Thursday, December 8, 2016
Back in early October I posted here in regards to the Draft Minutes of the September 15/16 RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) meeting. I've just recently reread them after having some difficulty finding them on the Township's new website. Lisa Schaefer (Woolwich Twp.) assisted me in finding them.
The second page of the Draft Minutes indicates that a pipe diverts part of the Stroh Drain and puts it directly into the downstream Martin swimming pond. This is beyond horrific and the only thing worse is that our authorities and public health care experts are not investigating.
Contrary to Mr. Almeida's (GHD) claim, soil conditions do not improve as you move east towards Mr. Stroh's property. That is wishful thinking combined with hopeless, self-serving optimism. GHD claim that they want to carefully inspect the Stroh Drain and determine where sediments and silts are accumulating. This is a good thing if they do follow through.
GHD's claims of a more comprehensive, holistic approach to the program of remediating the creek has a strong odour, taste and appearance of heavy duty bullshit. Based upon Chemtura's history this surprises no one.
The only suspended sediment transport study to date for the Canagagigue Creek was done by Stone and Haight in 1988. That would be Murray Haight of Elmira whom I wished a Merry Christmas to yesterday. The M.O.E. continue to fudge on doing another one.
Regarding the proposed HHRA (Human Health Risk Assessment) a member (possibly Susan?) stated that the community has zero to no faith in an HHRA. They also stated that "the community still has enormous cynicism about the HHRA process.". Furthermore "Part of it lies in the fact that for many years the community drank NDMA contaminated water and no epidemiological assessment was conducted. There is a disconnect between the standards that are set, such the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards, and human health effects.".
In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) was briefly mentioned as an alternative and additional remediation method. Yours truly presented a Delegation to the old CPAC back about 2008 pointing out the good results that occurred with ISCO in Cambridge as part of the Northstar Aerospace cleanup. My Delegation was ignored by Chemtura, M.O.E. and the old CPAC. No surprise and yet now they admit its' validity. Assholes!
RAC passed a couple of excellent Motions at this meeting including looking at a madia strategy once all the creek data is in. TAG and RAC both seem to be agreeing that the problem is not technical ones but a public policy one as in politics and politicians. Finally!
The M.O.E. claims that there are three downstream cow crossing structures. Further details are required as the one I've examined to date (New Jerusalem Rd.) is inadequate and indeed the cattle stir up the creek as well as drink directly from it after they've stirred it up. Unacceptable. Why would I believe on faith that the other two are any better?
See you at RAC at 4 pm. today in Council Chambers.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
What a damning indictment of the stupidity and bias of our local politicians. This includes our former mayor who decided to clean house in regards to CPAC (at that time the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee). While I agreed with him that they (CPAC) had gotten way off the track in regards to ground and surface water cleanup, nevertheless they had at least a few members who could have continued to do good things. This included Gerry Heideburt (air issues), possibly Ron Ormson (air), Ken Drieger and Sandra Baer. Subsequent events have made me realize my error in regards to Sandra Baer.
Similarily only worse has been the current Woolwich Council's dismissal and subsequent attempts to disparage and slander CPAC after the October 2014 election. Sandy and Mark either led the manufactured crisis whereby Chemtura and the M.O.E. boycotted CPAC or at the minimum they enabled it solely to give the two guilty parties a new, even more powerless, citizens group (TAG).
The Chemtura Public Advisory Committee has morphed into CPAC, the Citizens Public Advisory Committee. It consists of the old CPAC members from 2011-2015 plus their sub-committee SWAT. SWAT stands for Soil, Water, Air & Technical. Chemtura were unhappy about the designation SWAT. Tomorrow afternoon I will be speaking on behalf of CPAC as a Delegate to RAC. I will be discussing the last five studies of the Canagagigue Creek namely the 1995-96, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 studies.
While past CPACs have had talented and technically competent members such as Dr. Henry Regier, myself, Ron Ormson and Gerry Heideburt, no CPAC has had the experience of the current one. Again we have Dr. Regier, myself, Ron Campbell (owner of Acute Environmental), Graham Chevreau (certified chemist), plus a half dozen other experienced members. This CPAC has set the ongoing Agenda with the focus on the uncontained east side of Chemtura plus the ongoing downstream Canagagigue Creek and its' ongoing contamination. Meanwhile the Council continue to exclude both CPAC and the public from actively taking part in discussions, debate and questioning of Chemtura, their consultants and the M.O.E.. Clearly Woolwich Council are still afraid of the truth and of the public's right to know it.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Region awarded "Brownie" for LRT". Are you kidding me? Years after many Regional Councillors reversed their election positions in order to vote in favour of the LRT, angering many regional residents; now you tell us that it was all about the environment. Really?
This story written by Paige Desmond advises us that an organization of industries involved in environmental cleanups has named our LRT project the best large project in Canada. The group are known as the Brownfield Network and I must admit to knowing little about them. Allegedly according to regional staff in 2013 there are hundreds of brownfields (ie. contaminated former industrial/commercial sites) region wide and many are congregated along the downtowns and main corridors of the cities. Councillor Galloway mentioned the Breithaupt Block, the Barrel Yards and the Lang Tannery. While I was aware of the last two the Breithaupt Block was a bit of a surprise. My father retired from the Uniroyal plant on Breithaupt St. in 1980.
If indeed this is true and our regional councillors who moved heaven and earth to sell this project to skeptical residents actually were thinking about brownfield redevelopment; then I am pleasantly surprised. A little skeptical while also surprised. Why not tell us this a long time ago? Why not finally share with us the history of environmental contamination and all those responsible for it over the last 150 years? Why not share with us the extent of remediation that allegedly has been done over the last two years? In fact how about some documentation advising before and after soil concentrations of contaminants etc.? That would certainly back up your story now about all the good this LRT has done in cleaning up these previously mostly very quiet contaminated sites.
Monday, December 5, 2016
Yours truly posted here about this meeting on November 18, the day after the TAG meeting. Today's post is about the formal, albeit Draft Minutes of the meeting that have just been released.
TAG endorses both test pits along the south-east property line of Chemtura beside or on the Stroh farm as well as monitoring wells in this same area known as the "Gap". It is known as the "Gap" due to Chemtura's and GHD's willingness so far to conveniently avoid testing the area. It is the gap between the further north test pits and the ones right down at the extreme south end of their eastern property line.
Terri Buhlman of the M.O.E sent a letter on October 31/16 which TAG was unimpressed with. This included suddenly advising that their final report due October 31/16 would not be completed until February 28, 2017. Also the self-serving analysis of fish tissues will likely not include fatty areas or internal organs such as the liver which accumulate lipophilic and persistent toxins.
TAG also advised at their meeting that the claim by the M.O.E. that they had 20 different sites was "misleading" as in fact it was actually a number of samples taken at only four sites. TAG as well as myself and CPAC have both stated that the M.O.E. have failed to sample the same locations over the years and they have failed to conduct periodic suspended sediment sampling. Failing to do that makes it more difficult to prove that the contamination is indeed moving down the creek (moi-and probably being refreshed at the upstream end regularily). Finally TAG dispute the M.O.E.'s claim that Dioxin levels in the creek have been decreased substantially since the 1990s.
TAG strongly and formally advised the MOECC to revise their bulletin sent to downstream residents this past May due to its' claims of improving conditions in the creek.
TAG will be advising RAC that the creek exceeds the standards in a number of MOE Tables and hence that is a primary cause for concern. Also by their own definition of causing adverse effects in the Environmental Protection Act; remediation needs to be done in the creek.
Again in the Draft Minutes, Dr. Jackson has indicated that two new members of TAG will need to be determined to represent TAG at RAC meetings. My opinion is that Pat and Susan will scheme behind the scenes to try and keep themselves in that position, contrary to the Chair's (Dr. Jackson) plans.
A reminder that RAC will meet this Thursday at 4 pm. in Woolwich Council Chambers.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
I've put the title above in quotes. The problem is I'm not sure who's the source. Possibly it's David Suzuki. Regardless I admit that I'm not convinced one way or the other. This week Prime Minister Trudeau announced rejection of one proposed pipeline and acceptance of another. I believe the rejected one was through British Columbia to deliver Alberta bitumen to the west coast for export. The go ahead pipeline I believe was from Alberta south to the United States. One of its' names is the Trans Mountain pipeline.
So if Mr. Suzuki and many more like minded groups from Sierra Legal, Council of Canadians, Friends of the Earth etc. are all against ANY new oil or gas pipelines; has Prime Minister Trudeau screwed up royally? I believe the Waterloo Region Record earlier this week commented on how the Green Party and the NDP say yes he did by approving the one new pipeline (to date) as the Conservative party also said that Mr. Trudeau screwed up however by refusing the one pipeline go ahead that he did. Therefore our Prime Minister has confidently seized the middle ground with the loyal opposition diametrically opposed to his position.
Sooooo the easy position to take is the typical Canadian middle of the road position which our governing Liberal Party are on. That said when I look at the actors involved from the Green Party, NDP, David Suzuki, Sierra, Council of Canadians etc. versus the Conservatives position for all pipelines and the Liberal position in favour of only some pipelines I'm starting to lean towards the no pipeline position. Almost everybody (except Trump & Canadian Conservatives) admits that the world must get off our petroleum addiction due to global warming and so many more environmental crises.
No the world cannot literally go cold turkey. But are we going to move away from petroleum and it's awful consequences so incredibly slowly that we are going to continue to build infrastructure for it? To me that doesn't seem to recognize the urgency of the world's crisis.
Friday, December 2, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Wide support for action on bottled water plants". Basically it is informing us that more than 20,000 people (myself included) have responded to the government's proposed moratorium on water taking permits for new or expanded bottled water operations. The majority of responders are in favour of the ban.
Much credit must go to the Wellington Water Watchers in Guelph who brought this issue to the forefront. They have been fighting Nestle in regards to their Aberfoyle water takings for some time now. Then when they learned of Nestle's plans in regards to the Middleton Rd. well outside of Elora they really ramped up the pressure. The Elora area well it turned out had been on the radar of the municipality of Centre Wellington. Unfortunately they were much too slow in getting an offer in to the current owner.
Clearly with expected climate change issues that include both more floods and more droughts it makes sense for municipalities to secure our jointly owned water supplies first rather than let corporations tie up our groundwater for future profits. This essentially is what sand and gravel companies have been doing for decades. While the resource should be everybodies, private companies have been buying properties and then getting licences to extract gravel and sand even when they have no immediate market for their products. It's all about staking their claim before the next company.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
I have been spending considerable time preparing my Delegation for next Thursday's RAC meeting. By the way that meeting is advertised in today's Woolwich Observer. Kudos to both Woolwich Township and the Observer for so publishing that public service announcement. Yesterday I sent my revised Draft off to CPAC members for any further comments or suggestions. The Ministry of Environment must also be given due where credit is due. Their ability to drag out second rate and unscientific sediment, floodplain soil (sort of) and tissue residue fish tests over a five year period is world class. Their inconsistent and incoherent sampling locations combined with their self-serving fish tissue residue protocols make possible trends nearly impossible to understand. All of this is after they were a party to a boycott of public consultation in Elmira from October 2014 until September 2015. They only went back to the table after their two local buddies were put back on the committee and their honest and appropriate critics removed. This can best be described as the stuff of legends. Perhaps other provincial ministries should be taking lessons from the Ontario M.O.E..
Regarding our ongoing 2014 municipal election scandals I can report progress. Witnesses who were unimpressed with both Woolwich Township manipulation and worse are stepping up. They are prepared to do their civic duty and are cooperating with the authorities. Needless to say this does not mean with Township authorities who have been part of the problem, not the solution. The private, in camera alleged "education meetings" for the Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC), conducted by the Township's law firm Smith-Valeriote was ridiculous at best and corruption at worst. As Woolwich Township are long time clients of Smith-Valeriote then clearly their law firm was in a conflict of interest position in giving legal advice to an "independent" committee investigating two members of Woolwich Council including their mayor.