Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BACK INTO THE FRAY, YET AGAIN



Tonight at 7 pm. we have a Woolwich Committee of the Whole meeting in Council Chambers. There are a ton of Delegations as well as Presentations. I and three others will be Delegates in regards to the proposed and Recommended (by Staff) Elmira/St. Jacobs Boundary changes. There are only two of us speaking in regards to the Boundary changes on the east side of Elmira. Essentially the Township want to expand the current east side of Elmira further east allegedly for use as Employment lands. In other words these are intended to reduce agricultural and residential land and have it available for industrial/commercial. The other suggested use of these east side lands are for the long awaited Elmira By-Pass. My understanding is that in the past the west side of Elmira had been scheduled for those purposes.

The problems with the east side being used this way are plentiful. There is a major floodplain and Creek (Canagagigue) right through the middle of it. Construction costs for both a highway and for Industrial/Commercial buildings will be higher than on the west side. Also there is the not insignificant problem of the current and ongoing soil and sediment investigations by Chemtura/Lanxess and their consultants GHD. The proposed rezoning will lower the criteria that the Ontario M.O.E. have for remediating contaminated properties. The M.O.E. and their clients (Lanxess) have more than enough loopholes and delaying methods without Woolwich Township stepping in and both muddying the waters and giving them lesser clean up criteria.

Monday, December 11, 2017

INCREDIBLE DELAYING SKILLS - Part Two



Back on Friday December 1, I posted here with the title "Incredible Delaying Skills". Those skills are only increasing. We were originally advised that the October TAG meeting was being postponed until December in order for TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to be able to receive the preliminary east side soil tests as well as the downstream Canagagigue Creek sediment results. It was all bullshit once again. Worse yet between poorly answered inquiries and a poorly written Agenda we did not know until literally the last second that those important items had been "delayed".

Not just delayed for a month either. Another quarter of a year thank you very much. The next TAG meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2018 with a RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) a week later. CPAC all know what is coming. Regardless of the results of the soil tests on the Stroh property and or the sediment and floodplain results downstream in the Canagagigue Creek; rest assured the Site Specific Risk Assessment done by CRA/GHD and Chemtura/Lanxess will be the same old cover up. It will be the same mathematical and logical contortions of the last one that stated that only shrews and trespassers on the Chemtura property had any increased risks due to the plethora of toxic chemicals on site. These parties are in a gross Conflict of Interest position and only idiots and politicians would pretend otherwise.

We are just over a year away from the thirty year anniversary (1989-2019) of the Elmira Water Crisis. Thirty years to "hydraulically contain" the Uniroyal site. That by the way never happened. Thirty years to allegedly pump and treat the Elmira aquifers. Well they kept moving the date back so that thirty years remediation is now supposedly in 2028 (not 2019) and even that all parties now admit isn't going to happen. Extremely limited on-site source removal has taken place since 1989 and even that was simply transferred back into the ground over in the Sarnia area. Kudos go to all levels of government for their talents at delaying, denying and minimizing while people and the environment all suffer.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

MINUTES OF THURSDAY NIGHT'S TAG MEETING




Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach discussed the failure to date in pumping the Elmira Aquifers. He stated that essentially the flow rates are unchanged appreciably. He also quoted Jason Rice (M.O.E.) as having said privately that "progress is diluted" apparently by the lack of dramatically increased pumping.

Three TAG members took turns discussing various monthly Lanxess Progress Reports since the last TAG meeting in July. Linda Dickson, Sebastian and Susan Bryant all took turns giving their impressions of the July, August and September Progress Reports.

The biennial Bio-Monitoring Report dealing with clams and leeches in the creek as it flows through the Chemtura/Lanxess property was described by Joe Kelly. Joe has a unique sense of humour which was appreciated by all present. He also was not impressed with many parts of this report although especially with its' ongoing apologetic tone that stated that the results needed to be regarded as tentative due to the number of cages of critters (clam & leeches) that were washed away by the flood on June 23/24, 2017. Joe also criticized the lack of downstream monitoring locations totalling but one as a second one was washed away.

Pat Mclean also criticized this report for its' lack of downstream monitoring. David Hofbauer indicated that the locations also are inadequate in that some of the locations are on the outside corners whereas the inside corners are more likely to have greater deposits of sediments.There was also the observation that concentrations in the critters seem to rise the year after there's been a flood such as after the 2000 and 2004 floods. The complete lack of suspended sediment measurements, contrary to Dr. Richard Jackson's strong recommendations was also pointed out. Susan Bryant advised that the long ago vaunted removal of the DDT piles on the north-west creekbank were not up to snuff. They were only partly excavated and then the area was capped. Sebastian came right out and questioned Aquatox's integrity regarding their "totally inadequate" report.

As a result of these discussions and comments TAG unanimously passed a Motion requesting that this testing be redone in its' entirety in 2018.

Susan Bryant suggested that repeated sampling at the taxpayers' expense over a period of many years was nothingh more than building sand castles at low tide on the beach. In other words as the incoming tide washes away the work, similarly floods in the Cangagigue Creek do the same thing with contaminated sediments in the creek. Hence we only know what used to be there and we haven't removed any of it from the natural environment.

Allegedly there will be provisional results of the east side soil testing ready sometime in February. We've heard that one before so we will just have to wait and see. Both Susan and Tiffany Svensson (TAG Chair) have asked both Ramin and Dwight of Chemtura/Lanxess for far better maps of the testing locations in the creek. This is in regards to the further sediment and floodplain soil sampling done this past summer and fall.

As stated previously TAG are trying to the best of their abilities but they are working with both hands tied behind their backs. This is precisely as Chemtura/Lanxess and the M.O.E. want it with assistance from elements within Woolwich Council.



Friday, December 8, 2017

IS EVEN THE TINIEST PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY OF CHEMTURA/LANXESS FINISHED?




Last evening at the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was a disappointment. I and the other four CPAC members present had good reason to believe that we the public would be receiving the preliminary results of soil testing on the Stroh property to the immediate east of Chemtura. Not so. More delays and rescheduling. Speaking of delays and rescheduling the latest dates for TAG and RAC meetings have been somewhat confirmed. TAG meetings are March 15/18 and April 19/18. RAC is scheduled for one week after each of those TAG meetings meaning March 22 and April 26 (tentatively). Put in perspective last night's TAG meeting was five months after the previous one (July 20/17) and the next TAG meeting is three months away. That is totally unacceptable at any time for the public to stay informed especially as our local media (Woolwich Observer) have fallen off the face of the earth in regards to Chemtura/Lanxess and our ground and surface water clean ups. RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) meanwhile only meet four times a year allegedly as their last meeting was September 7/17 and the next one isn't until March 22/18 a six month time gap. In other words we (CPAC) used to see and question Chemtura ten times a year and now a grand total of two citizens from TAG can only ask them questions twice a year. CONGRATULATIONS SANDY & MARK! You have totally destroyed even pretend public consultation here in Elmira. SHAME ON YOU!

The good news is that the TAG members are trying and are sincere. The problem is that most of them are brand new and have no idea of what the standard for meeting was over the last twenty-six years. They do not know what even partial accountability means. First and foremost it means the Ministry of Environment and Chemtura/Lanxess showing up and defending their decisions and positions. That is gone. Once again no sign of them last evening at TAG because the Township set up the Terms of Reference exactly as Chemtura wanted. It's one thing for the M.O.E. and Chemtura to boycott meetings when their tender little feelings have been ruffled. That blame is all on them. This however, whereby the Township have given them carte blanche not to attend, is disgusting.

Outside of the TAG meeting last evening we were advised that their will be a public viewing of the Uniroyal/Elmira Documentary next month. The Documentary has been in the making for at least the last four years and CPAC, Chemtura and the M.O.E. were among those interviewed. The date for the showing is January 22/18 although the venue is still tentative. More news will be forthcoming. The two persons involved (Videographers) are Michael Heitmann and Bonita Wagler and having seen a Draft of the Documentary I am very optimistic.

There will be a more detailed description of last evening's TAG meeting tomorrow in my Saturday post. Monthly Progress Reports as well as the biennial Bio-Monitoring Report were discussed in some detail last evening. TAG members have had some private meetings with Lanxess to discuss matters but that is of little significance to the public. Afterall we had huge issues getting them to keep their promises when they made them publicly and with the media present. How easy will it be now to renege on promises when there is no public record of them ever having been made in the first place? Some TAG members remain optimistic that the new owners of both Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers are an improvement. I remain skeptical especially due to the time delays and the public disappearance of both these companies.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

OPTIMIZATION, RATIONALIZATION & OTHER SELF-SERVING FANTASIES



Bullshit baffles brains. That appears to be the logic behind a number of local scams. These include the 2000-2004 (approx.) Optimization plan put forward on behalf of Uniroyal/Crompton by their consultants, Conestoga Rovers. The idea was to shift expensive on-site pumping of highly contaminated groundwater off-site where it was less concentrated (requiring less treatment) and where the taxpayers picked up half the cost of pumping and treating it. Oddly enough just about everybody at UPAC/CPAC were highly skeptical and critical of this plan. Indeed these criticisms came from both professionals and informed amateurs at CPAC meetings. Despite this the issue disappeared and only a few years later did we understand the deceit of Uniroyal and their partners in pollution, the Ontario Ministry of Environment. The M.O.E. amended the Control Order demanding full on-site containment first and then attempted to sweet talk the public into accepting it. When that failed they let the matter drop without dropping their contemptible June 21, 2000 Amending Order. Pure public manipulation and deceit.

The next bullshit is the Boundary Rationalization for Elmira. Originally the plan for expansion as well as for a By-Pass around Elmira to eliminate truck traffic, noise and fumes downtown was to go on the west side of town. Afterall the land is flat, dry and available. The east side by-pass is hilly, wet, contaminated and surprise surprise also available. Our local brain trusts think they have a win-win here. They can continue to suck up to Uniroyal Chemtura Lanxess by saving them millions of dollars in cleanup costs on the two east and south farms that they have contaminated. Firstly they will lower the cleanup criteria from residential & agricultural to industrial & commercial. Secondly they will, bury contaminated soils under thousands of tonnes of gravel and asphalt. Of course both surface and groundwater will continue to leach Dioxins & Furans and DDT and more into the Canagagigue Creek to be carried downstream. Secondly they will curry favour with the electorate by reducing downtown truck issues. The environmental contamination will once again be out of sight and out of mind.

I`m mildly offended at how brazen our Councillors are. I`m more offended at their manipulation and deceit of the public. They know how busy people`s lives are between homes, families and jobs. Hence they hide behind planning departments, experts, consultants and other allegedly unbiased professionals all looking out for the public interest. If only that`s what they were looking out for.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

EMERALD ASH BORER CONTINUES TO INFLICT DAMAGE



Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Conservation authority to cut down up to 14,000 ash trees in next decade to remove hazard to people". Obviously in a time when our planet and all its' inhabitants needs better air this is not a good thing. The article states that the beetle was first confirmed in 2010 in Waterloo Region. I would suggest that that is a little bit disingenuous. The emerald ash borer has been known to be in Ontario for two decades and certainly over in the Guelph area for at least fifteen to twenty years.

The hazard to people is caused by the complete mortality of all trees infected and the subsequent rotting of their roots and trunks. This makes them dangerous due to the likelihood of their prematurely crashing to the ground. The beetle was introduced to Canada courtesy of wooden shipping crates sent here from China. Thank you very much China for that. I doubt that our esteemed Prime Minister is currently discussing that very expensive item with China during trade talks. I personally saw crates from China being inspected by federal authorities over near Guelph approximately nineteen years ago.

I've been meaning to ask Woolwich Township why a number of trees in our neighbourhood along Bristow Creek Drive here in Elmira were cut down this fall. The trees while not mature were at least several inches in diameter across their trunks and several years old. They appeared healthy. Perhaps a call this morning is warranted.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TAG MEETING THIS THURSDAY EVENING



TAG or the Technical Advisory Group will be held this Thursday in Woolwich Council Chambers at 6:30 pm.. This is the first TAG meeting since last July ie. in five months. I did send a comment to Chair Tiffany Svensson advising that this was too long of a time period between meetings although in hindsight I failed to include the many reasons why.

I also sent Ms. Svensson a copy of Dr. Henry Regier's 2004 "SSRA as Applied to a Contaminated Site in Elmira, Ontario". This is a fairly in depth critique of the whole process and particularly how it can be inappropriately used for greenwashing. We here in Elmira have been through the process before and seen it's use and abuse.

We have been advised that preliminary results from soil and sediment testing will be presented on Thursday. These include soil samples (& possibly groundwater) from just inside the Stroh property line on the east side of Chemtura/lanxess. The soil results from two years ago taken just on the Chemtura side of the property line were far in excess of provincial criteria for both Dioxins/Furans and DDT. Similarly sediment readings from the bottom of the Canagagigue Creek well downstream have also been in excess of provincial criteria over the last five years. The locations to date have not been properly representative of the entirety of the creek, for self-serving purposes (ie. Chemtura/CRA) and written reports from myself and CPAC have so advised the Ministry of Environment and other parties.

TAG members have exhibited some serious efforts and some good work. Whether that will be enough to balance out professional truth benders and government supported deafness and blindness to logical and reasonable criticisms is unlikely. What is also unlikely, albeit not impossible, is that the devastating repudiations of much of Chemtura/Lanxess's and CRA's psuedo science; is going to actually result in a substantially improved cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers, the off-site east side and the Canagagigue Creek. An improvement to Chemtura/lanxess's actual property remains a goal as well despite pro business, anti-science and anti-environment Ontario legislation on the matter.