Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The title above is based upon both their Website and the article in last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record titled "Lanxess pledges to carry on cleanup at Chemtura site". Their website was mentioned in the Record article as supposedly containing "...links to the community outreach and environmental remediation projects underway in Elmira.". Well I've just spent 1/2 an hour on their website and I can find no such thing.
We hope that Lanxess have done their due diligence in regards to Chemtura's cleanup liabilities and responsibilities. That said who am I kidding? Companies don't take risks when they've got politicians at their beck and call. Both our Region and the Ontario Ministry of Environment love to hand out free environmental passes better known as Indemnities. Uniroyal Chemical, Phillips Environmental (Varnicolor site), Safety-Kleen (Breslube site) and others have all been beneficiaries of politicians largesse, mostly at the expense of the public interest.
According to the Record article "We are committed to pursue the environmental projects going on at (the) Elmira site and to ensuring that work is carried out to the highest possible standards, so that future contamination is avoided,". Really? Gee isn't that nice. The current ongoing environmental projects are delayed, overdue and second rate so far. Regarding future contamination God help us. How about cleaning up the past contamination before giving us even more? If Lanxess are going to have an employment housecleaning in Elmira then maybe I might hold out some hope for a change in attitude. Otherwise it's business (monkey), deception, manipulation and obfuscation as usual in collaboration with the Ontario M.O.E. plus a pair of co-opted citizens.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I indicated yesterday that Dr. Thomson from the University of Waterloo referred to CRA's picture of the CSM as a cartoon. It is very possible that Dr. Thomson was not being derogatory or critical with that statement. In fact while I have long been aware of errors in CRA's "cartoon" in fact it has nevertheless been helpful to me in my understanding of the stratigraphy of the Elmira area.
My understanding from the meeting was that Dr. Thomson is looking for comments and feedback from both TAG members and the general public regarding his CSM. Hence I have this morning sent him an e-mail with a few small corrections regarding statements in his text .
These corrections most likely are due to certain reports that Dr. Thomson had not been provided with by either Chemtura/GHD or the Ontario M.O.E.. There have been over the decades some really shabby data and reports and occasionally there have been some real gems that have assisted in understanding exactly what has happened at Uniroyal/Chemtura and throughout the Elmira Aquifers.
As a general indication I will advise that past DNAPL investigations while disgusting in their attempts to exclude informed and non co-opted citizens have produced some good maps showing things like "windows" through various aquitards. I am doubtful that this specific information was provided to Dr. Thomson.
I will also comment that the statement on page 12 of his report indicating that the source of the extra 1,900 kilograms of chlorobenzene released into the natural environment is unknown is probably hooey. It very likely is unknown to Dr. Thomson but both Uniroyal/Chemtura and the M.O.E. have known exactly who's responsible from the get go. The so called 5 man Investigation Team sent to Elmira in early 1990 by Jim Bradley, then provincial Environment Minister was a sham. Their "investigation" was superficial and they did not want to get conclusive evidence of other sources. I was an employee of Varnicolor Chemical at the time and believe me neither I nor other knowledgable employees were ever interviewed nor questioned. Furthermore the M.O.E. already had three years of groundwater testing telling them that Varnicolor were spilling and or dumping yet it was all glossed over.
Then of course there were our local textile industries of which Borg were known to have been sending high strength toxic wastes to the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. Not to mention chlorobenzene found in the Howard St. storm sewers heading for the creek in the early 80s. Thank you Dave Brenneman (Woolwich CAO) for your lack of cooperation a few years back when I was investigating that.
Sanyo Canada is still a mystery to me. NDMA concentrations in groundwater spike right beside them. Coincidence or not? The fact is that Sanyo deserve a decent, real investigation if they are innocent, just to so prove that.
Monday, April 24, 2017
TAG stands for Technical Advisory Group and it is composed of citizen volunteers, some of whom were handpicked by our illegitimate Mayor. Nevertheless it and they are a mile ahead of her on the scale of ethics and character.
There were a couple of takeaway ideas and understandings from last Thursday evening's meeting held in Woolwich Council Chambers. Firstly it was stated and repeated a number of times that sediments in the creek are dynamic and constantly moving. There are suspended sediments, deposited sediments and then eroded sediments which start off as deposited, erode and become suspended until they find a temporary home as deposited sediments again. You get the picture.
Susan Bryant stated that Chemtura and the M.O.E. are focusing on only two sites upstream. This is both true and is self-serving for them. She also oddly stated that there is a former pond with a channel allegedly that could drain the pond back into the creek just upstream of Station # 21. Actually that area was tested and the conclusion was that the pond was not the source of DDT or Dioxins to the creek sediments. Pat Mclean accurately stated that unknown and undiscovered areas to date downstream could be just as badly contaminated as the upstream Station # 20 and #21 areas. David Hofbauer also commented that the sediments are always moving. Again this indicates both an ongoing upstream source as well as the ridiculousness of cleaning up only one or two upstream sediment areas and pretending that you've solved anything.
As stated in an earlier post the highlight was the presentation by Dr. Neil Thompson of his Conceptual Site Model (CSM). He actually referred to Conestoga Rovers & GHD's CSMs as cartoons. Interesting discription! I am still reading his report and finding it very enlightening.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Last Thursday I mentioned that our local municipal politicians give every possible advantage and break to Chemtura in regards to the process and procedures surrounding TAG and RAC meetings. Well Thursday night was no exception. Two reports were presented, discussed and debated. The one was Chemtura's Stream Investigation Work Plan and the other was a report actually presented by Dr. Neil Thompson of the University of Waterloo. His presentation regarding a new, updated and professional Conceptual Site Model was excellent.
Firstly the good news. Lisa Schaefer, Woolwich Township Staff, was not present last evening. She was ably replaced by Julie Forth. After the presentation I requested a copy of the Chemtura report from Julie. The next morning (Friday) I sent her a reminder e-mail asking for copies of both reports. Turns out that Julie was away yesterday so she then arranged for another staffer, Adelina, to assist me. Long story short I was sent electronic copies of both reports before the day was out. That is both very good service and frankly what I would hope all citizens would receive in service rendered from our Township staff who work for us. Thank you Julie and Adelina.
Now the bad news. This particular battle has been fought and won fifteen years ago, ten years ago and even five years ago. I'll even go so far as to give some credit to that manipulative, dishonest, back stabbing, former politician Pat McLean. When she was CPAC Chair she set down the law to M.O.E. and Chemtura about supplying their reports and documentation ahead of time to the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) membership. Think about it. In those days Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of Environment showed up at each public advisory committee meeting, unlike today when they show up four times per year to RAC meetings. As usual no sign of those professional liars last Thursday evening at TAG.
If Chemtura wished to introduce a Work Plan or a completed report whether eight pages or 300 pages; it was expected that they would get the report out ahead of time to CPAC members so that they could read it and have some questions ready. Springing thick, technical reports on citizens with literally zero opportunity to inform themselves at least a little bit ahead of time was exactly what Chemtura and the M.O.E. wanted. Afterall they could make their presentations, ask for questions from a bafflegabbed audience, claim they'd participated in public consultation and run for the door.
I have attended UPAC, CPAC, RAC and TAG meetings faithfully for twenty-five years plus. There were times I even had to lose a mornings wages to attend CPAC meetings. Thank you Pat and Susan for that in the early 2000s. Everybody involved knows that I'm the only citizen who both reads all technical documents cover to cover and understands the vast majority of what I'm reading. Susan Bryant would be second but it is a far distanced second to me. No brag just fact. Even the professional liars have been burned enough times over the past quarter century plus to rarely challenge my recollection of facts. Again as much as it hurts to compliment Jeff Merriman of Chemtura, he has often stated at CPAC meetings that he recognizes that my memory and recollection of facts is second to none.
So guess what. I was advised by a TAG member Thursday night that they had not received at least one of the two reports prior to the meeting. Yours truly received exactly zero of them in advance. TAG were asked whether they had any comments or questions on either one. The public gallery of citizens are of course excluded from asking questions courtesy of our current illegitimate mayor, Sandy Shantz. Regardless no one picked up on the usual amateurish mistakes CRA (now GHD) had in the text and in Figure 4. This has to do with various Floodplain Soil Sample locations. I have to date now read Chemtura's Stream Investigation Work Plan. Dr. Thompson's multipage report is next and I'm looking forward to it as I expect to learn a few things from him. Similar to Dr. Richard Jackson, the former TAG Chair, Dr. Thompson is a leader in his field. I was quite impressed favourably with him Thursday evening.
Even with myself, CPAC members and the public disgustingly excluded from asking questions we could still assist TAG if we had the reports ahead of time to study. Oh no we can't offend the thrice convicted polluter hence keep the unwashed masses away from these reports ahead of time. Afterall CPAC have learned that there are many honest members on TAG who with open minds want any heads up that honest citizens can provide them. Again every possible advantage and break is being given to Chemtura and the M.O.E.. Thank you Sandy and Mark Bauman for your continued support of this rogue company and their captured, partner in pollution, the M.O.E..
Friday, April 21, 2017
************Uniroyal Told the Truth in 1989 When They Said There Are Other Sources
Uniroyal, Nutrite (Yara) and Varnicolor Chemical are the proven to date sources of toxic contamination to the Elmira Aquifers. Borg and Sanyo are the unproven ones. Based upon the small evidence available Borg are far more likely to have contributed than Sanyo. Sanyo Canada may simply have the misfortune to be located next to monitoring well CH38 which has had abnormally high NDMA and Chlorobenzene readings for many, many years.
I have over the years posted evidence regarding Borg Textiles and other possible sources of contamination to the Elmira Aquifers. Three examples are my February 7, 2011; June 21, 2012; and January 2, 2014 postings. These postings likely give the reason and incentive for the Ontario M.O.E. to lie and coverup about numerous other sources contaminating our aquifers.
Last night's TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meeting was a revelation. This is why I continue to attend these meetings despite the baggage and disgusting process which includes co-opted citizens and excludes honest, informed citizens unsatisfactory to the co-destroyers of our local drinking water (Chemtura).
Dr. Neil Thompson spoke about his development of a Conceptual Site Model (CSM) of the Chemtura site and the Elmira Aquifers. He also indicated that the off-site pumping wells were indeed still removing significant quantities of Chlorobenzene but that they were not doing nearly so well with NDMA. Of course there is a lot more Chlorobenzene to work with. The problem is the extremely low Ontario Drinking Water Standard (ODWS) for NDMA of .009 parts per billion.
Dr. Thompson also showed a Table indicating an appropriate match between estimates of NDMA both initially dissolved in the aquifers as well as sorbed onto soil particles as compared to the number of kilograms of extracted (via pumping wells) NDMA currently.
A similar Table for Chlorobenzene is however problematic. 300 kg. of dissolved Chlorobenzene plus 1,000 kg. of sorbed CB does not remotely match 3,300 kg. of extracted Chlorobenzene (CB). Dr. Thompson suggests there are at least two or three possible explanations such as other phases present than dissolved or sorbed. I suggested free phase (as in free phase DNAPL) but he would not speculate. Another option would be inaccurate initial estimates perhaps not for Uniroyal Chemical's contribution but perhaps contributions from other sources.
Dr. Thompson was careful publicly to limit himself to provable facts. Hence publicly he was unwilling to speculate, guess or even offer likely or probable scenarios. That said once again we have a glaring example of the problem with private, by invitation only technical experts meetings. At the last one there was a clear admission by a Chemtura employee that yes there was another corporate source of Chlorobenzene to the Elmira Aquifers and that is why their numbers do not currently add up. This information was shared with me and while no corporate name was identified I am willing to speculate based upon evidence that it is Borg Textiles, formerly located on the south side of Howard Ave. (Varnicolor Chemical on the north side) right by Union St.. See my former postings mentioned in the second paragraph of today's posting.
This latest revelation sheds light on the M.O.E./Uniroyal 1991 Settlement Agreement as well as the Indemnity given to Uniroyal by the Ontario M.O.E. In exchange for Uniroyal accepting 100% of the blame and then getting an Indemnity; the Ontario M.O.E. got off the hook for their gross negligence and incompetence in allowing four or five individual polluters to destroy Elmira's drinking water aquifers. In other words the Indemnity and taxpayer 50% funded off-site cleanup was all about face saving for the Ministry of Environment.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
First off I will be taking along my Tables and text from my Delegation to RAC early last month. Those Tables, copies of which were left with RAC members, clearly indicate the M.O.E.'s deception. Almost every fish tested in every location downstream of Chemtura exceeded fish Tissue Residue Guidelines (TRG). Some exceeded tissue guidelines for Dioxins, some for DDT, some for PCBs and some for Mercury. Many exceeded guidelines for three out of four of the tested contaminants, others for "only" one or two contaminants. Some Carp samples actually exceeded the criteria (by a wide margin) for all four contaminants tested. Impressive!
Then we come to the M.O.E.'s deceptive support for Chemtura Canada via minimizing the so called number of "hot spots". Just more and thicker you know what from them. Even fish that do not travel and move around a lot clearly are being contaminated all the way down the Canagagigue Creek all the way to the Grand River. Shiners clearly showed high to highest concentrations at the last sampling point (Jigs Hollow Rd.) just before the Grand River both for Dioxins and PCBs.
I am also interested in Item # 3.4 which is Chemtura's "Stream Investigation Work Plan". As the M.O.E. have studied sediment concentrations (albeit biasedly) as well as Tissue Residues I wonder exactly what Chemtura are planning to do and why.
Item 3.5 is Dr. Neil Thompson's Conceptual Site Model (CSM). Conestoga Rovers have been doing them for years albeit poorly and hard to believe, seemingly to Chemtura Canada's benefit, particularily in ignoring aquifers on the east side of their plant.
Remember folks it's not about a number of honest citizens on TAG tonite trying their hardest. It's all about local politicians abusing their authority and setting up a process, procedure and membership ahead of time, giving every possible advantage and break to Chemtura Canada. Rarely can that be overcome and usually the intent is to simply waste more years in spending and doing little while talking lots. That said I am attending because often vital information does surface. Dr. Jackson as Chair of TAG held incredibly informative meetings. The jury is still out on his replacement although my fingers are still crossed that Ms. Svensson will turn out to also be helpful to local citizens and the environment.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Well we now have the Minutes of the last two Tag meetings namely February 2 and 16, 2017. While including the year might seem redundant when you are dealing with the likes of Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (M.O.E.); it is not. Recently we received comments from the M.O.E. regarding the last two Annual Monitoring Reports because they just didn't have time apparently to comment on the report from two years ago in a timely manner. Isn't public consultation just grand?
The Feb. 2/17 Minutes mention upcoming (while they were upcoming last Feb. 2 at least) Technical Experts meetings in late March. These meetings are disgusting and contemptible as they include bought and paid for "experts" representing the interests of both Chemtura Canada and the Ont. M.O.E. but the interests of the Elmira/Woolwich public are NOT being represented. Furthermore there are Elmira citizens capable of intelligently and honestly representing Woolwich residents.
The TAG Feb. 16/17 Minutes cover a number of significant items including the need for a geomorphological study of Canagagigue Creek. This study would give us a better idea of the locations for deposition of contaminants both in the streambed (sediments) as well as along the creekbanks themselves.
There are also comments and questions regarding DNAPLs in the off-site aquifers and how their depth may be
affected by grain size composition hence causing stratification or layering of contaminant concentrations. In other words chlorobenzene for example may in some places have much higher concentrations at the same well only at different depths. DNAPLs can readily get hung up on slightly less permeable zones in an aquifer for example.
To date I've been holding my opinion upon the "Dashboard" efforts by Chair Tiffany Svensson. Even to date I'm concerned about over reliance or weight being given to it if the comments or filling in of various issues is just the same old, decades long bullshit we've been receiving from Chemtura, their consultants and the M.O.E.. In other words yes I can appreciate the organization and clarification process but worry that in the end there will be the same lies from the guilty parties simply more clearly recorded and organized. That would be a waste of time from parties who are world class in doing that already.