This Blog will discuss politics, government, corruption, police, S.I.U., courts, education, min. of attorney general, min. of labour, v.o.i.c.e. and other current and past events of interest to concerned citizens. In the "About me" section to the right and down I have included the names of persons whom I have tremendous respect for. Their influence on me however has been primarily environmental (and personal) and this is therefore a disclaimer that all words posted on this Blog/Website are mine and I alone am responsible for them. I say this with the greatest respect and affection to my friends.
Monday, September 30, 2019
87 ....Henry, the Quiet Heart and Soul of Public Participation
91.....Have I Been Suckered
Henry, the Quiet Heart and Soul of Public Participation
I want to share another of Dr. Henry Regier’s treatises this one dated November 19, 2007 titled, “What Goes Around, Comes Around.” In hindsight I certainly chuckle at Dr. Regier’s choice of title. Ms. Mclean and Ms. Bryant got a taste of their own medicine in 2011 although none of us could possibly have known that in late 2007 and early 2008. Ms. Bryant and Ms. McLean were somewhat restored onto the committee dealing with Chemtura/Lanxess in 2015 namely TAG, but they have not had any in-charge position since 2010.
"WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND.
Henry Regier, 19 November 2007
Please note: The contents of this aide memoire relate to the soil and water aspects associated with Naugatuck-Uniroyal Chemical-Crompton-Chemtura site over the decades and not, in any obvious way, to surface water and stream-related issues, to atmospheric issues, to accidents on site etc.
The current mini-crisis at CPAC concerning Alan Marshall's steadfastness in his ethical commitments may have echoes from an earlier crisis about fifteen years ago. At that earlier crisis, Alan and some of his colleagues were boldly and rudely confrontational, BARC, in their campaign to correct the environmental abuses above, on, under, near and down-gradient of the Naugatuck-Uniroyal Chemical-Crompton-Chemtura site. Alan was originally a member of APTE which had more members who were politely if resolutely persuasive, PIRP, in their behaviour.
Alan and Rich Clausi, once members of APTE, teamed up with an out-of-town activist, Pat Potter, who had a richly deserved BARC reputation. She started her activism at Brock University where, about 30 years ago, she and colleague Mike Dickman sucessfully sued the government for not enforcing anti-pollution laws against a chemical plant which was polluting the Welland River near St. Catherines. So Alan and Rich with Esther Thur, and eventually I, joined Pat Potter's Environmental Hazards Team.
Pat Potter was much appreciated by the experts and activists working under the aegis of the International Joint Commission remediating Areas of Concern. For example, she and colleagues created a map of contaminated hot spots in the Grand Valley none of which had been designated as an Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Technocrats working in government agencies and municipal councillors in company towns like Elmira may have been unenthusiastic about her BARCing behaviour.
There may still be members of CPAC who find Alan's BARCing insufferable. I don't; rather I find him a loveable and considerate person but one who simply won't tolerate unethical injustices nor the behaviour of credentialed persons who work to impede recognition and correction of such injustices.(Generally, technocrats ignore the issue of injustice.) Some members of our municipal government may still be comfortable with the waning features of old governance traditions of Elmira as a "company town". (This clearly wouldn't include Sylvia Berg who, years ago, as a municipal councillor combated the company.) Since the 1940s, Elmira has been-to a gradually diminishing degree-a company town "managed" to an important if diminishing extent by our branch plant of an American multi-national corporation. To refer openly to this rather obvious and odious fact is taken to be rude in Elmira's polite society, into which I was never inducted,alas.
The approach of some of the municipal old guard (emphatically not all) has been to "Manage the contaminant issue politically", for example , by trying to keep information about the contaminant issue out of the media and out of the public eye. Also most of them choose to remain uninformed about the issue, perhaps to safeguard a commitment to "plausible deniability" in case any serious accident were to occur. "I was never informed and, in any case, I have no legal responsibility.") For these folks, Alan's BARCing may be particularly offensive. Hence an interest by some to get him off CPA?
Some members of APTE with PIRP predilictions have found Wilf Ruland's way of operating congenial. Wilf, who lives near Dundas, has an advanced degree in hydrology from the University of Waterloo where he studied with the justly reputed John Cherry. Wilf has been an on-again, off-again consultant with CPAC for some 15 years. His service on particular soil and water issues have usually been triggered by Susan Bryant as the leader of APTE. Perhaps Susan brought in Wilf, on occasion, to trump the advice that the other members of the S & W SubCttee generated through intense discussions. I have never seen a document that specifies Wilf's responsibilities at Elmira and I don't know how his services are assessed for purposes of compensation.
Though I was raised as a PIRP and have no real talent for BARC behaviour, I have had trouble understanding and relating to Wilf's modus operandi. In a PIRP -kind of way, Wilf may have his own rude and insulting features. It seems to me that his role could have been to assist the S & W sub-Cttee, to complement the combined expertise and understanding of its members and to correct inevitable mistakes during prior discussion and then to help make the SubCttee's case more reliable and credible at CPAC. But he has seldom played a role like that. During CPAC meetings he has distanced himself from the oral contributions of Fred Hager, Alan Marshall and myself as members of that SubCttee, and has taken alternative positions; but not always. Usually he has not interacted directly with us (i.e. Fred, Alan and me) and may not even have read our written documentation prepared for CPAC. He seems to be confident that his opinion trumps that of the SubCttee and its individual members. In his interventions at CPAC it has sometimes been obvious that he had less knowledge than Fred and Alan about details of the contaminated complex of pits, groundwater, aquifers and aquitards. So his main role as consultant/advisor to CPAC seems not to have been to focus on the technical details of the contaminant problem. Instead it seems to have served as a kind of "all-round kind of fixer". From on-going interactions with MOE and consultant technocrats in various contexts and his experience with "management" of other contaminated lands and waters, he has some informal understanding of the real-time conventions related to practical, legal and bureaucratic aspects on problems like those we have with soil and water contamination in Elmira. Perhaps in an attempt to cajole a cooperative stance on the part of the technocrats, his modus operandi seems to be to stop any BARCing by Alan or me and to speak soothingly to any MOE or Company technocrat that might feel affronted. Perhaps he tries to use his pragmatic expertise to finesse incrementally more thorough and better action jointly by MOE and the Company concerning contaminants than would be the case than what one or more CPAC members could achieve on their own. If perish the thought!, there happened to be a struggle of personal wills between personalities with PIRP versus others with BARC predilictions on CPAC, then Wilf could be hired to buttress the interests of those with PIRP behaviour and trump what the BARC scoundrels had to say.
One of the differences in past years between the PIRP and the BARC factions on the S & W SubCttee related to the long-term fate of the contaminants under the site of the Company's plant. Regardless of what MOE's Control Order stipulated, PIRP members in APTE only committed to containment of extant contaminants within a volume of aquifers and aquitards below the ground water layer and within the geographic and lateral boundaries of the site. BARC members campaigned for containment plus physical removal (source removal) of contaminated hotspots such as pools of DNAPL where that could be done in a cost-effective way, i.e. if it would not bankrupt the Company. Years ago John Cherry, Wilf's mentor in graduate school, had sided with the containment option but more recently Cherry and his colleague Beth Parker have campaigned publicly for source removal, as above. With this change of mind by Cherry and Parker, CPAC's PIRP members, and perhaps Wilf as well, may be in a gradual change of mind process on this point. That Alan Marshall has been correct on this point all these years may not have endeared Alan to the PIRPs.
Coming to the near past, my membership in CPAC lapsed last year and I have not tried to stay current with all that has been happening since then. I sat in on a CPAC meeting a couple of months ago where the issue of selecting wells to monitor the effects of pumping of onsite wells as part of the containment commitment came up for discussion. At that time Eric Hodgins intervened orally with comments about selection of monitoring wells. Pat McLean as Chair permitted me to make a comment along the following lines: "In view of the hydrological complexity under the site, inappropriate (perhaps intentional) selection of wells could lead to misleading or meaningless data; proper selection was a difficult task." But it seems that the Company proceeded carelessly, i.e. without due diligence, in this responsibility, as Alan found when he looked carefully at the wells that the Company had subsequently proposed and had endorsed by the Ministry. That the Ministry did not exercise due diligence in this case seems obvious. Due diligence is both a legal issue and a responsibility of professional ethics.
Interesting things happened with respect to CPAC dynamics since then. I don't know all of the details. One that I found particularly surprising was that a CPAC meeting was convened to which Alan was deliberately not invited; any decision bys uch a meeting would presumably be set aside if Alan were to appeal under due process considerations, if due process conventions are of any concern to other CPAC members. Also the Ministry was apparently advised that CPAC had no objections to the Company's proposed monitoring wells when Alan clearly had objections; the Ministry issued a Certificate of Approval forthwith. So Alan chose to refer the issue for official review. Taking into consideration the way Alan has been treated by some members of CPAC and by Wilf Ruland and that the Ministry had signed the Certificate of Approval, I may well have supported Alan's decision to go for official review, had he asked me.
With respect to Alan's appeal for an official review, he invited me to sit in on two meetings concerning the specific and general shortcomings that he found in the details of the signed Certificate of Approval: one meeting on October 30 at Chemtura and one in the Municipal Council Chambers on November 13. I noted some interesting parallels:
-Pat McLean assumed the chair/convenor role in the first meeting and Wilf Ruland assumed the chair/convenor role in the second meeting. In view of the fact that each had publicly exhibited animus toward Alan I wondered how each could imagine the s/he could fairly exercise the responsibilities of a chair. Perhaps they had no such intention? And, in my judgement, on balance these meetings were conducted unfairly toward Alan.
-Immediately after a meeting got started, the convenor began to interfere in Alan's occasional BARCing though every person present must already have been inured to it because of past experience. So I wondered whether these continued interventions were intended, in part, to harass Alan in order to disorient him.
-After Alan got through the first two items on his agenda, which took about an hour at each meeting, each convenor tried to end the meeting. At least, their behaviours were like that typical of a chair/convenor at the close of a meeting. I wondered whether the convenors were trying to achieve a token compromise: give Alan a few face-saving crumbs in return for his withdrawal of his appeal. Of course Alan ignored the end-of-meeting shuffle of papers and glance at the clock., and proceeded with the remaining items of his agenda.
-A difference between the convenors: Wilf Ruland had met previously with Alan to examine Alan's objections in detail and said or implied that some of Alan's points might merit further consideration by the Company and Ministry, so I understand from Alan. So at the second meeting Wilf tried to wheedle concurrence from the Company and Ministry that some of what Alan had to say could be accommodated, perhaps by incremental revisions of the signed Certificate of Approval. I saw some body English on the part of some Company persons indicating modest interest but none on the part of the Ministry.
-At the first meeting after the first two items of Alan's agenda had been processed, the convenor suggested that the Company's Consultants consider Alan's arguments and provide information in response. I didn't hear whether she specified a time for delivery of such comments. The Company's new plant manager, Dmitri Makaros, was sitting beside me, and he interjected that the Company would also need to have those comments. I don't know the current status of any such comments.
-At the end of the first meeting, when Alan had completed most of his agenda, the convenor looked angry and flushed while she tried to conclude the meeting by re-iterating a request that the Company respond to Alan's first two agenda items, and continued with emphasis that the comments were intended for Alan. At this point Sandy Shantz intervened with a question about the status of Alan's remaining items; I didn't hear the convenor's response to Sandy Shantz, if in fact the convenor made a response.
-At the second meeting, in spite of some apparent effort by the convenor to get at least a few incremental improvements in some details in the Certificate of Approval and of some apparent interest on the part of one of the Company's Consultants, any positive responsiveness withered as Alan continued. His demeanour on this occasion was less pronouncedly BARK-like than has sometimes been the case in CPAC meetings. About two hours after the meeting began, the convenor called a break. During the break the Company and its consultants seemed to have made a decision to stonewall the whole "settlement" issue, as was also the case with the Ministry. I don't know whether the Company, its Consultants and the Ministry consulted during the break: perhaps only a word or two in passing, if that. Later Alan stormed out of the meeting whereupon one of the Company's Consultants smiled broadly and the other looked pleasantly relieved. The convenor made a brief comment across the room to one of the Company persons, perhaps he said "I tried." The Company person responded with a friendly nod.
-Retrospectively comparing and contrasting what happened at these two meetings, I wonder whether the two convenors had:
-planned a joint strategy to arrogate the role of chair;
-tried to contain, harass and perhaps disorient Alan;
-tried to limit the agenda of the meeting to only the first two or three items of Alan's agenda;
-tried to induce the Company and Ministry to respond favourably though only incrementally, to Alan's shortened list of concerns; and
-to induce Alan to withdraw his appeal.
-If the above was the convenors' joint strategy, then Wilf in particular failed. Perhaps it was this failure which has irked Wilf most since it may relate to his future "saleability" as an "all-around fixer who can reliably deliver the goods".
So now I list some questions that may be worth considering:
1. Is there a power struggle between dominance -seeking personalities on CPAC that needs remediative attention?
2. Is any lack of commitment to due process on the part of a Chair of any interest to CPAC members?
3. What have been the terms of Wilf Ruland's consultancy role with respect to CPAC's/Woolwich concerns about soil-and-ground-water contamination in and around Elmira, and who holds Wilf Ruland accountable for services rendered?
4. With consideration of how due process and other democratic conventions of CPAC have become "abridged" increasingly over recent years, culminating in the recent mess, was Alan justified in his official appeal?
5. In view of the fact that the Ministry has repeatedly, with some exceptions, signed off on studies and proposals based on technical information that was obviously "extremely imperfect", does the Ministry have a written protocol concerning which kinds of issues it finds relatively important for which due diligence with respect to information "reliability" is practiced and others that are low priority for which information "reliablity" can be ignored? What specifically do their commitments to due diligence mean in this context?
6. Considering the way Pat McLean and Wilf Ruland inserted themselves into the Settlement meeting procedures and then "managed" them, were those meetings actually valid?
7. More broadly has the Company's change in plant managers brought with it changes to past commitments by a previous plant manager? I sensed behaviour on the part of the Company's representatives at these meetings that seemed different from what they used to be, say two years ago. Perhaps commitments to technical excellence have been relaxed?"
I am completely in agreement with the overall findings and significant attitudes as presented by Henry Regier in his treatise. I felt that at both meetings members were strongly biased and that there were no serious attempts to resolve any problem. I believe that the various guilty parties from Pat McLean, Susan Bryant, CRA, Chemtura and the MOE had already decided their strategy and it simply entailed some window dressing in order to sell to the general public and the media the reasons for removing the best informed and by far most knowledgeable CPAC member. I do have two comments however. First Dr. Regier’s kind words for Sylvia Berg were based upon her later public, excellent, and critical comments towards Uniroyal and Crompton on matters such as the LNAPL pool floating on the water table as well as on other issues. Henry was not living in Elmira in late 1993 and January 1994 when Sylvia successfully inspired the departure of three outstanding members from APT Environment namely Richard Clausi, Esther Thur, and me. That nasty behaviour critically damaged both APT as well as the public interest, and hurt the three.
Second, I do respect the timing of Henry’s treatise of November 19, 2007. It is possible that my recollection of the two meetings, the one at Chemtura and the second in Council Chambers with several council members, is different to Henry’s on some details. For example, while either Pat McLean or Wilf Ruland could have chaired the meeting at Chemtura, I am surprised if Wilf Ruland had actually chaired. I remember being in council chambers, and that the meeting was to ostensibly mediate a peaceful settlement between myself and CPAC. It is also possible that Henry is describing a different, second meeting in council chambers rather than the one that I have described in Chapter Nine. Unless further honest evidence clarifies this, I will accept Henry’s more immediate written recollections.
Henry after adding his observations and opinions into the mix in early November 2007, then wrote another treatise in early April 2008 after Woolwich Council councillors Murray Martin, Sandy Shantz and mayor Bill Strauss made their Chemtura-centric decision to remove me from CPAC. Later, facts elucidate that old joke about not knowing who is on each team without a written roster.
I have always enjoyed Dr. Regier’s writing as well as his observations of people’s adherence to democratic institutions and protocols. I suspect that I’ve always taken them for granted and really never realized that there are individuals for whom rules and procedures are simply tools to use to avoid informed debate. Henry provides an assessment of the manipulation and deception that went on within CPAC and UPAC for many years. His descriptions of Ms. McLean’s and Ms. Bryant’s bizarre behaviours are particularly informative and eye- opening. His much quicker than mine understanding that an executive committee of some kind had usurped the authority of CPAC is an indication of his superior understanding of how a minority of individuals who are so willing and intent can manipulate a larger body to their will. Dr. Regier is a scientist with the heart of both a humanist and a political scientist. He knows what is and what is not proper. Speaking of Dr. Regier's humanity, he made a very rare mistake. The University of Waterloo professors were Dr. Beth Parker as Henry stated however it was Dr. John Cherry not John Power.
Individuals with brass and nerve along with a shortage of ethics and morals really have no problem with deceiving and manipulating larger groups of people. I believe that most of us are inherently decent and honest in our interrelationships and respect the truth. Those for whom the truth is flexible and who believe that lying is simply a method to obtain their goals think nothing of lying. The smarter ones are careful and can go for incredible lengths of time while manipulating facts and people constantly. They especially know how to say what seems like the right things, in front of the right people, at the right times. They are essentially politicians who are always searching for ways to get and keep their positions of power and influence. They are masters of conning people and take quiet pride in those accomplishments. Most normal people would be appalled and ashamed to behave in such a manner.
Sunday, September 29, 2019
TABLE OF CONTENTS
78.....2006 to Early 2007
79.....The Big Split
Dr. Henry Regier is a thinker, a writer, and an excellent speaker. I am in constant awe of his ability at CPAC meetings where he chastised various scoundrels and wrongdoers in such a fashion that at the end of his comments they would thank him. His usual targets were the MOE and Chemtura. Dr. Regier is able to call a spade a spade while avoiding personal insults even to the truly deserving. He produced a number of what I call treatises over his years as a CPAC member and afterwards. We’ve already seen his 2004 treatise in Chapter Seven regarding the Site Specific Risk Assessment.
The following verbatim treatise from Henry is dated May 4, 2006 and is titled, “A Mid-Course Correction.” I am stepping back slightly in chronological sequence but I think you the readers can keep up. Here is Henry’s treatise:
“ A MID-COURSE CORRECTION?
In discussion with FH and AM; by HR; 04 05 06
In a recent exchange of e-mail between Ron Ormson and me, Ron commented as follows”
“I would hate to see CPAC die with any departure of the current good members, although nothing lasts forever. Perhaps a …quasi-legal arrangement with the MOE-Woolwich-Crompton-Region of Waterloo is required to ensure something actually occurs.”
At CPAC’s March breakfast meeting about the long range plan, Ron and I both queried how the plan would be implemented. I wanted to know what MOE’s signature meant operationally and Ron asked about “teeth” as I recall. I suggested that we may be converging on “inter-jurisdictional adaptive co-management”.
According to the Municipality’s terms of reference, CPAC needs some reconsideration currently with an option of enrolling new members. This could be a good time to consider an alternative organization to that of the current CPAC.
So I support Ron’s idea as sketched in the quote above. Such a reorganization could be premised on wide-ranging changes that seemed to have occurred in the basic positions of different stakeholders and hence the relationship between them in the last couple of years.
Important progress has been made with (still partial) documentation of hazards and with (still partial) remediation of some hazards still related to our shared (but still partial) understanding of what works and what doesn’t work with respect to numerous aspects of this complex issue.
MOE officials are now better informed, are more involved in CPAC meetings, are reviewing more company documents critically and are taking important practical initiatives.
Elmira’s Crompton company has a personable new manager who has shown strong evidence of committing to collaboration, with support from his head office and with strong involvement of his local staff.
Much of the technical information that the company now offers is more compendious and reliable than was the case a couple of years ago and before that.
The Municipality may be ready to rematriate the ownership deed for Elmira back from the company; with a new election we may end up with more than just one councillor actually demonstrating concern about local contamination with commitment to its remediation.
The Region and GRCA may be ready to move beyond their shared modus operandi of denial on the contaminants issue; over the years the ethical stance of Eric Hodgins has been much-appreciated and Sandra Cooke is expanding her water quality work.
With happy collaborative experiences in the future, impatient activists may actually experience growing confidence that Elmirans and many more people downstream and downwind won’t be victimized until the end of time by this Company’s legacy and current practices, and thus be less censorious in their communications and interventions.
Altogether, time for a major mid-course correction? To inter-jurisdictional adaptive co-management? (Gail Krantzberg of McMaster University could advise us on such a transformation.)
From a perspective of soil and water issues, I think that it would be crucial that Alan Marshall should be active in any new governance arrangement, if he so chooses, as a community representative perhaps on a retainer. As a whistle-blower and an avenging angel against injustice, he remembers more about the relevant details of past contamination and related documentation than anyone else. Within adaptive co-management to implement the long-range plan, sharing a credible narrative of the past is helpful.
In addition to her leadership on soil and water issues, Susan Bryant has excelled in coercing remediation of fumigations and inducing more responsible plant management generally. So her participation in a new organization is essential, though it is presumptuous of me to make this point.
Fred Hager and I are looking for an opportunity to resign because of creeping senility, and the thought of a better organizational arrangement in the offing could help us to recognize that our stellar kinds of expertise would then be redundant. “
Author’s note: Henry was into his seventies when he wrote this treatise but believe me, twelve years later he is still as sharp as a tack. I can only hope to age half as well as he has. Fred Hager was a chemist at Uniroyal until retirement. He was a UPAC/CPAC member for years.
2006 to early 2007
In October 2006, Pat McLean lost her Ward One Council seat to newcomer Sandy Shantz. Pat McLean had served several terms on Council, was experienced, and presented herself well. What she didn’t have was the township hockey lobby behind her as Sandy Shantz did because she, Pat, wasn’t pushing hard for two ice pads in the new Arena as Ms. Shantz was. She also didn’t have either Ms. Shantz’s looks or Mennonite last name. As superficial as both those attributes were, they carried the day. Ms. McLean had been the Council representative on UPAC and CPAC for six or seven years and normally would have been off CPAC when she lost her Council seat. Her good buddy Mayor Bill Strauss, threw her a bone and said she could stay on as CPAC’s chair; however, Ms. Shantz would be Council’s new township representative. Irony of ironies, Ms. McLean behaved quite nastily to Ms. Shantz in the early days of Sandy Shantz’s term on CPAC. I took Ms. Shantz under my wing and provided her with background maps and simple documents to assist her learning curve. On more than one occasion Pat intentionally didn’t advise Ms. Shantz of either CPAC breakfast meetings or other CPAC related information. This neglect was a reflection of Pat McLean abusing her position as CPAC chair for personal benefit or payback. I kept Ms. Shantz in the information loop and on one occasion when she was left out of the loop as a CPAC member, by Ms. McLean the Chair, Sandy Shantz said to me “Oh, that brat!” That was interesting to me in that Sandy clearly recognized Ms. McLean’s willingness to be nasty simply because she’d lost the election and that Ms. Shantz, while provoked, was quite restrained in her response.
CPAC were advised on January 26, 2007 that the Ammonia Treatment Plan was just about ready to go and in fact by November was supposed to be under construction. Unsurprisingly, construction was not ready to go for more than another year. This delay had nothing to do with my later objection to the Ammonia Treatment Certificate of Approval because all CPAC parties, including myself, had no objections to construction taking place while we were waiting to see if the Environmental Review Tribunal would hear my appeal of the 2006 Certificate of Approval (C of A).
On February 26,2007, Crompton Co. presented in Woolwich Council Chambers its “Worst Case Scenario.” The public were advised that a major leak of anhydrous ammonia was their worst case scenario from a human health standpoint. This Worst Case Scenario was extremely serious to the point that there was an effective kill zone within several hundred metres of the plant if a wind was from the east blew westwards into town when a spill occurred. To this day, that Worst Case Scenario hangs over the heads of nearby residents as well as the rest of Elmira. The Worst Case Scenario also should have been a much larger factor in a later OMB hearing regarding a proposed residential development to occur within the kill zone. It was not and in a future chapter I will discuss that OMB hearing.
The Big Split
Unknown to most of the CPAC members including me at the time, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant were in September and October 2007, negotiating by telephone with the Ontario Ministry of Environment in regards to the Ammonia Treatment C of A. The MOE had learned that opposition could be reduced by discussion and negotiation ahead of introducing either control orders or C of A s. Officials negotiated with the company in private while at the same time negotiating with other stakeholders if such were actively involved in the issues under consideration. As a voting member of CPAC, I would not have been surprised if Ms. Bryant or Ms. McLean had received the odd phone call from the MOE outside of the CPAC venue. Actual negotiations, however, were a whole other matter. Over the years Ms. McLean hypocritically had blasted the MOE for private talks with Uniroyal Chemical on matters under discussion at public CPAC meetings and had told the MOE that public consultation meant that the public stakeholders were to be fully involved in discussions, negotiations, and updates on all matters relevant to the restoration of both the water supply and the natural environment in and around Elmira. It turned out that what resulted was Pat and Susan talking to the MOE privately just as Crompton did. That woefully uninformed and out of their depth pair usurped the authority of CPAC by making decisions on matters that never went to CPAC. For a number of years Dr. Regier had repeatedly asked me if I knew of some sort of executive committee within CPAC. I had never known of such a committee that had been advised or voted on by the CPAC members. If I had known that such a body existed, I would have publicly and loudly quit CPAC in disgust. As far as I was concerned, it was one vote per member with no members being more “equal” than others.
I slowly became aware that these telephone conversations must be occurring because of the nature and specifics of Ms. Bryant’s concerns when she called me asking for technical advice. The advice she sought could either be chemical, hydrogeological, or even historical in nature. Ms. Bryant was often much better informed than almost anyone at CPAC with the exception of Ron Ormson and Gerry Heidbuurt on air issues and me on ground and surface water issues as well as basic chemical matters dealing with names, chemical components, etc. Ms. McLean knew little or nothing technical about any of the Crompton technical issues even after she’d been chair for a decade.
After a few phone calls, it began to dawn on me that Ms. Bryant was negotiating the Certificate of Approval (C of A) over the phone with the MOE rather than at CPAC. I was a little surprised albeit not too worried as at least she was checking with me as a CPAC member who had greater knowledge than she and Ms. McLean had. Secondly I presumed all this background information would be brought before CPAC for member approval if not for discussion. I did advise Ms. Bryant that I had been carefully reading the technical details about this proposed C of A and that I had found a significant problem. The on-site pump and treat system for the municipal aquifer supposedly had to be shut down while the new and improved ammonia treatment system was under construction. This was very bad news. Therefore, the MOE had required Crompton Co. prove ongoing on-site hydraulic containment of the highly contaminated municipal aquifer such that new contamination wasn’t leaving the Crompton site and hence extending the thirty- year time frame required for off-site clean- up. In order to easily determine the status of containment, the MOE and Crompton Co. devised a system whereby well “pairs” would be assigned to each other, one being nearby off-site and the other nearby on-site. The idea for the pairings was that a quick look at the groundwater elevations in these well pairs could indicate whether or not the on-site municipal aquifer was leaking off-site.
I advised Ms. Bryant that off-site monitoring well, CH97, due south of the site was a huge problem. CH97 was of course matched with an on-site well, screened in the municipal aquifer as was CH97. The problem was that while CH97 was screened in the municipal aquifer, that aquifer at that location was not what is known as a confined aquifer. In other words there was not an impermeable or even semi-impermeable aquitard above and below the highly transmissive, water- saturated aquifer i.e. the upper (shallow) aquifer is directly connected to the deeper municipal aquifer at this location. The result was that the CH97 monitoring well would have much higher groundwater levels in it than any other monitoring wells in nearby municipal aquifer monitoring wells. These higher groundwater levels and readings would then wrongly and inappropriately be used by Crompton Co. to “prove” successful hydraulic containment on-site during the greatly reduced on-site groundwater pumping of the municipal aquifer. Frankly, I didn’t believe for a second that this was simply bad luck or an inadvertent mistake on Crompton’s consultants (Conestoga Rovers) part. It was a typical piece of junk science in my opinion and fully expected that they hoped to hide their loss of hydraulic containment due to greatly reduced pumping and treating of contaminated groundwater on-site.
I described this reality carefully to Susan including advising her where this information was located but she asked me if I would meet with hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland and go over this technical problem with him. I readily agreed to and shortly thereafter Mr. Ruland phoned me to arrange a time for he and I to meet. A couple of days later Wilf Ruland met me at my home, in the kitchen, where I had the reports and most importantly the stratigraphic boreholes and cross-sections just south of Crompton Co. spread out on the table. I showed Wilf all the details, the diagrams, and the cross-sections of the sub-surface with the various wells in them including CH97. Initially I sensed some skepticism on his part about my findings but within a few minutes his attitude totally changed. He was suddenly involved and engaged and I could tell that he was shocked at the data. Monitoring well CH97 was screened in the municipal aquifer but completely, directly connected to the upper aquifer as well. Either contaminant readings or groundwater elevation readings in that well clearly could not be assigned as readings in the municipal aquifer. The two aquifers were joined as one right there. Wilf was speechless. I didn’t expect that he was going to jump up and down or call me a hydrogeological prodigy but I did expect a flat out, plain spoken yes you’re right. He wouldn’t do it. He didn’t give me any explanation or argument or any indication whatsoever that there might be other factors or relevant considerations that might somehow mitigate this apparently obvious goof on Conestoga Rovers part. He did suggest that he would certainly explain everything to Susan clearly and that yes, well done for my astute observations but he so avoided committing himself that I was concerned. I had reason to be as it turned out.
I spoke with Ms. Bryant a couple of days later and I asked her if Wilf Ruland had stated plainly to her that Conestoga Rovers choice of CH97 was a totally inappropriate well for an off-site well pair because it was directly connected to the upper shallow aquifer as well as to the municipal upper aquifer. Ms. Bryant hesitated and then said no, he had not. I likely responded with a “What the hell?” Susan Bryant then added that it was too late anyway to make a change because the MOE were going ahead with the Certificate of Approval as it was, including CH97 being part of the off-site well pairs being used to prove hydraulic containment during the construction of the new ammonia treatment system. I then asked Ms. Bryant if she meant that the MOE were going to take the Certificate of Approval, as was, to CPAC for their input. “Well, no” said Susan. “Why the hell not?” I asked. Susan responded that she, as part of the Soil & Water Sub-Committee, and Pat, as Chair of CPAC, had given their okay to the MOE to proceed with the Certificate as it was. I was stunned. I was speechless. And I did not see the trap unfolding. Why would I? Oh right, because of several prior instances of bizarre behaviour on Susan’s part. What is obvious to me now still wasn’t then in the fall of 2007. I took Susan’s words at face value. I wasn’t on my guard around her as I was around both Crompton Co. and the MOE who were proven miscreants.
It is possible that I had a flashback to Ms. Bryant’s behaviour at the Comprehensive Long Range Plan (CLERP) discussions at Uniroyal two or three years earlier. She had just admitted to me that she and Pat had just done exactly what I caught her doing earlier on and had confronted her about. What was the difference this time in 2007? That was the question I should have asked myself and did not. The answer was that Henry Regier was now gone from CPAC and Pat McLean and Susan Bryant, while having extensive support from most CPAC members weren’t prepared to play political games with me while Dr. Regier was still a member and still so highly respected by all.
I was disappointed, I was angry, and I was mostly shocked. What the hell did Susan Bryant think she was doing bypassing CPAC? Who the hell did either she or Pat McLean think they were, speaking on behalf of CPAC without any kind of consultation with them at all? I slowly began to realize why my calls for additional CPAC meetings were ignored by the Chair Pat McLean. Essentially, Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant were, behind CPAC’s back, using CPAC’s status and numbers of members to legitimize their decisions and direction they wanted. Another thought crossed my mind. Did the MOE know that they were dealing with only two citizens and not with all the voting members on CPAC including myself? Of course they did. The MOE was doing it intentionally for two reasons. First, it was a hell of a lot easier to pull the wool over Ms. McLean’s and Ms. Bryant’s eyes than it was to do so over the entire CPAC membership. Second, it was much faster and more convenient to conduct business with two people versus seven or eight. One or two phone calls were a whole lot easier to make than waiting for the next monthly public CPAC meeting and then pitching its proposals to CPAC as a group whose members would often take their time in deliberations, questions, and research. It was a win-win-win for the company, for the MOE, and for Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant. CPAC, the public, and the environment were often the losers. Crompton Co. as well had to know what was going on. After they negotiated with the MOE they should have expected vigorous debate at CPAC yet the matter wasn’t even raised by the chair or anybody else. How many other issues had there been and were resolved by this back door method?
Another matter came to me shortly afterwards. Henry had sensed or known that something was amiss. Perhaps he had picked up on disappearing issues at CPAC that months later were suddenly presented as done deals. Perhaps Henry Regier was far more politically astute than I was. Perhaps he had already experienced more of Susan Bryant’s peculiar behaviours with her supposed friends and colleagues than I was aware of. This was exactly what Henry was referring to when he asked me if there was some sort of executive committee within CPAC that either met or made decisions on its own. A light came on inside my head at Susan Bryant’s revelation that the MOE was proceeding with the Certificate and had “CPAC’s” approval. It was neither bright nor clear but from this point onwards, I began to look at things in a different light. Too little, too late perhaps. Or not.
Certificates of Approval, like control orders, require public notice. They also allow for appeals by all parties and stakeholders. At least in theory they do. Recall years earlier in 1995 when APT unsuccessfully tried to appeal the Upper Aquifer Containment and Treatment System (UACTS). They were supported by both Richard Clausi and I with the Environmental Hazards Team (EH-Team) and the Region of Waterloo, yet they were denied leave to appeal by the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB). It’s all about politics folks, not facts.
Regardless, I appealed this Certificate of Approval. I went through an onerous and arduous process of not only formally requesting leave to appeal the C of A but I eventually sent the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) a couple of hundred pages of technical backup to prove the quite frankly obvious fact that at least one of the well pairs, demanded by the MOE to “prove” hydraulic containment during the Ammonia Treatments System (ATS) construction, was poorly chosen and in fact grossly inadequate and would give misleading information as a result.
Susan Bryant and Pat McLean were not amused that I had appealed the MOE’s Certificate. After all they had improperly, on their own, given the Ontario MOE the go ahead with it, allegedly on behalf of CPAC. It mattered not that the MOE knew that Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant had no such mandate or authority from CPAC and, if they did, it was conducted behind closed doors without all voting members present. Maybe if it ever did occur it was at one of Pat McLean’s “breakfast” meetings without all members present. No such mandate to make private decisions was ever put in writing and distributed to all CPAC members.
I was aware that something was very rotten, very close to home. Wilf Ruland was being way too cautious and prudent and uncommunicative with me, a voting member of CPAC, regarding what appeared to be a black and white hydrogeological issue, his area of expertise. By this point in time in the fall of 2007, Henry Regier had warned me about the relationship between Mr. Ruland, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant. Dr. Regier had suggested that Wilf Ruland seemed to be parachuted in every couple of years or so to give support to Ms. McLean’s and Ms. Bryant’s opinions, to enlighten CPAC, or to comment hydrogeologically on the latest report by Conestoga Rovers. Henry Regier suggested that Wilf Ruland’s role therefore had changed dramatically from his initial role as adviser and consultant. When he participated now he talked strategy and direction for CPAC, which really wasn’t his area of expertise. While I admired and trusted Dr. Regier’s technical expertise and his integrity, I had been a friend and colleague of Susan Bryant’s for seventeen years. I had only known Dr. Regier for about seven years. Turned out, Henry Regier was right all the way down the line. My bad.
Ms. Bryant phoned and asked if I would be willing to participate in a meeting with Chemtura, CRA, the Ministry of Environment (MOE), and Wilf Ruland. The meeting was to be a form of mediation intended to determine if we could come to an agreement and some sort of compromise on the issue of the efficacy of CH97 as part of a monitoring well pair. The meeting was to discover if all parties could avoid the time, expense, and trouble of a formal hearing. Hallelujah, I thought. Common sense and reasonableness might prevail yet. Once again, I was deceived and fooled by someone whose integrity and decency I trusted for so long in this battle to environmentally protect our community and the health of our neighbours.
Fortunately, I had learned a decade earlier never to go to private meetings alone with people lacking in the human characteristics of fair play, forthrightness, and decency. I learned this good sense, of course, the hard way when I had to deal with the Waterloo Region District School Board. This time I imagined that Ms. Bryant had come to her senses and to clear up Conestoga Rovers’ bone- headed plan to use monitoring well CH97. I invited Henry Regier to join us. As was usual, none of the parties were interested in an evening meeting at which Richard Clausi could attend. Mr. Clausi was a teacher and was in the classroom during the day.
The meeting began as scheduled. MOE officials were present along with a number of Chemtura personnel such as Jeff Merriman and Dwight Este. Conestoga Rovers & Associates (CRA) was out in force. Susan Bryant, Wilf Ruland, Henry Regier and I were there. Perhaps a couple of others. I will give to Wilf Ruland this recognition: he tried. Oddly, while never straightforwardly telling me that I was dead on the money with my concerns, Mr. Ruland did show CRA the stratigraphic cross-sections of the sub-surface and explained them clearly. Wilf Ruland was direct, honest, and compelling in his presentation and he was ignored.
CRA didn’t even have the courtesy or respect to agree or disagree with Mr. Ruland’s presentation. They didn’t give him any comment. They didn’t suggest that his concerns even merited so much as a glance. Chemtura followed suit as did the Ontario MOE. Mr. Ruland, seeing the writing on the wall, backed down. By that, I don’t mean he put his tail between his legs and ran. I don’t mean he was necessarily cowed. He simply accepted it without question or complaint. He was beaten and he immediately surrendered.
I looked at him. He had been doing an excellent job advocating for a CPAC member on behalf of the public interest and they had shut him down cold with literally zero rationale or explanation. They didn’t tell Mr. Ruland that his analysis was inaccurate. They didn’t tell Mr. Ruland that his analysis was thoughtful and well worth bringing forward. They went out of their way to be ignorant and arrogant. And he just sat there.
I stood up and told CRA, Chemtura and the MOE off. Bluntly and concisely in a manner that they were not used to but should have been treated to by citizens on an almost ongoing basis. “Fine,” I said, “If you want to be this stupid then you obviously want to go to a formal hearing. This meeting is over, right here and right now.” I packed up my paperwork and walked out.
That should have been that, right there in regards to the disgusting behaviour of Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers. The MOE, of course, just sat there and made no attempt to get those two parties to either discuss or negotiate in good faith. Susan Bryant and Pat McLean had nothing to say at this meeting. They should have demanded that Chemtura give some kind of rationale or justification for so readily dismissing Mr. Ruland’s presentation without even an attempt to explain why. I had attended upon Ms. Bryant’s request and with full intention of listening carefully to any technical points or facts that Chemtura or their consultants had regarding the issue of CH97 drawing both shallow and deeper groundwater and thus it being inappropriate to measure groundwater levels in the municipal upper aquifer.
Neither Chemtura nor CRA seemed to have attended in good faith. There had been exactly zero attempt to discuss, clarify, or persuade anybody of anything. They simply said no, everything was fine. End of story!
It was obvious to everyone present from Henry Regier to Wilf Ruland, Susan Bryant and me that this meeting was a set-up of some kind. Of course I didn’t realize that I was the one being set up. Unknown to me, that gutless piece of crap Wilf Ruland then sent a letter to CPAC members giving them an ultimatum. He would no longer work for them as long as I was a member of CPAC! He supposedly didn’t like my “behaviour” at the meeting that he and Susan Bryant had set up. No mention of course about the behaviour of the other parties or my defense of his and my evidence of the facts.
Susan phoned me a day or two later and demanded my resignation. I responded: ”From what?” “CPAC” she said. “Who exactly are you to demand my resignation from CPAC?” I asked her. She simply said that I had to resign from CPAC because by appealing the C of A I was in contravention of the will of CPAC members who wanted the Ammonia Treatment System built in an expeditious manner. I laughed at that one and told her that it was years past the ATS being built expeditiously. Susan repeated that I needed to resign forthwith. “No thanks,” I stated. She hung up.
Part of the irony here, of course, is that Pat McLean and Susan Bryant, just like Woolwich Council six years later, violated every rule, term of reference, and code of conduct for CPAC that you could imagine. Six years later, Woolwich Township Councillors would demand private meetings with CPAC even after their own Chief Administrative Officer David Brenneman had ordered CPAC from 2011 onwards never to hold private meetings. This order even included private, get-togethers after members would be appointed to CPAC in 2011 by Woolwich Council.
Pat McLean then called a private meeting of CPAC after Susan Bryant’s phone call to me and intentionally did not advise me, the subject of the meeting, about it. She and Susan Bryant badmouthed me and misrepresented the facts to the rest of CPAC and those idiots accepted that improper meeting as appropriate and swallowed the self-serving prevarications of the two members who had been caught in the act speaking and negotiating on CPAC’s behalf without appropriate authority. I may have been naïve about personal relationships and even politics, but I would have never stood for a pair of CPAC members calling a private meeting to discuss getting rid of a voting member behind that member’s back. That takes a really special kind of human being to play political games like that especially with someone who had always supported and treated them well. Clearly, we had totally different ideas about what democratic institutions were all about. Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant believed that rules governing committees, etc., were simply there to be manipulated and violated with impunity as long as you felt you had enough votes to back you up. Deceit, lying and ignoring rules was their specialty.
I was informed by Ms. McLean about the private meeting that I had been excluded from and was plainly disgusted with both her and Susan Bryant. Pat McLean had always concerned me although she was generally careful never to step out of line to my face. Susan and I had been friends and colleagues since 1990 and I had trusted her implicitly for all those years despite disconcerting behaviour that I have identified. As upset as I was, I still hadn’t grasped the implications of what that pair were doing. Nor did I have any understanding of the betrayal of both the public and APT that Susan Bryant seems to have been involved in for years. To this day I am not sure if her actions were due to accolades and awards from the GRCA, the Region of Waterloo, or wages from Conestoga Rovers for editing work or even possibly her background in Rochester, United States where her father was an executive at Kodak, a large U.S. polluter. Or, did she actually believe that she alone, technically and intellectually, was designated and qualified to be the sole voice on behalf of the citizens of Elmira with Pat McLean simply as a political protector? Had I become competition to Ms. Bryant in her mind? Do recall Pat McLean’s hostility towards me in June 2007 at her home and what I thought at the time was a somewhat paranoid accusation of me.
I had never questioned Susan Bryant’s commitment to the environment but I was now. What was the real reason that she and Ms. McLean clearly wanted me off CPAC? Was it all about preserving their control and pre-eminence over CPAC? That seemed very odd and unlikely to me. Did they both believe that if CPAC understood the reality of what they had done, speaking and negotiating on CPAC’s behalf without proper authority, that they would get the boot? Was this some sort of power play that I wasn’t remotely interested in or being a part of?
I was then advised by Pat McLean that there was an upcoming meeting of CPAC, after the secret one, to discuss my future with them and I was invited. How sweet of you, I thought. The invitation was in writing, likely by fax. I did not respond and I did not attend because I wanted first and foremost to have a legitimate opportunity to have a discussion with the CPAC members regarding the ATS and the inappropriate well pairs that were in the C of A. Shortly thereafter I received a written note advising me that CPAC members had voted me off of CPAC. The swine.
Councillor Ruby Weber got wind of things a week or so later and phoned me to tell me that Pat was doing what she did best, which was usurping authority. CPAC members had virtually zero authority on their own to kick one of their fellow members off the committee. Council and council alone had that authority, not any committee of council. Well? So the whole pretend set-up meeting along with Wilf Ruland’s accusations against me, combined with Pat McLean and Susan Bryant telling CPAC that they needed to give me the boot was all a joke? A farce? A charade? Surely, I thought, Pat and Susan have some explaining to do now. They’ve just set me up, orchestrated a phony scenario, held an improper private CPAC meeting and falsely told CPAC that they had the authority to kick one of their own members off of CPAC. The scheming of Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant really couldn’t get much more obvious than that it seemed to me. By this time I didn’t so much underestimate the dishonesty and nastiness of two self-serving women as much as I overestimated the common sense and reasonableness of all the other CPAC members. Exactly how stupid were they? Plenty stupid it turns out.
During the 1990s, other UPAC members and I often found ourselves at odds with Councillor Ruby Weber. The impression we had was that she simply had too much faith in, and respect for, Uniroyal Chemical. I never found her to be deceptive or dishonest; she simply appeared to have more confidence than I ever had that Uniroyal would eventually step up and do the right thing. Then, Ruby and I actually ended up on the same side in regards to the Waterloo Region District School Board. Her brother, Jim Wideman, had been the Chair of the Board and Ruby’s granddaughter along with my son was on the receiving end of some unprofessional behaviour by a Board employee. Since that school board problem then and this issue now with Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant I started to look upon Ruby much more favourably. She stepped forward and simply said no to my being railroaded.
Additionally, while I had lots of reasons to be dissatisfied with Woolwich Township’s lack of gumption towards Uniroyal and their subsequent corporate ownership, I mistakenly hadn’t paid enough attention to just how slick council and senior staff could be in matters of public deception. David Brenneman, the Township’s Chief Administrative Officer, took the lead in setting up a process allegedly designed to patch up the differences within CPAC. It apparently would not do for Township Council to simply kick me off of CPAC despite former councillor and current chair, Pat McLean’s wishes. Yes she and Susan Bryant along with Wilf Ruland, who always knew who buttered his bread, had manipulated a bunch of Susan’s friends and colleagues on CPAC into voting me off the island. Or, at least that’s what I was told by Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant. I never did see or read anything directly from CPAC members. Regardless the township felt the need to put a ribbon on this whole public embarrassment and so they introduced some interviews and mediation.
These attempts too, were just another sham. This time David Brenneman and councillor and CPAC member Sandy Shantz were involved - the same Sandy Shantz who had gotten off to a bad start with Pat McLean. However, politics are strange bedfellows. Both Ms. McLean and Ms. Shantz at a later date would run for mayor although not at the same time. Ms. McLean lost to Todd Cowan and Ms. Shantz won four years later against Todd with Ms. McLean actively campaigning on her behalf. Todd Cowan, however, had self-destructed by that time with an expense scandal. Irony of ironies, Sandy had her own expense scandal in 2015 and 2016.
Finally, being much more attuned to the lying and manipulation going on, I was on my guard. The defining moment occurred in a private meeting with me and several councillors, Sandy Shantz and David Brenneman. The allegations against me, as often with false allegations, were a moving target. Now, as CPAC had voted me off the island allegedly, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant had expanded the allegations into my being disrespectful, rude etc., to CPAC members. Of course, zero CPAC members were at this meeting, to substantiate this allegation in addition to only Ms. McLean, Ms. Bryant and Ms. Shantz. Okay, I thought, here is how to shut this down. I buttonholed Sandy Shantz directly in front of the council members. “Sandy,” I said “In your time on CPAC have you EVER seen or heard me disparage, criticize, or insult any CPAC member, yourself included?” Stunned silence from Sandy. She hadn’t expected that. She hemmed and hawed and possibly even stuttered a bit. I further asked “Have you ever seen or heard me criticize or insult any CPAC member either in a public meeting or even in a private breakfast meeting?” This simple, straightforward question had only one simple and honest answer, namely “no,” and she didn’t want to give it. Finally, she weasel - worded her answer and said, “I don’t remember any particular incident of that.” That right there should have been the end of my respect for Sandy Shantz. That lack of endorsement from a first-hand witness told me volumes. She was in on the railroading. Furthermore, after she supposedly had voted me off of CPAC along with the rest, exactly how was she going to justify that behaviour to Council while admitting that my relationships with the CPAC members were fine? The answer was that she didn’t have to. Council wanted me off just as much as Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant but they had no honest grounds to do so, and hence the drivel about my behaviour at the Chemtura meeting, combined with my appeal of the C of A, and then the pathetic shots at how I got along with my fellow CPAC members.
I am a team player, far more than many. I would never criticize or undermine a fellow CPAC member especially in front of the public, Chemtura, CRA, or the MOE. The only thing that I was guilty of was being brusk, and yes , skeptical of the professional deceivers at the table, and that meant Chemtura, CRA, and the Ontario Ministry of Environment. That was why they wanted me off CPAC. I wasn’t willing to play the pretend public consultation game that they all were. CPAC members, like the public, seemed to have become pawns to be manipulated by Pat McLean and Susan Bryant and apparently Sandy as well.
Ruby stuck to her guns to support my membership to CPAC but in the past she had often been outvoted by the other Woolwich councillors. They dillydaddled all winter and didn’t bring the issue to a Council vote until the spring of 2008. Mark Bauman was not present for the vote, yet a few years later he crowed in a Council meeting about voting me off of CPAC twice. And the fool wonders why I have nothing but contempt for him. Murray Martin who has never in nearly thirty years ever attended a UPAC or CPAC, RAC, or TAG meeting voted me off as did Sandy Shantz and then mayor Bill Strauss. That would be Bill Strauss owner of two grossly contaminated sites namely the Heidelberg Service Station and the Strauss Fuel Depot on Arthur Street at the north end of Elmira. As stated, Ruby voted to keep me on CPAC but was the only vote of four to do so. In hindsight, it is an honour to be voted off that municipal committee by such a pack of disgraceful, self-serving, pro - polluter hypocrites.
Susan Bryant it seems had decided a long time ago to lay down with the political dogs. As the saying goes she may have picked up a few fleas.
The media were essentially surprised by the whole mess. Ms. McLean, Ms. Bryant and Sylvia Berg, of course, all blamed the victim, me. The Council clowns all pretended to be neutral and simply trying to pour oil on troubled waters by allowing Chemtura and the MOE’s favourites, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant, to get my dissenting voice if not silenced at least somewhat muzzled. Sandy Shantz made cooing sounds about how I could continue on at CPAC meetings as a member of the public. Henry Regier came out of retirement and blistered Wilf Ruland, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant in one very harsh, for him, Letter To The Editor (Woolwich Observer) on May 3, 2008.114 Dr. Regier very pointedly asked questions about paid consultants whose income, mandate, and even position on issues could have been compromised. In other words, was Wilf Ruland in a conflict of interest position regarding these events and could that have induced him to take positions contrary to a CPAC member to the advantage of Chemtura and its consultants?
In February and March 2008, both the Woolwich Observer 115 and the Elmira Independent 116 weighed in on the final outcome. The Observer’s cartoon while a simplification, nevertheless, like all cartoons, has a strong element of truth in it.
I find Gail Martin’s Editorial to be absolutely excellent. It covers so many of the plain, simple, and clear truths. CPAC, Pat, and Susan had no legitimate or honest reason to give me the boot. Dissent or disagreement is not a crime. Neither is ruffling feathers or even irritating people. In the context of public consultation, these differences should not be reason to remove someone from a volunteer committee whose mandate is an environmental cleanup to protect public health. Certain designated and elected people felt unpopular opinions or ones that create strong debate are not welcome at CPAC. As stated by Gail, “nice, peaceful meetings” are not and should not be the primary goal of CPAC despite the wishes of Pat McLean, Susan Bryant, and Wilf Ruland. I have one objection to Ms. Martin’s Editorial and that is characterizing me as a “critic of CPAC”. I am an unrepentant critic of Chemtura, the MOE, CRA, and others whose self-serving interests lead them down the garden path of fictional facts and highly truth challenged statements.
ENDNOTES for Chapter 9
114 Letter to the Editor, Woolwich Observer, May 3, 2008
115 Scott Arnold, “The View From Here”, Woowich Observer, April 2008
116 Gail Martin, “Dismissal of Marshall is troubling”, Elmira Independent, March 2008
Saturday, September 28, 2019
69 .... A Very Odd Decision
70 ....Both Good and Bad in 2004
72 ....Fires Burning With and Without Smoke
72 ....Perhaps the Badger Game
74 ....Never-ending DNAPL Cover Ups
76 ....Popcorn Lung
A Very Odd Decision
There was an extraordinarily bizarre incident at Susan Bryant’s home in Elmira that needs to be mentioned. I no longer know the exact date even though I was present at the time. My best estimate is that it took place in the summer of 2004 although it might have been the following year. It was one more strange incident on top of so many that one’s mind can only hold so many dates and times correctly. I got the call from Ms. Bryant probably around 9:30 or 10 o’clock in the morning. This call was not at all unusual to me because we were friends and colleagues. My respect for her and belief in her basic honesty and decency had been steadfast. Although she was an APT member and I an EH-Team member, I had made it of paramount importance never to give her or any other citizen or member of either group the idea that we were not on the same page in regards to restoring the environment in and around Elmira, Ontario. I was adamant that there would not be anything other than respectful debate and discussion on any matters of disagreement. I have already stated a number of issues in which there was disagreement, such as UPAC becoming a committee of council in 2000 as well as the major DNAPL issue that APT had badly mishandled in January 1994. Therefore, Ms. Bryant and I talked regularly and routinely, comparing notes and questions on various matters regarding Uniroyal/Crompton.
Ms. Bryant’s call to me was a little unusual but no big deal as far as I was concerned. Her husband had already left for the day to go to his job at Renison College (University of Waterloo) and she wanted to cut their grass. Her lawnmower wouldn’t start and would I come over and see if I could get it started. Susan and Darrol’s home on Park Street was all of a four - minute drive from my wife’s and my home on Church Street. I don’t recall if I was working shift work at the time or why I was home during presumably a weekday. I got to Ms. Bryant’s home shortly afterwards and she took me to her recalcitrant lawnmower. Indeed, a few pulls on the cord and nothing was happening. Hmm. I suspected a spark plug problem and if I recall correctly, I removed the spark plug. About that time I heard a voice say “Hello Alan”. Fortunately I was already sitting on the ground because I might otherwise have fallen over in shock when I saw it was Dwight Este, the Environmental Health and Safety Manager employed at Crompton. Okay, I thought as I gathered my wits. Ms. Bryant hadn’t said anything about Mr. Este coming over so perhaps he was just delivering a report or document that Susan had requested. Nope, Ms. Bryant had phoned him regarding her lawn mower problem. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. What the bloody hell was going on? Why in ten million years would Ms. Bryant ever contact Uniroyal/Crompton about a lawn mower problem and why would she contact me as well? My recollection is that either Ms. Bryant or Mr. Este later on clarified that Ms. Bryant had called Mr. Este first for help but he was either in a meeting or otherwise engaged. He was at work after all. Therefore, she called me to fix the problem.
Well, it turned out that Mr. Este was quite competent with lawnmowers and he figured out the problem shortly. We departed with Mr. Este presumably back to work and me back home. Was I stunned? Yes. Was I shocked? Yes. Did I put two and two together and either come up with four or any other number? I did not. When your basic premise is that your friend and colleague is honest and straightforward, then you don’t jump to either conclusions or confusions. When I later asked Ms. Bryant why on earth she would phone Crompton for a personal favour she simply made it out to be an insignificant, trivial impulse. I really can’t recall any specific excuses or reasons but I was left in the position of either accepting her response that it was no big deal or I could start to come up with some very negative answers of my own.
I have previously stated that I was very naïve in regards to human psychology, human motivations, frailties and weaknesses. I absolutely never remotely considered that Ms. Bryant could be co-opted or corrupt. I never considered that she was anything but a dedicated citizen, mother, wife, and human being with a serious commitment to the environment. Heaven help me, but as I’m writing this in 2018 I’ve just had a horribly, nasty thought. This thought absolutely never crossed my mind literally before today. Other than that bizarre happening with the lawn mower I have had absolutely no reason to ever suspect the following. That said maybe this possible interpretation is less shocking and less damaging than what could have been my first thought. Maybe Susan wasn’t co-opted at that time. Maybe it was some sort of personal thing with Mr. Este. There I said it. I repeat I don’t know that but it makes no sense otherwise phoning the public persona of the town polluter for personal help with a lawnmower.
Both good and Bad in 2004
In August 2004, the MOE laid yet another control order on Crompton. This one was in regards to the June 11, 2004 fire and explosion as well as a total of twenty-one spills over the previous five years. Now these twenty-one spills included fugitive air releases along with spills into the Creek. The June 11, 2004 incident likely was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as David Ash’s tenure at Crompton in Elmira was concerned. He was replaced as General Manager of Crompton in September 2004 by Ron Lackner. I viewed his departure as a case of being “consolidated” as he so cutely referred to the departure of Brian Beatty as Uniroyal’s consultant more than a decade earlier. Whether or not Mr. Ash actually bore direct responsibility for the June 11th explosion and fire is unlikely however he seems to have been held accountable in some ways.
In September 2004, Dr. Henry Regier formally appealed to the Auditor General of Canada for assistance, support, and funding towards the cleanup of the Crompton plant in Elmira. Dr. Regier accurately pointed out that Uniroyal Chemical had been involved in war time production of explosive stabilizers on behalf of the Canadian government. He also pointed out that Uniroyal had produced Agent Orange on behalf of the U.S. military in the ten-year American War on Vietnam. Another reason to appeal for federal help had to do with the fact that there was a significant federal focus on the Great Lakes as well as federal cooperation and jurisdictional environmental overlap with the United States. The Canagagigue Creek in Elmira flows into the Grand River, which then dischargs into Lake Erie. Canada and the U.S. also worked together on the International Joint Commission (IJC), which involved environmental remediation of the Great Lakes.
There were other reasons why it seemed to make sense to have the federal government involved. First, the provincial government certainly wasn’t doing a great job. This poor job performance included their lack of overall funding as well as the fact that many citizens in Elmira felt that the MOE had been either co-opted by Uniroyal or were somehow under its thumb. Second, the federal government had previously been involved in various studies both of the Creek as well as remediation of toxic waste sites with Uniroyal as the test case. This was mentioned in an earlier chapter and occurred in 1988 to 1989 just prior to the Elmira Water Crisis.
Lynn Myers, Liberal Member of Parliament at the time agreed with Dr. Regier by stating “… it was government agencies … that requested these materials be produced. …in my view, the responsibility has to be partially borne by the federal government … in terms of cleanup."111 CPAC members were also supportive of Dr. Regier’s request to the federal government.
Despite these facts and Dr. Regier’s detailed and proper request, the answer came back with an unequivocal no. In my opinion the rationale given by the Auditor General that Elmira was solely a provincial responsibility, was less than convincing. Perhaps politics, as it always does, raised its ugly head.
There was another incident in 2004 that certainly should have been an eye-opener for me. In one sense it was the only time I ever gave Susan Bryant a piece of my mind. CPAC had designated some of its members to negotiate a Comprehensive Long Range Plan (CLERP) with Crompton. This CLERP was to outline future clean-up projects for Crompton and it encompassed a large variety of issues including air, water, groundwater, and source removal of contaminants. I attended one meeting at the Crompton site, which of course was my first mistake although Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant had no issues with that whatsoever. Pat McLean and Susan Bryant and I talked, discussed, cajoled, and negotiated with Crompton employees, likely including Jeff Merriman and Dwight Este, for at least a couple of hours or possibly more one afternoon. Pat McLean was still a Woolwich Township Councillor and had time constraints forcing her to leave around 4:30 p.m. Susan Bryant seemed much more keen and enthusiastic than I about progress being made at the meeting and near five p.m. abruptly told the Crompton folks that, “Yes we had a deal.” I was momentarily stunned as I knew that she and I were merely representing CPAC and any tentative deal would need to be ratified by CPAC in a vote. Ms. Bryant’s words and manner however made it very clear that she had just unilaterally spoken on my behalf, Pat McLean’s behalf and even all of CPAC’s behalf. That solo declaration crossed a line about a mile past anything that I was prepared to go, even though I was with the person I trusted environmentally more than any other. I then stood and quietly advised Crompton that while it was an excellent meeting, Ms. Bryant had misspoken. Turning to Ms. Bryant I gently reminded her that Pat McLean, Chair of CPAC, was absent and, of course, we had to run this by her first. I did not lecture or get excited in front of the Crompton folks. I saved that for when Ms. Bryant and I were outside in the parking lot. Once there and out of sight and hearing of any Crompton personnel, I demanded to know what the hell she was thinking. I made it abundantly clear to her that she did not have a veto, a unilateral vote, or anything even close to that. She, like me, was but a single vote among several CPAC members and we represented them in these talks. No one had given us any right to finalize deals or arrangements on their behalf. Ms. Bryant was appropriately contrite and suggested that she had just temporarily gotten carried away as she felt that we were so close to a deal with Crompton. Once again, I let bizarre behaviour go as I believed her that it was simply a one- off, an aberration, an honest mistake while under pressure. I was blind.
In December 2004, Uniroyal/Crompton, after four previous attempts and failures, finally achieved the *Responsible Care designation. They did not remotely deserve it by any standard whatsoever. I expect that Crompton simply advised the Canadian Chemical Producers Association (CCPA) that they and their dues would be departing if they felt that they were not going to be receiving the designation any time soon. Another thought is that both parties wanted Crompton to receive the *Responsible Care designation; however, they needed some sort of rationale. In my opinion the CCPA got tired of waiting for Crompton to do something positive environmentally, and hence, they grasped at the first possible straw of improvement. That may well have been the replacement of Dr. David Ash after the June 2004 fire and explosion with Ron Lackner. Mr. Lackner, at least on the surface, seemed to be a gentler, kinder version than Mr. Ash. All smoke and mirrors in my opinion, however.
Late in 2004, Crompton announced that it was going to excavate contaminated Creek banks and part of an island in the Canagagigue Creek where it flows through the Crompton property. The idea was to remove dioxins and DDT that adhered to the soil particles and which could be mobilized via heavy rains or flooding in the Creek. The initial source of the dioxins and DDT to the Creek banks was disputed with Uniroyal/CRA’s usual logic. No, the chemicals hadn’t been transported there via groundwater. They had been deposited along the banks via dredging the bottom of the Creek. So, how exactly did these Uniroyal signature chemicals get into the bottom of the Creek in the first place? Well, they were transported overland via storm water from various waste pits on the west side claimed Crompton. The reality, of course, is that these hydrophobic compounds can be readily mobilized by solvent contaminated groundwater as well as by heavy surface water flows.
There certainly was no doubt that dioxin and DDT concentrations were high in and around this south-west corner of Crompton. In fact, this area of the Creek was exactly beside the west side ponds and all the contamination formerly in and beneath them and currently just beneath them. The timing was also such that the Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System (UACTS) had been running in that south-west corner since 1997 and was believed to mostly stop the groundwater contamination from discharging into the Creek at this location.
This clean-up was extensive and wasn’t completed until November 2006. A piece of the island was actually totally removed and the Creek banks were partially removed and what was left was stabilized so as to inhibit future erosion of soils into the Creek. While all CPAC members were fully in support of this project, I did find the timing a little peculiar. Yes, in 2003, CPAC had supported remediation work being done in that area via the three- page, 2003 Request For Action. Therefore, CPAC members were all ecstatic that Crompton was stepping up like this. Perhaps that might have been a more appropriate time, after completion of the project, for Crompton to have received their *Responsible Care designation. It would have made sense and it would have been much more difficult to argue against it. We had in our 2003 Request For Action suggested priority items but other black and white urgent issues seemed sometimes ignored while others that were needed, suddenly were green-lighted with little or no discussion or presentations at CPAC. It was one more example of back door, back room negotiations among Crompton, the MOE, and third parties all while bypassing the Crompton Public Advisory Committee. Funny how after they all got the boot by Mayor Todd Cowan in 2011, none of them other than Pat Mclean and Susan Bryant ever applied to be on CPAC, RAC or TAG again. That was unfortunate because there certainly were a few good and honest members on that committee. My opinion is that they too began noticing anomalies and then the removal of the whole committee by Todd Cowan and the new Woolwich Council was simply the final straw.
Fires Burning With and Without Smoke
Dr. Henry Regier departed from APT Environment and joined the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team with Richard Clausi and I in 2005. Recall that we had lost Esther Thur two years earlier. While he was welcomed within the EH-Team by Richard Clausi and I, I did have concerns regarding “poaching” him from APT. I phoned Susan Bryant and to my astonishment she had absolutely zero concerns with his departure from APT and in fact welcomed his joining the EH-Team. It took me many years to finally figure that one out correctly. You know patience is a virtue and this book is a direct result of patience and slowly figuring out some things that were never supposed to be figured out.
The June 2004 fire and explosions that appeared to have caused the departure of David Ash from Crompton have never really ended. The company seems able to go for a few years without them but, just when you think you’ve experienced the last one, boom, you hear, see, or smell yet another. A public meeting was held at Lions Hall in Elmira on March 23, 2005 to discuss the causes of the June 11, 2004 major fire at Crompton. The public were advised that the causes were unknown. Well, with hindsight being 20/20, I wonder if the presence of methane from the on-site, south-west corner, former municipal landfill named M2 could have been the cause or an aggravating factor. What is clear is that if the company or any of their partners in pollution didn’t want the cause to become public, then for sure it would never see the light of day. Eventually, citizens begin to understand that blatant lies are to be expected. Certain elephants in the room would absolutely never be admitted to by Uniroyal Chemical and all their successors.
During this year of 2005 we had a meeting of the Soil and water Sub-Committee of CPAC at Dr. Regier’s home. At that time the members were Fred Hager, Henry Regier, Susan Bryant, and me. Somewhat slightly to our surprise Susan Bryant showed up with the CPAC Chair, Pat McLean. No big deal however unusual as Ms. Mclean was way out of her league and comfort level. She was an excellent chair in regards to organizational matters and in regards to running meetings, but she clearly did not appear to have read the technical reports perhaps beyond the Executive Summary.
During this meeting I commented in general that we all had to a certain extent been co-opted by the process and we were tacitly accepting the snail like “progress” and other bureaucratic behaviours exhibited by both Crompton and the Ontario Ministry of Environment. To the astonishment of Fred Hager, Henry Regier and me, Susan Bryant went ballistic! I instantly made it clear that my comments were for everyone, myself included, and that it was almost an inevitable consequence of sitting down with the polluter and regulators on their terms and dealing with them. Susan Bryant was not to be mollified and stormed out. Five minutes later, after giving the rest of us a lecture, so did Pat McLean. Fred Hager, Henry Regier and I were astounded a second time. Again, it was to be years later before I figured out exactly what was afoot.
On July 19, 2006, another fire and explosion occurred, this time in the Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) a fancy name for an incinerator. We were told that fan blades had ignited some flammable vapour. This fire coming recently after the June 11, 2004 fire was scrutinized carefully by both the media and by CPAC members. Concerns were such that residents returning to town were directed to a staging area at the Price Choppers near the edge of town on Arthur Street, the main street in Elmira, until officials were certain that it was safe to enter the area. The residents of Pilgrims Provident Retirement Home located nearby on Duke Street were evacuated by Grand River Transit buses.
Ron Ormson of CPAC sent a Letter ToThe Editor of the Elmira Independent asking why the Community Alert Network (CAN) telephone warning system had not been activated. He also advised that this latest fire and explosion comes much too soon after the last major fire and explosion in June 2004 when a wastewater tank exploded. Ron felt that Woolwich Township officials had failed to activate the warning system on a timely basis. There had also been a small fire at Crompton just a few months earlier, as well.
Perhaps The Badger Game
James Michener in his book “Centennial” makes reference to a “badger game”. Prior to reading his book a few years later, I had not heard of the term. Differences in Mr. Michener’s “badger game” to what occurred here in Elmira, include in his book the use of physical threats as well as the main motive being financial.
This one incident clearly revealed to me that something serious and bizarre was going on. Again it was a case of refusing to think ill of a friend and colleague. I admit that there are other interpretations of the bizarre behaviour of both the Bryant’s than mine. Some of the other interpretations are less damning and some are more so. You, the readers, feel free to determine any other interpretations.
As I walked to my car parked in the laneway beside the Bryant’s house all I could think of was what the hell just happened? Was that a set up of some kind? What in the name of God was Susan doing. What the hell, was Darrol part of whatever that was? I had many questions and zero answers. For not the first time I had serious concerns about Susan Bryant’s behaviour, but this time I couldn’t pretend to myself that it was nothing. Something very weird just happened .
It started with a phone call. One of hundreds over the previous roughly fifteen years. We talked often on the phone as both of us were persistent and adamant that the best possible clean up needed to be done in Elmira. We worked together in the citizens’ forum known as CPAC or the Crompton Public Advisory Committee. I never hesitated to share any new facts or data with Susan anymore than I would with Dr. Henry Regier and Richard Clausi of the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team (EH-Team). I trusted Susan Bryant’s integrity implicitly and always had. Certainly neither of us were naïve about whom we were dealing with. Uniroyal and Chemtura combined with the Ontario MOE had spent a decade and a half misrepresenting facts in what appeared, with but a few exceptions, to be never ending attempts to minimize the extent of pollution in the air, the soil, the surface water and the groundwater.
Probably within ten minutes of the phone call, I, as usual, knocked on the unlocked, side of the house, screen door. Nobody was in sight in the kitchen so I stepped in and hollered Susan’s name. This was typical as it was a large old house and if she wasn’t in the kitchen she could easily not hear a knock on the door. Susan immediately answered my call with the shout “I’m up here. Come on up.” Most of the time we compared notes, news, reports or whatever in the kitchen but on occasion she had taken me upstairs to the top floor where she kept her Uniroyal files. Therefore being called upstairs was no big deal. Up the stairs that were beside the kitchen I went. I called out for Susan again and she responded “I’m in here.”
I followed her voice into a room on the second floor and there she was with papers and reports spread out on the floor as well as on the bed. Susan was sitting on the bed. She was wearing casual clothing, either pants or blue jeans with a comfortable shirt. Her apparel was not what caught my attention. She was sitting in what I would generally believe to be an uncomfortable position, other than for a few seconds. That is she was sitting with her legs spread very wide apart. It certainly didn’t look either comfortable or normal or usual. I expected that she would quite casually either bring her legs together or perhaps swivel sideways and put her feet on the floor. She did not. She mentioned casually that Darrol had an early class or some other early work commitment that morning and the implication for me was that he had left for work at the University. She started talking to me about whatever the issue of the day was, in other words about her phone call indicating that she had been looking up data on the matter. As of this point in time I no longer have the foggiest notion of what the discovery, questions or news was about. I expect that ten minutes after I left her house that I had no recollection of what the Uniroyal issue was about.
To my surprise Susan kept sitting there with her legs stretched wide apart in what I can best describe as a most unnatural pose. I knew Susan at this point in time for somewhere near fifteen years and also knew her husband Darrol well. I had met her younger children Emma and Lucas and older daughter Jessica and son Ben. Susan knew my wife Betty and my two children Dan and Katie. For a moment I was tempted to make a smart ass comment such as “well Susan are you really that happy to see me” but decided not to. It would have been just so far out of character for me to make a comment like that and it was so far out of character for Susan to be intentionally provocative or whatever else she might have been doing.
Susan kept on talking and behaving as if everything was absolutely normal so I did as well. After a few minutes I thought that this was ridiculous and standing on courtesy, while saying nothing about an odd situation, for someone I knew as well as Susan, seemed even more ridiculous. Therefore I was going to come right out and say to Susan “What are you doing? How can that position be comfortable for you. What’s up?” Before I could do so I heard a creak just outside the door of the room and lo and behold Darrol stepped into view. I was surprised for two reasons. One Susan had led me to believe that he was at work or on his way and two I’d only heard one creak of the old floorboards and there he was. What the hell? Those old wooden floors creaked whenever walked on. Had Darrol been in the doorway of the next room standing still and listening? Then while I was facing Darrol and saying hello or good morning, out of the corner of my eye I saw Susan bringing her legs together, in a reflexive motion that should have happened several minutes earlier. Darrol mumbled a good morning and told Susan that he was on his way to work. Susan and I talked for a couple of more minutes and then wound up the discussion of the Uniroyal issue of the day. Throughout Susan made no mention that anything was bothering her or that she wanted to talk about anything other than Uniroyal Chemical. Yes I should have confronted her then and there and said “What the hell was that all about? What are you doing?” I did not because I was too shocked and I did not fathom what just happened.
Hence my confusion as I walked to my parked car. Hence my questions. Over time and over other incidents I have come to some conclusions on this matter. Susan never spoke of the incident to me, nor did I to her. A few years later after circumstances and other betrayals occurred I did share this incident with three trusted friends. I also shared it with my wife first. You the reader can come to your own conclusion. I felt this was an attempted set up and the purpose was for me to make some inappropriate comments or to act inappropriately and then get “caught” by Darrol. I would then be advised that Susan could no longer work with me as a colleague on either CPAC or the Soil and Water Committee and I should therefore resign. Recall this was Sylvia Berg’s behaviour in telling APT that she could no longer work with me on UPAC because her integrity had been slightly questioned by Rich Clausi in January 1994 over her inappropriate letter of support of Uniroyal to the Canadian Chemical Producers Association. Something similar occurred later on with Pat McLean and Susan Bryant in 2007-2008 in regards to my appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) regarding the inappropriate monitoring well pairs Crompton wanted to use to “prove” hydraulic containment during the Ammonia Treatment System (ATS) construction. Susan Bryant demanded my resignation from CPAC because of my appeal to the ERT.
Ultimately I felt this was a level of betrayal, manipulation and underhanded backstabbing of a friend, supporter and colleague of world class proportions. I have never before and never since seen what I viewed as such scurrilous and contemptible behaviour. Getting stabbed by an opponent or enemy is one thing but being stabbed in the back to this extent by a supposed friend requires a level of supreme nastiness. What exactly was her motivation? Time will tell.
Never - ending DNAPL Cover Ups
Again starting in 2005, DNAPLs magically seemed to be back on the agenda. From 1992 on UPAC and later CPAC discussed, debated, and argued with Uniroyal/Crompton, CRA, and the MOE in regards to DNAPLs in the sub-surface. Were only residual DNAPLs left? Did Crompton’s sub-surface still contain free phase DNAPLs? Had DNAPLs travelled off the Crompton site underneath Nutrite and behind Varnicolor causing high concentrations of chlorobenzene, for example?
In the summer of 2006, a CPAC meeting was held with DNAPLs front and centre on the agenda. CPAC were graced with the presence of several citizens from the City of Cambridge in the gallery who were victims of trichloroethylene (TCE) poisoning in the Bishop Street area of Cambridge. TCE is a particularly nasty chlorinated solvent and it had leaked from two companies on Bishop Street into the sub-surface where it then partially dissolved into the groundwater. The companies were Northstar Aerospace and G.E. The contaminated shallow groundwater flowed towards the Grand River but unfortunately an entire subdivision of homes was between Bishop Street and the Grand River. The TCE in the groundwater volatilized into a gas and could then enter basements via what is called vapour intrusion. TCE is highly carcinogenic and lesser symptoms upon exposure in humans include headaches, vision problems, and neuropathy.
I was aware that a treatment for chlorinated solvents dissolved in groundwater, called In –Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO), was used in Cambridge to help break- down the TCE. Therefore I asked Crompton and the MOE whether this treatment could be used in Elmira. They stated that ground factors were much different here and it could not be used successfully. I felt that they simply had no interest in taking advice directly or indirectly from citizens and lay persons. However when CRA came up with the same idea, years later, it rated a test near pumping well W3 on Industrial Drive in Elmira. Time would prove implementing the test properly was less than stellar, something discussed in Chapter Seventeen.
Both Wilf Ruland, and Jaimie Connolly of the MOE, who were hydrogeologists, spoke to the long-term nature of the DNAPL issue at the Crompton site. The two also suggested that further on-site source removal of DNAPLs was likely necessary for groundwater improvement. Hydraulic containment alone could not do the job. Surprise, surprise. As of (2018) the vast majority of those sub-surface DNAPLs are still on site in the sub-surface and slowly dissolving into the groundwater. Some areas in the south-west corner are mostly hydraulically contained whereas the shallow groundwater contamination in the rest of the site is not. This includes the whole east side where DNAPL contaminated shallow groundwater continues to flow off-site.
In August 2006, I wrote a strong and lengthy critique of this ongoing DNAPL situation for CPAC members that hammered CRA and Crompton for studiously avoiding all the DNAPL evidence and scientific knowledge available while constantly minimizing the presence of either residual or free phase DNAPL on its site. To this day, that 2006 critique has never been given the response or attention it deserves. In fact, again in hindsight, I wonder if that was a significant contributing cause of the behaviour of Ms. Mclean and Ms. Bryant the following year to have me extricated from CPAC. By that time, Dr. Regier had resigned from CPAC partially due to hearing issues leaving me with one less trusted supporter on the committee. At that time when it came to politics, I was as much out of my depth as Pat McLean is with groundwater or any technical issues about it.
DNAPLs were an ongoing topic throughout 2006 at CPAC despite Uniroyal/Crompton/Chenmtura’s resistance. Due to the 2003 Request For Action presented by the Soil and Water sub-committee to CPAC, the MOE and Crompton put DNAPLs back on the agenda. That being said, I knew that challenging the DNAPL status had to be a bit of a difficult topic for Susan Bryant given APT’s bizarre embracing of the DNAPL status quo when the (MOE) accepted Uniroyal/Conestoga Rover’s position in a December 10, 1993 letter. APT’s quiet acceptance then had initiated the split from APT of Richard Clausi, Esther Thur, and myself. Sylvia Berg’s position alone on DNAPLs would not have caused the split; It was her winner take all, hostile attitude, instantly displayed when she won APT members support that did it for me. It seemed clear to me that she felt emboldened to take punitive action against me within APT.
In December 2006, Susan invited me to attend a meeting with Pat McLean and Wilf Ruland at the University of Waterloo. Keep in mind that I was the CPAC “expert” on DNAPLS based both on my discovery of Brian Beatty’s DNAPL misquote way back in 1992 as well as my hard work, research, and effort about DNAPLS since then. We were meeting with two world renowned experts in the field, namely Dr. John Cherry and Dr. Beth Parker, to discuss DNAPLs. What a breath of fresh air to talk with two scientists interested only in the evidence and the facts, and who had no political agenda, no need for ego stroking, nor any other peripheral considerations that I could tell. Wilf Ruland had been a student of Dr. Cherry’s and Wilf considered him a mentor.
Prior to the meeting, as we drove together to Waterloo, I was getting an odd impression. It seemed to me that Pat McLean, Wilf Ruland and Susan Bryant viewed this meeting possibly as a confirmation that DNAPLs were best left alone in the sub-surface. This leave alone position seemed odd to me considering that Susan Bryant, Fred Hager, Henry Regier, and I had all worked together on the 2003 Request For Action, strongly advising source removal of free phase and possibly residual DNAPLs. Regardless, we were soon talking to the two hydrogeologists who offered a number of their various recent publications on the subject of DNAPL management. Well…! Yes Wilf was correct in remembering that when he attended university, the theory of that time was that sub-surface DNAPLS, if disturbed, might be remobilized and move further either vertically or laterally, thus compounding the groundwater contamination problem. However, both Dr. Cherry and Dr. Parker emphasized that new thinking was unanimous that DNAPLs, especially free phase, needed to be either removed physically from the sub-surface where possible or somehow, either physically encapsulated or chemically broken down. Otherwise, their long-term dissolution into the groundwater would contaminate it above drinking water standards for decades or even centuries.
I left the meeting almost floating above the ground. I was ecstatic, whereas the other three were incredibly subdued. What the hell? I found their downcast attitudes very strange. At the meeting when Dr. Parker handed out a number of her and Dr. Cherry’s technical DNAPL publications for later reference, the other three handed them to me stating that I could read them all first. Later, I tried to give them to Susan Bryant for her to read but she never wanted them. It was an eye opening, albeit too late. Not one of the three of them appeared to want to learn more about DNAPLs.
All through the rest of 2007, I asked Pat Mclean and Susan Bryant when we were going to make a presentation to CPAC about this meeting with Drs. Cherry and Parker. IT NEVER HAPPENED. Wilf Ruland, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant NEVER to my knowledge have told anyone at CPAC or the public about this meeting. It was almost as if they had made previous commitments either to Uniroyal/Chemtura or the MOE that they would back off the DNAPL file despite the 2003 CPAC Request For Action. The non-disclosure of the proper DNAPL management from this meeting reminded me of Sylvia Berg asking me alone to sign APT’s critique of the MOE December 10, 1993 letter accepting Uniroyal’s DNAPL position despite the fact that both she and Glenys McMullen had participated as well as me. Both scenarios were and are bizarre and have led me to suspect the worst.
Was the 2007 Ammonia Treatment System (ATS) Certificate of Approval merely a red herring by Pat McLean and Susan Bryant to get me off CPAC? At the time, I found their ATS position ridiculous especially after I had Wilf Ruland in my home and showed him my groundwater data and boreholes logs indicating that CH97 was totally inappropriate to be designated as one of the “well pairs.” Wilf had absolutely no dispute with my data and its interpretation. I could tell that he was trying not to be over enthusiastic about my discovery but I repeat he had zero objections or disagreement with the facts presented to him. Then, after I filed my appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal, I agreed to a sit down with Chemtura, CRA, and the Ontario MOE to determine if a meeting of the minds could occur. The meeting was a sham and absolutely not conducted in good faith by the other three parties. Wilf Ruland presented my information regarding CH97 being an inappropriate well to use as a “well pair” because the screen of the well was drawing both municipal aquifer (MA) water as well as upper aquifer water into it. There was no aquitard between the two aquifers. This stratigraphy would artificially raise the groundwater level in the MA thus incorrectly “proving” that there was hydraulic containment on site because just off-site well CH97 had a higher groundwater elevation reading in the municipal aquifer than the corresponding on-site well.
Mr. Ruland tried, I’ll give him that. CRA simply ignored his facts. CRA arrogantly, as always, advised him and us that they were right. There wasn’t even so much as a hint that Wilf Ruland’s [i.e. mine] points had any merit whatsoever. Mr. Ruland then backed down, I did not. As is my way when dealing with arrogant liars, I bluntly told them off. I advised that my appeal would be reinstated the next day and that I didn’t appreciate having my time wasted by parties with zero intent to either listen or respond factually to my and Wilf’s position. Whether in agreement or disagreement with the undisputed facts about CH97, CRA representatives said no, with absolutely zero technical reasons why they believed they were right and we were allegedly wrong.
This is the background for Wilf Ruland’s further plunging of Pat Mclean and Susan Bryant’s knife into my back. Mr. Ruland then went to CPAC and advised them that he would no longer work for CPAC as long as I was a member. He claimed that my “behaviour” at this meeting attended by him, Henry Regier, Pat McLean, Susan Bryant, CRA, Chemtura, and the MOE was objectionable. Apparently, unlike Mr. Ruland, I am not deferential enough when being lied to by intellectual prostitutes. Unlike Mr. Ruland, I will not be treated disrespectfully and accept it just because the speaker has more credentials than I. Unlike Wilf I am not in a conflict of interest position hoping for future contracts from the MOE and or collaborative, paid private meetings with CRA and Chemtura. Furthermore Wilf apparently viewed Pat and Susan as part of his future paid consulting. I strongly advise Wilf Ruland to stay out of Elmira in the future. I found his behaviour to be contemptible.
Prior to the incidents regarding the ATS planning, Pat McLean showed her true colours. This would have been in June 2007 at her house, six months after the meeting at the University of Waterloo. During this meeting, I again asked Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant what their plans were as far as advising or presenting the conclusions of the DNAPL meeting to CPAC. Pat got quite hostile and I actually thought a little paranoid as she accused me of either working against her or of undermining her. I thought both those scenarios were ridiculous and told her that. Susan kept her own counsel and said nothing. My take on it much later on was that a certain guilty party was expecting pushback for her behaviour and was on her guard. In fact I expect both of them knew that they couldn’t continue their behind – the - scenes gamesmanship and that I was starting to catch on.
A year and a half later there was an article in the December 3, 2008 Elmira Independent describing the November 28, 2008 CPAC meeting.112 The article described a DNAPL discussion and it turned out that CPAC --without my presence --had decided that DNAPLs were pretty much a settled issue. What Pat McLean and Susan Bryant failed to provide CPAC members including myself with was two letters from Wilf Ruland and Jaimie Connolly of the MOE advising that they disagreed with CRA’s conclusions. Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant, of course, still hadn’t advised CPAC of the January 2007 meeting about DNAPLs at the University of Waterloo. During the next reincarnation of CPAC, in 2012, these key letters surfaced and I spoke publicly to CPAC about their significance disputing Chemtura’s and CRA’s do nothing conclusions. Susan Bryant suggested that she and Pat McLean [CPAC Chair] may have failed to send these letters to me because I was not on e-mail at the time. What a pathetic excuse for hiding crucial information from the public.
Uniroyal and successors have always had an amazing ability to land on their feet no matter how serious the problems they caused and eventually had to face. The next chemical used at Uniroyal to cause problems was diacetyl and is but one of numerous highly toxic products that Uniroyal and its successors have manufactured and sold over the decades which were far more dangerous to either human life or wildlife than intended. This is saying a lot when you realize that the company has manufactured so many pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides all designed to kill certain life forms.
Chuck Kuepfer, reporter for the Elmira Independent, wrote an article on May 4, 2007 titled “The hidden dangers of microwaves."113 Chuck talked about diacetyl long used in manufacturing a butter flavouring used in microwave popcorn. Shortly after the lawsuits started in the U.S., Crompton suddenly stopped production of it in Elmira. The odour of this butter flavouring could often be smelled around town and folks didn’t realize that it was harmful. They were wrong because diacetyl has caused severe and irreversible lung damage in people working with the chemical. It allegedly has caused “popcorn lung” in customers who routinely stick their faces into the microwave popcorn bag and inhale the butter flavouring into their lungs. Just one more case of “better living through chemistry” as the chemical companies like to say.
ENDNOTES for Chapter 8
111 Kyle Rea, “Calling on feds to join the party”, Woolwich Observer, September 18, 2004
112 Gail Martin, “Contaminants should be removed, says Marshall”, Elmira Independent, December 3, 2008
113 Chuck Kuepfer, “The hidden dangers of microwaves”, Elmira Independent, May 4, 2007