up being a decades long coverup of DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids) on the Uniroyal Chemical site. From time to time over the years I wondered if anybody thought that I was actually calling out the entire process and extensive, complicated coverup as no more than a public relations campaign.

Flash forward thirty years and here we are today. The groundwater is decades or more away from cleanup and the company are spending a small fortune however it's still on public relations, scamming the public, obfuscating everybody and pretending to actually care about the environment and all its' inhabitants. Last month's Monthly Progress Report is out and it's more of the same crap. Both on and off site pumping are way down from even the normal off-site 53 litres/second (all off-site wells) back in 2012. On-site wells (mostly PW5) is also way down and has been for TWO YEARS now! Upper Aquifer on-site wells continue to have very low pumping rates although I believe after years of this they have rebuilt a few of them. Hence January 2024's off-site pumping from all wells is an alarming 37 litres per second. That was grossly inadequate back in 2012 and at that time Chemtura publicly promised to TRIPLE the off-site pumping. Later they lowered that to DOUBLING the pumping rates. It's never happened. Don't hold your breathe expecting RAC, TAG or TRAC to raise a peep about this. Nobody wants to rock the boat and or embarrass the guilty parties. That's un Canadian don't you know!

It seems pretty clear to me that they were simply buying time. The polluter and all their fellow travellors whether governmental or not have enabled this gross deception and environmental failures. It is way past time to kick all the lying bastards out. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024


 I mean really it's time. Will they back Susan's slip about no cleanup of the groundwater and of the Creek? Or will they flat out "clarify" it by saying "Of course we will cleanup the groundwater and maybe the Creek if we are feeling good, given proper respect and encouragement and overall have our expensive butts placed on pedestals. Oh and we also require an award or two for our diligence in cleaning up this mess in due course. Maybe the next Big Lie will simply be more innovative excuses such as "The damn contaminants are hiding from us." or my favorite "We are doing the environment a favour by not disturbing the contaminants in the sediments and creekbank soils."

The good news for the liars is that they will have lots of support from their fellow travellors. Woolwich Township, the GRCA and the Region of Waterloo are highly unlikely to discover their backbones and put their feet down. After all they can and have hidden behind the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MECP) for decades and will wish to continue. It's one thing screwing the public who have relatively short memories but screwing each other, namely fellow government groups also most likely guilty of perfidious behaviour and obfuscation from time to time, is something altogether dangerous.

The last thing politicians and bureaucrats ever want is widespread disbelief and contempt towards the status quo, which maintaining is their raison d' etre. When citizens wake up and realize the extent of the misdirection and lying that goes on they will rebel. Let me say that currently the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) have so expertly shot themselves in the foot (Caroline Burjoski/Mike Ramsay) that it is unlikely they will even be asked to publicly join our local polluter apologists.     

Friday, February 23, 2024


I believe that a total of three people (including me) to date have confirmed that Susan Bryant stated that the Elmira Aquifers and the Canagagigue Creek will never be remediated or cleaned up. This is in reference to yesterday's post as well as to the Wednesday evening "Elmira Environmental Awareness Event".  But... it was suggested to me this morning that maybe Susan was actually trying to say that they'd never be cleaned up to the point of either being pristine or restored to their former glory. Well I don't know. Anything's possible I guess including that an old person like Susan made a verbal slip. I'd like to suggest that she's really old and over the hill except I think that she's the same age as myself! Oops!

I had forgotten how strong and powerful the Documentary (Sheba Films) was. Between Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, Susan Rupert, Susan Bryant and myself we really put it to Uniroyal/Chemtura.  It is ironic that five Lanxess employees walked out of the evening early on in the Documentary showing, which was first. If they stayed they would have heard my harsh criticisms of what passes for "scientific" evidence and protocols by Lanxess and their consultants. Susan's comments would not have offended anybody. Interpret that as you wish.

Only one councillor attended the event namely Evan Burgess. I shook his hand both at the start and at the end and I give him credit for appearing.  I believe that he is trying very hard. There was also a former local Conservative candidate who  attended and I give her credit as well. My apologies for forgetting her name (Carline, Caroline ???). Thank goodness the local M.P.P. Mike Harris wasn't there. I'd have been hard pressed not to make a snotty comment. There I just made it!


Thursday, February 22, 2024


 After the showing of the Documentary "Toxic Time Bomb" and after speeches from myself and Susan Bryant a question from the audience was sent my way namely "What is your gauge for success regarding the remediation in Elmira?" My response was NDMA and all chemicals in the Elmira Aquifers be reduced to below the drinking water criteria and the chemicals in the fish in the Creek also be reduced to below the Tissue Residue Guidelines. At that point Susan asked for the microphone and advised both myself and the audience that "The Elmira Aquifers will never be restored to drinking water standards nor will the Creek ever be properly remediated."  My response was that proper cleanup of both was possible and necessary but simply had not been seriously attempted to date.

The Rural Roots restaurant & beer hall (?) was packed last night! Congratulations to owner Roger Lichti as he and staff did a wonderful job in setting up the facilities and assisting in the success of the meeting. Further congratulations to Sadi Goertz for organizing the event and to Richard Clausi for working as the Master of Ceremonies (MC). I would be remiss not to also thank Ms. Bryant for her anecdotes and historical references to various attempts to inform downstream residents along the Canagagigue Creek.

I did not see any reporters or media present to all their shame. The Woolwich Observer happily took our money to advertise the event but then couldn't seem able to cover the public event. About five employees of Lanxess walked out during the early part of the showing of the Documentary "Toxic Time Bomb". Obviously the portrayal of their employer Lanxess Canada was not satisfactory to them. MC Rich Clausi I felt was extremely balanced and unbiased as he early on advised that Lanxess Canada were not directly guilty of the past dumping and spilling of toxic wastes into the ground and the Creek however they were liable and responsible for the cleanup as the current owners.

The public awareness event was a success and I personally enjoyed it all with the greatest enjoyment coming during the question and answer session at the end. Citizens were attentive and keen to learn and have their questions answered. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2024


 I believe that the organizer Sadi will make a brief Introduction and thanks to the venue host Rural Roots followed by the Master of Ceremonies Rich Clausi stepping up with his Introductions of the two guest speakers of which I am one of them. My understanding is that the first guest speaker to speak will talk about the Risk Assessment of the Canagagigue Creek. As per the most recent public TAG meeting of six days ago there has not been any breakthrough on discussions with Lanxess however promises are like wind so be prepared for anything at all tonite. Delivery on promises is always much more difficult and Uniroyal and successors have a history of broken promises as does the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

I will be speaking about both the failure to achieve the cleanup of Elmira's groundwater by 2028 which I point out is actually 39 years after the "alleged" discovery of NDMA in our drinking wells here in Elmira. Also I will be commenting on the junk science and worse practiced by Lanxess and GHD regarding their investigations of the Canagagigue Creek. All of this occurs after the showing of the environmental film that was produced a few short years ago.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


 Two reasons for the above title:  

1) Zero discussion or even mention of the January 2024 Monthly Progress Report. While the Target Pumping Rates for all off-site wells are about 63 litres per second they managed a paltry 37 litres per second. This nonsense is part of the reason that we have not achieved drinking water standards 35 years after the shutdown of our drinking wells in November 1989.

2) Sebastian's two paragraph comments on the gross failures of TAG and public consultation were formally submitted to TAG on February 15/24 as well as being put into the Minutes for both February 2024 and October 2023 on the Township's website (calendar of events along with Agendas & Minutes). Absolutely zero discussion and zero comments at last Thursday's TAG meeting. Good God do they think that closing their eyes and covering their ears means that everybody else does the same?

3)  O.K. maybe a third reason. I'm stumped what it is but somewhere down the road a TAG member  is going to speak about it. Should be interesting.

Saturday, February 17, 2024


 Last Thursday evening's TAG meeting sure made it obvious why the public aren't out in droves to watch and learn. There were exactly three of us in the gallery which actually is two more than usual. Discussions centered on contaminated eggs from free range chickens along the Creek. Councillor Schwindt suggested that so called free range chickens really are no such thing even on Old Order Mennonite farms. Sebastian was surprised and said so as he and his family having been buying eggs from the downstream Martin farm for decades. 

There was further discussion from Susan and Wilson regarding the three documents (Dec.7. Dec.20 & Dec. 20) produced by the MECP. I found it dull and not terribly provocative which it should have been. This is the crap of TAG in that only one or two members are assigned to read different reports hence all kinds of important stuff gets missed. I have posted here last month about some of the excellent (albeit years belated) criticisms the Ministry of Environment made. For example neither Susan nor Wilson talked about shovels versus real core samplers being used or about the disgrace of Method Detection Limits being so much higher than health criteria hence reducing both detections and exceedances of those health criteria.

Eventually the RAC & TAG Terms of Reference were reviewed by Nathan. What a pile of pus! Those two intentionally useless bodies are being merged. Gee instead of say seven  nincompoops on RAC and say about ten historically and hydrogeologicaly weak TAG members now we will have twelve of the very same combined on TRAC. Yes the math sucks just about like everything else. Now Sebastian asked and Nathan and company answered that the public will be allowed to speak and ask questions at TRAC. I'm sure that if TRAC pays about ten times as much attention as RAC did in the past (3-4 times/year) and ten times as much attention, comments and questions as TAG did to written comments in the past that TRAC, Lanxess and Woolwich Township will have absolutely zero difficulties in continuing to totally ignore the informed public, the uninformed public and the unwashed masses overall hence ensuring that no effective action whatsoever disturbs the complacency, tranquility and wallets of the guilty parties. 

Friday, February 16, 2024


 Well it 's at least as bad as it appears. Mayor Sandy and all Lanxess's friends have yet again made changes trying to get ahead of their ongoing environmental failures. Officially last night at the TAG meeting, polluter apologist Nathan Cadeau showed his true colours. He is indeed a piece of work and I predict that his sliminess and worse will make him mayor material down the road. TRAC is the new name for a merging of RAC and TAG both of which have been useless in advancing the public interest over the last 8  1/2 years. Oh and by the way Sebastian's damning two paragraph written comments regarding TAG were also formally submitted to TAG and as they do best were totally ignored. Zero discussion. This is what Sandy and other corrupt politicians call public consultation. It is reprehensible.

We will not have our drinking water aquifers restored to drinking water standards by 2028, the belated, alleged thirty year date after remediation started. No surprise there. When you repeatedly fail to pump and treat the volumes your own consultants tell you are necessary to achieve your goals then how do you expect to succeed? Secondly at this point in time another deadline has passed as Lanxess were supposed to have an answer from their U.S. corporate masters by now as to whether financing is available to remediate at least a couple of the downstream "hotspots" in the Canagagigue Creek.

Perhaps we should start a contest to rename TRAC. I kind of favour "Totally Rotten and Corrupt" although "Teach Residents About Corruption" has a nice ring to it. Also "Teaching Rot And Corruption" also has some merit. Well done Sandy and fellow travellors.   


Thursday, February 15, 2024


 Hallelujah! A mere FOUR MONTHS after the fact we the public have the verbatim words of Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach, an 8  1/2 year member of TAG, on-line in the Minutes of both last October's PUBLIC!!!  TAG meeting as well as on-line on the Township (Woolwich) website for this month's (i.e. today) TAG meeting. That delay is way beyond unacceptable. It is contemptible and a perfect example of the sham and farce that passes for public consultation/citizen review. Is it mere coincidence that Sebastian's strong words are highly critical of TAG and the entire citizen review process? Here are his words and you the readers can decide for yourselves.  


"Being on TAG and it's predecessor, CPAC, for over 12 years now, I have experienced first-hand what transpires in terms of the citizens review process. It is deficient, in large measure because of the imbalance between the company, the MECP, and the citizen representatives. This is partly because of the capital the company has at its disposal and, related, the technical expertise it can command. The sad reality is for third parties (eg. GHD) to be unduly influenced by the company's interest; "he who pays the piper calls the tune". The reports and presentations over the years have been favourable to the company. All of these are placed in a format of irrefutable and wholly "objective" science. There is rarely a critical word. Against this, a committee of laypersons- most of whom are not technically proficient in hydrogeology- are overwhelmed with detail and outmanoeuvred. Not surprisingly, they become deferential to appearance rather than really expose the substantive. And what is that? We are just five years away from when the remediation of our groundwater was to be completed. We are at least several decades away from coming even  close to achieving that.

To decrease that timeline, TAG or equivalent need to have more means to challenge the company's performance. Getting more specialists who are not beholden to give truly independent reports would be a start. If that is too much, then at least allow TAG to have whatever report comes from a company-funded consulting group subject to a third-party peer review. These could come from academe or they could come from genuinely autonomous environmental consultants, i.e. out of province. What should also be considered is allowing the silenced to be heard. There are individuals who have first-hand knowledge about the company's activities who have a non-disclosure covenant. They should be allowed to speak publicly. The closer the scrutiny, the more likely that some of the self-serving assumptions and hypotheses cab ne exposed. Only then will a degree of balance return in our relationship and some genuine progress be possible."

Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


 There will be at least three interesting items on tomorrow's TAG meeting at 6:30 pm. Firstly there will hopefully be a serious discussion around the MECP's three highly critical documents dated Dec. 7, Dec. 7 and December 20, 2023 all hammering the current Lanxess/Stantec Draft Risk Assessment of the Canagagigue Creek. Unfortunately as usual I expect that despite the appropriately harsh criticism, that Lanxess and their fellow travellors both on and off TAG will rush to the company's defence. To their shame for both the fellow travellors and for the other TAG members who are too intimidated and overwhelmed by the shining halos surrounding Stantec, GHD and Lanxess.

The next item of significance will be the replacement committee for RAC & TAG. It is absolutely no loss to the public interest to throw those two tame committees into the waste bin. The problem is both who chooses their replacements and the people they choose. I do not see Mayor Shantz giving up any control over alleged "public consultation" that would result in honest and specific criticism of Lanxess Canada and or the MECP. Despite some better folks on Council they do not have the mayor's manipulative experience or pre-eminent position as mayor. 

The third item is the thorny one concerning TAG (& CPAC) member Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach. He has served with distinction on TAG for the last 8  1/2 years. He has been cooperative, helpful and supportive of his colleagues on TAG. Unfortunately, for some TAG members, that is not enough. Sebastian has politely and diplomatically on occasion over the years expressed positions and opinions not 100% supportive of everything Lanxess says and does. Sebastian has had the temerity to speak truth to power including asking difficult questions that his collegues are not all supportive of. 

Last October verbally Sebastian responded to prompts from councillor Cadeau looking for feedback regarding the RAC & TAG Terms of Reference Review. After the meeting he submitted and asked councillor Schwindt to please read his written responses to TAG at their November meeting (16th) which he could not attend. Sebastian also asked councillor Schwindt to enter Sebastian's written comments on RAC & TAG into the TAG Minutes verbatim. Councillor Schwindt read Sebastian's comments at the meeting but as of yesterday at least they have yet to be included in the Minutes of that meeting posted on the Township's website or distributed to TAG members prior to tomorrow's meeting.  

Sebastian has e-mailed councillor Schwindt asking him to step up and do the right thing by putting Sebastian's comments into the Minutes verbatim.. Again at least since yesterday it has not happened. This certainly appears to be Woolwich Township (mayor & CAO ?) censoring strong criticism of their babies i.e. RAC & TAG. Lying, cheating and manipulating to get your way is what politics is all about even at the municipal level.  


Tuesday, February 13, 2024


 So even more important than who will be on the new TRAC (Technology & Remediation Committee) is who will be making the appointments. And that is the absolute disaster and shame of the whole process. Believe it or not folks Woolwich Township was not always in charge of who participated in the committee. For that you can thank that piece of crap Pat Mclean. She and her sidekick brought UPAC/CPAC  under the control of the Township and contrary to her lies it was done solely to give Woolwich 100% control of the committee. This occurred in 2000 and it's been downhill since with the exception of the 2011-Aug. 2015 CPAC committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Dan Holt. 

So if this "new" committee consists mostly of the same members as have been either on RAC or TAG then it's bullsh*t business as usual as Woolwich continue their lying and deception, constantly coddling Lanxess and making excuses for the clean up failures. In fact it is exactly this kind of crap that we are fighting with the Elmira Environmental Awareness Event next Wednesday (21st). We do not need Woolwich in charge of a citizens' committee. In fact it is NOT a citizens' committee if those lying buggers are in charge of it. What it will be even with the alleged improvements in public access, asking questions and making comments by the public is yet another sham and farce pretending to put the environment and local citizens first.

Monday, February 12, 2024


  Wednesday February 21, 2024 at 8 pm. at Rural Roots restaurant off of Industrial Dr. in Elmira is the date, time and location. There will be introductions followed by a Documentary (Toxic Time Bomb) then followed by two speakers (15 minutes each only).  Questions from the audience will then be directed to the two speakers and hopefully all attendees will eventually depart with much more understanding of Elmira's environmental difficulties then when they arrived. 

My expectation is that topics covered will include the ongoing Risk Assessment of the Canagagigue Creek as well as the failure to achieve drinking water standards in the clean up of the Elmira Aquifers. There may very well be other environmental topics covered depending upon the questions. I can certainly understand the possibility of questions regarding air emissions as well as of buried toxic wastes still on and off the site. It is also possible that there will be follow up questions to some of my comments suggesting that the cleanup has been less than professional, less than well communicated, less than successful.

Communications regarding clean up since 1989 have been stilted, often inaccurate and less than regular or ongoing. A large part of this is all the guilty parties trying to sell the idea that all is well, all is under control and that your authorities are on top of all issues. None of that is true. It's been as much of a public relations campaign as a cleanup campaign. In fact the reality is that the corporation and the Ontario Ministry of Environment have long simply wanted this problem to continue flowing downstream (surface & groundwater) and allowing the old adage of "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution" to eventually in decades or centuries to clean up the mess.    

Friday, February 9, 2024


I certainly hope so although I'm doubtful that any will have a "come to Jesus moment". Regarding conspiracies among a diverse community of fellow travellors it would certainly appear at first blush to be  a difficult barrier to penetrate. With both the Liberals and Conservatives guilty provincially and permitting the blatantly bad behaviour of the Ministry of Environment for decades, how likely are either of them to reform the entire biased and corrupt system of environmental clean up and remediation?

We once had what appeared to be a strong citizen leader but that withered on the vine decades ago. If only her not being a citizen was the least of her failures. Currently we have a citizen stepping up and announcing her good intentions and hopefully on Wednesday February 21/24 at 8 pm. at Rural Roots (Industrial Dr.) in Elmira we will reap the benefits. There is yet a second citizen who could make a huge difference if they so chose. Timing in life can be huge and right now is the time to get aggressive. It is my opinion that once one has committed to a direction or a cause then one should not step off that path except for extraordinary circumstances. I emphasize "extraordinary"  NOT "ordinary".

It is long past time to take back the power from both elected and unelected, less than honest, individuals. That takes numbers similar to what APTE had for a few years back in the 1990s. Smart folks like Mr. Bauman and  Mr. Hahn bailed out a couple of years back.  Others may soon wish that they had. 

Thursday, February 8, 2024


 A couple of examples are required. The simplest is to never sample where you believe the concentrations are the highest. If you are terrified (Lanxess are) that an area just barely to the east of the north end of the Stroh Drain is a "sink" of DDT compounds and dioxins then for the love of money NEVER take soil samples there. And they have not using any and all excuses and obfuscations possible. 

Secondly when taking subsurface soil samples for DNAPLS (dense non aqueous phase liquids) be sure to take them at the most inappropriate spots possible. Normally DNAPLs sink through coarse grained soils and sands and end up sitting on clay and silt aquitards. Decades ago the Region of Waterloo's consultants (CH2MHILL) accused Conestoga Rovers of intentionally taking these samples in the middle of the aquifers rather than at the bottom next to the clay/silt aquitards.

Another favourite is pretending that PCBs, DDT compounds and dioxins can not penetrate deeply into the earth.  This is based upon their alleged low solubility and affinity to bond with soils. What is conveniently "forgotten" is that most solvents will mobilize these somewhat hydrophobic (afraid of water) compounds and allow them to sink numerous feet and even metres into the subsurface. A fine example is back in 2019 when Lanxess/GHD refused to sample deeper than 15 cm (5.9 inches) into the soils on the Stroh farm right beside their border with Lanxess Canada.

Professionals know all the tricks to get the results that they and their clients want. It takes money and political assistance however to get away with this crap over decades. Uniroyal to Lanxess have had both.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024


 TRAC stands for Technical & Remediation Advisory Committee. The new Chair will be councillor Nathan Cadeau.  As in the song "He doesn't impress me much." He's far too opinionated, confident and overbearing for an individual who knows so very little about the Elmira Water Crisis. In fact he really doesn't have a clue as to the facts and frankly I don't believe that he's openminded enough to ever learn them. Finally our mayor would not have appointed him to the Chair's position unless she was confident that he will play ball with her and all the other guilty parties.

Getting rid of RAC and TAG is a mercy. Replacing it with the same crap, the same individuals and or anything the same is just plain stupid and cruel. I was given assurances that the public will after 8  1/2 years be given the RIGHT to ask questions and make comments. Even if the public suddenly have their rights restored you have put your name down in history as the stupidest (among many) mayors this Township has ever had. Lanxess and the MECP will sing your praises to the skies which is NOT honest praise.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2024


A.   In 1965 several cattle drank "water" out of the Canagagigue Creek downstream from Uniroyal Chemical. The cattle owned by Leander Martin then headed back to their barn but none of them made it. They all died. I believe it was determined to be from  chlorophenol poisoning from Uniroyal.

B. Generations of children swam in the dug swimming pond south of the Uniroyal site on the Martin property. In 1983 a Drain (Stroh Drain) was constructed five or ten metres away from the boundary between Uniroyal and the Stroh farm to the east. It ran parallel with the boundary for perhaps 150 metres and further south was joined with a natural spring on the Stroh property used to replenish the Martin swimming pond. Experts and lay people alike believe that the Stroh Drain captured both contaminated ground and surface water from Uniroyal. It was then transported southwards including through the Martin swimming pond.

C. Fish in the downstream Canagagigue Creek to this day have excessive levels of contaminants above criteria in their bodies including mercury, PCBs, dioxins and multiple DDT compounds.  The last two most certainly are from Uniroyal Chemical's operations and sloppy waste disposal with the jury out on the source of the PCBs.

So domestic animals, wildlife and most probably human beings have all suffered from sloppy toxic waste disposal at Uniroyal Chemical. Little has been done to repair or clean up the mess. Let me rephrase that. The talking and bulsh*t continue to this day but actual cleanup is a different thing altogether.     

Monday, February 5, 2024


 The sky is the limit. From the DNAPL coverup to the failure to fully contain all aquifers as was demanded in the November 1991 Control Order down to the charade of public consultation in regards to the Elmira Water Crisis. What about public corruption? I'm doubtful that many if any governments in Canada have had to ever face criminal charges in regards to their partisan, not in the public interest, self-serving (the party) behaviour. Think about it. There have been lots of scandals whether involving the Liberals or the Conservatives in power both at the provincial and federal levels and while there may have been Inquiries etc., criminal charges seem not to exist.

How about why hasn't there been demands for a Public Inquiry since the announcement in 2015 or 2016 that  our groundwater would not be restored to drinking water standards by 2028 as both promised and mandated?  Oh right all the guilty parties have been misbehaving under the watchful eyes of the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Woolwich Township, Region of Waterloo, the federal government etc.

How about the latest news (4 weeks ago?)  that RAC and TAG are finally getting scrapped. What a pair of disgusting excuses for public consultation although let me be clear: there are and there have been some individual competent and honest people on board.  The new committee is to be named TRAC which stands for Technical and Remeiation Advisory Committee. Let's see who Lanxess/MECP /Woolwich Mayor appoint to that group. If it's merely an amalgamation of the same personnel as are on RAC & TAG then it's just one more sick joke, yet again.

There are specifics on what Lanxess/GHD/MECP have done wrong regarding remediating the Elmira Aquifers. There is of course  lots to say about the sham of a Risk Assessment of the downstream Canagagigue Creek. And on and on. See you at the public meeting I hope. 


Saturday, February 3, 2024


 My initial response is of course not. If the data is collected honestly, competently and without a pre-determined bias then I would hope not. However... just about none of those conditions apply here in Elmira. The good news is that more and more people are learning about that. 

Data most certainly can be fudged. This past thirty-five years in Elmira has been a tutorial on how determined polluters can fudge their raw data to save themselves millions of dollars in cleanup costs. Yes of course both the public interest and the interests of the natural environment are harmed by these actions. Firstly some sort of Workplan indicating what, when, where and how samples will be collected must be determined. After that, honest collection of samples followed by honest  measurement and then publication are required. Everyone of these steps is open to perversion.

When enough people are involved it's called a conspiracy and really is so much easier for polluters to get away with it. The conspiracy here in Elmira is vast although I'm sure that there are some who long ago drank the Kool Aid and think everything is on the up and up. It is not.

Fellow travellors are offered a little bit of status by working for free (unless you are the current Chair). The lazy ones will quickly stop reading any more than the Executive Summary of technical reports. Some TAG members may know full well what's going on whereas others don't have a clue. Nevertheless all members will support the pro environment, pro precautionary principle positions during discussions. I expect that the hardcore, badass pro corporate, anti environment types may actually crack jokes and pat each other on the back for their most brazen and successful obfuscations to the public.

Technically competent, honest with backbone citizens are most required to stop the games. We have those people in Elmira albeit they have been discriminated against by our authorities constantly.   

Friday, February 2, 2024


 Already the guilty parties are jockeying for position.. That is position at the front of the line as the most noble, most progressive, most supportive of the local environment. As a general rule of thumb the parties who spend the most money, time and effort are the guiltiest. Already in the RAC and TAG Minutes, mayors, ministries (MECP), polluters (Lanxess)  are mouthing grandiose words of fealty to the remediation of Elmira's long abused environment.

There will be new this and new that from Ministry of Environment Orders on Lanxess to new environmental committees from Woolwich Township. There will be even be new drinking water proposals from Lanxess Canada if you can believe it. They have for some time now been floating generally bad ideas that just coincidentally will save them money AND polish their image. 

Of course the guilty parties can only sell their puffery and bullsh*t to the uninformed. The guilty parties have admitted that the 2028 clean drinking water deadline in Elmira can not be accomplished. Oh what a surprise. From Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura to Lanxess they have bullied, obfuscated and flexed their financial might to intimidate opposition from provincial and municipal governments as well as to lay citizens and experts alike. They have avoided, ignored and stickhandled around citizen ideas and suggestions for enhancing the cleanup. The company (mainly) and the MECP have been in total control of the cleanup with the Township running interference for them from CPAC and the public. Hence the company and the MECP own  the groundwater cleanup failure and this should not be forgotten.    

Thursday, February 1, 2024


 Well for the very few (hopefully) who are sociopaths they simply don't need excuses. For sociopaths no one else in the world matters other than themselves, ever.

The rest try to make peace with their consciences by any means such as:

1)   doing volunteer work especially water, tree or pollution related

2)   telling themselves that :  they deserve a good salary because they are well educated


                                              they have a family to support


                                              they personally aren't breaking any laws


                                              their job is to defend polluters whereas government regulators are                                                              supposed  to defend the public interest


                                              individual government employees are a small cog in a big machine


                                              narcissists know that they are special and social rules don't apply to them


                                              they have and will donate to charities


                                              politicians support and use the services of their employers


                                              it's a cold cruel world out there. Eat or be eaten


                                              Money makes the world go around. Governments make the rules. After all                                                     these years if I'm not in jail then what I'm doing can't be so awful.


                                               I personally am not in charge. I avoid confrontation. I do what I am told.  

Elmira is a microcosm of many environmental disasters around the world. Corporations are heartless, non-human entities. The vast majority of human beings know right from wrong. What they are less sure of is whether or not they have a right to speak up and criticize those with more power, authority, money than themselves.