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.
Saturday, October 5, 2019
ELMIRA WATER WOES: THE TRIUMPH OF CORRUPTION, DECEIT, AND CITIZEN BETRAYAL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
134.......Sad, Weird, Wonderful in 2014
135.......Back to the Stroh Drain and Local Topography
Sad, Weird, Wonderful in 2014
Woolwich Council for all its improvement over past councils in regards to Uniroyal/Chemtura still made some boneheaded moves. In February 2014, Councillors discussed a development application for a gas station with underground fuel storage tanks right beside the former south wellfield. The one well (E7) was still being used as a significant part of the off-site containment and treatment system [OSCTS]. These proposed underground storage tanks should have been an obvious non-starter but our Council geniuses thought otherwise. It took them until June 2014 to actually vote and their decision was in favour of allowing underground fuel tanks right beside the former two drinking wells E7 and E9. At that time, many Elmira citizens still had hopes that despite the Region’s having written off the south wellfield in 2012 it could yet be brought back into service after the remediation of the Elmira aquifers was completed, theoretically in 2028 but far more likely around 2040 or later. My opinion is that with this decision the Woolwich Councillors of 2010-2014 had just guaranteed that they would never be back in service. Interestingly, Susan Bryant spoke against Council’s proposed acceptance and, once again, we saw Mark Bauman align himself with Susan Bryant. This alliance was neither the first nor the last as Mr. Bauman had recently unsuccessfully lobbied CPAC to accept Susan Bryant as a member.
In March of 2014 both CPAC and Mayor Cowan tried unsuccessfully to direct the Ontario MOE West Central Region to require that Chemtura offer financial assurance to the MOE or Woolwich Township in case of the company’s sudden closure and or departure from its local site. Uncharacteristically, CPAC’s chair, Dr. Dan Holt, sent a very critical Letter To The Editor at the Woolwich Observer in regards to the newspaper’s failure to report CPAC and Chemtura issues. Dr. Holt pointed out that editor Steve Kannon had recently written an interesting and informative article on groundwater preservation and restoration at a site in the U.S. but would not do the same for the Elmira situation. The next month, George Karlos of the MOE, while ignoring the growing sentiment and understanding that the 2028 cleanup wasn’t going to happen on time, again promised that it would. Four months later, he publicly promised that within six months he would get the cleanup criteria for the Elmira aquifers to CPAC members. As of this date in early 2019 the promise has yet to be fulfilled. I hope that my readers are beginning to understand my skepticism and overall contempt for the Ontario Ministry of Environment. It’s been nearly thirty years of nonsense, puffery, deception, and just plain horse manure out of them.
A few months after Dr. Holt’s criticism, the Woolwich Observer In its June 6, 2014 edition published an article about Dr. Holt, as CPAC chair and his delegation to Woolwich Council in which he updated Council on ongoing matters at CPAC. Dr. Holt had emphasized the need for source removal on the Chemtura site both for short-term and long-term cleanup of the aquifers whether on or off site. In the delegation Dr. Holt also mentions two letters that had recently come to the attention of CPAC members. The first was a May 2, 2008 letter written by MOE hydrogeologist Jaimie Connelly. In it, he insists on more work be done on the Chemtura site including some sub-surface DNAPL removal. Two weeks later, Wilf Ruland, hydrogeologist, had penned a similar letter in which he supports Mr. Connelly’s opinions regarding source removal on the Chemtura site.140 Other CPAC members and I found it very strange that these 2008 letters had not surfaced until some six years later. In fact CPAC had received a document from CRA referencing these two 2008 letters and so CPAC had asked for copies. These letters had been written shortly after I’d been given the boot from CPAC and at a time that I’d been pushing for more DNAPL transparency and honesty. My efforts included a very strong multi-page letter dated August 2006 that I had sent out to all the parties to which I’ve never received a response. Recall too, that meeting on dnapls that Pat McLean, Wilf Ruland, Susan Bryant and I had had at the University of Waterloo in January 2007 with Drs. Beth Parker and John Cherry. Despite my attempts to raise the urgency of dnapls at CPAC during 2007, Pat McLean and Susan Bryant had avoided telling CPAC members about the change in direction by hydrogeologists that included a more aggressive source removal of dnapls wherever possible. Only a few months after my boot from CPAC in 2008, suddenly two letters highly supportive of my public and private comments are released. Released sort of, that is. Apparently, they were sent by the MOE to the CPAC chair at the time Pat Mclean, to Chemtura and to CRA but not much further. Susan Bryant made the silly comment at CPAC that I had probably not received a copy because I didn’t have an e-mail address in 2008. What? I had a fax number that had been used by all involved parties for nearly twenty years and of course I had a mailing address. Highly, highly suspect.
Sad to report in this same month of June 2014, Pat Potter, senior environmental activist of high regard originally from Dunnville, Port Maitland Ontario died. Ms. Potter had been helpful to citizens in Elmira during the early days of the municipal well closures and had no qualms about telling Uniroyal Chemical straight up that they were criminals. She hoped some day to attend the Uniroyal trials. It may happen yet but unfortunately Ms. Potter will not see it. She had exposed PCBs in Smithville as well as terrorized the MOE and polluters with the truth for decades. In 1993 Ms. Potter exposed APT Environment vice-president Sylvia Berg’s surreptitious letter to the Canadian Chemical Producers Association (CCPA) praising Uniroyal Chemical at a crucial moment in the efforts to get Uniroyal kicked out of the CCPA. She is missed by her family, friends and environmental colleagues.
Back to the Stroh Drain and Local Topography
The documentary that I had been asked to scout filming locations for was produced by Merit Motion Pictures on behalf of the CBC. The CBC broadcast it on television in the spring of 2015 with the title “Canada’s Shadow War.” The documentary focused on Canada’s involvement as a supplier of war materials to the United States in their “American War on Vietnam.” ( I have borrowed that turn of phrase from friend and colleague, Dr. Henry Regier.)
CPAC members were intrigued with this new and potentially damaging information to both Chemtura’s and the MOE’s credibility. Later in the year, they began looking into just exactly how much information might be available regarding the off-site property on Chemtura’s east side. I assured them that I had old reports that had some pretty interesting statements, facts, and opinions in regards to that east side of the company’s site. Information that flew in the face of what CRA and Chemtura had been telling both old and new CPACs for a very long time.
One last item went public in the Elmira Independent on June 2014. It did so without comment and without fanfare. In fact, it was barely mentioned again except occasionally by me at CPAC meetings that summer and fall of 2014. No other news media picked it up and it went nowhere. Editor Gail Martin wrote that possibly gravel pits GP-1 and GP-2 were red herrings. Red herrings are my words not Ms. Martin’s. She reported the possibility that, according to what had been presented at a recent CPAC meeting, somehow the location of the old gravel pits on the Chemtura site may have been misplaced and that contaminated liquids most likely flowed eastward onto the Stroh property rather than southward into the alleged locations of GP-1 and GP-2.141 The details will be forthcoming.
I was on a roll. CPAC rightly asked how on earth it was possible that a citizen whom our Woolwich Council had kicked off CPAC on two different occasions was the one independently making significant discoveries decades later, about contamination migrating off the Uniroyal Chemical site that was blatantly denied, verbally and in writing, for decades. More revelations were almost immediately forthcoming. I was studying everything I either already had or could get my hands on looking with new eyes at maps, contours, and self-serving statements from Uniroyal, Conestoga Rovers, and the MOE. It is simply amazing how one can automatically accept opinions as statements of fact from persons and groups with a long history of gilding the lily. Therefore, I, just like everyone else, assumed that claims from CRA, Chemtura, and the MOE were accurate until proven otherwise. In fact all of us, after the first fifty deceptive, inaccurate, or highly unlikely statements, should have begun to realize that assuming we were being lied to constantly was the safest route to go in understanding a pretty complicated situation here in Elmira.
I looked at a couple of earlier maps in two different reports. The one report from 1985 was titled, “A History of Uniroyal Waste Disposal,” written by Anthony Smith (GRCA), Allan Ralston, and Wayne Jackman (MOE). The second was the February 1991 CH2M HILL report titled. “Elmira-St. Jacobs Water Supply Project Volume 2: Contaminant Plume Mapping and Source Investigation.” The second report by CH2M HILL uses the map from the first one written in 1985. GP-1 and GP-2 were shown on the maps in both reports. Then I noticed something. Both these allegedly identical maps had topographical contour lines showing the elevation above sea level. The numbers seemed off until I realized that the earlier maps were likely done if not pre-metric then at least before metric numbers were commonly used on topographical maps. Therefore, the 1985 and 1991 version maps had the elevations of the contour lines in feet above sea level whereas Conestoga Rovers report, “Scoped Environmental Impact Study” of May 2013 that I had most recently looked at and mentioned in the previous chapter had its maps in metres above sea level.
What continued to bother me even after I had done a couple of quick calculations to reassure myself that the two earlier maps were in feet above sea level and the newer one was in metres above sea level?
I had noticed over the years that various maps produced by CRA occasionally had slightly different shapes to GP-1 and GP-2. CRA had also verbally assured CPAC members n 2013 that its investigations had determined that GP-1 and GP-2 were slightly different in size. GP-1 in particular was larger and when examining earlier maps versus the 2013 map, I could readily see that the bottom right-hand corner of GP-1 was significantly closer to GP-2 than it was in either the 1985 and 1991 versions. Again, that seemed not to be of any consequence. I looked even more carefully. Some of the numbers on the elevation contours on the two earlier maps were very legible and others less so. I got out my magnifying glass.
Now there was one other difference that should have been insignificant between these two earlier maps. In the 1985 report, the map was actually labelled dated as September 1983 and all the names on the “Waste Location Sites” (i.e. waste pits and ponds) were written so as to be read looking at the map from the north end looking south. In other words, the bottom of the map was at Church Street, which was the north end of the Uniroyal site. The February 1991 map, however, had the names written on the waste pits and ponds such that one had the south end of the site at the bottom and the names and orientation of the map is as if First Street is at the south end, looking northward toward Church Street. The 1991 map orientation is actually the usual way that maps of Uniroyal Chemical since are presented.
So I had turned the 1985 map upside down and placed it beside the 1991 version in order to have all the pits and ponds line up for easy comparison on the two maps. I also noticed that while the map from the first report (1985) had the pits and ponds labelled to be read with the north end of the site at the bottom, strangely the elevations in feet were written the same way on the 1991 map with the bottom of the map now being the south end of the site. Well, that helped me when comparing the two maps and, sure enough, I found the exact same elevations in feet and decimals in the same place on both maps. Something, however, seemed a little off to me with GP-1. It appeared as if GP-2 was identical in both maps in its location and relative to the various elevation contour lines.
The relative orientation of GP-1 seemed identical on both maps in that GP-1 ran from the north-west heading south-east as a sort of long, thinner-in-width, diagonal shape. So, out with the magnifying glass again. That’s when I found something peculiar. The elevation contour marked 1140 feet on the 1985 report was perfectly clear but I couldn’t find it on the 1991 report and map. What the heck! On the 1985 map, it was located immediately underneath GP-1. Using the magnifying glass I went looking on the 1991 map and immediately found it. I could even see it without the magnifying glass now that I knew where it was. Instead of being located beneath GP-1 on the 1991 map it was right in the middle of GP-1. It wasn’t as immediately clear as the 1985 map because the 1991 map had parallel lines across GP-1 in order to make the pit stand out. I looked for and found a few more corresponding contour lines on both the maps. On the older 1985 report and map, contour line 1134-7 is a significant distance away from GP-1 on the west side. On the newer 1991 map contour line 1134-7 is.…closer to the west side of GP-1. What? Contour line 1135-5 is immediately beside GP-1 on its east side in the 1985 map and on the 1991 map is …further away from GP-1 on the east side. Again, what the heck?
Then it hit me. Contour line 1140 feet was the highest elevation in the entire south-east corner of the site. It is the top of the diagonal ridge that I had seen with my own eyes when exploring the Stroh Drain area. The 1985 map had the highest elevation of the ridge on the left or west side of GP-1 thus indicating that GP-1 is located on the east side of the ridge. Wow! The 1991 map created by (CH2M HILL) had 1140 feet located right in the middle of GP-1 indicating that that map had GP-1 located right on the top of the diagonal ridge! How could this be? Especially how could this be when for decades CPAC were told that GP-1 was located such that surface water gravity flowed into it. Nothing was going to gravity flow into a former gravel pit located on high ground.
I wondered if CH2M HILL had made a mistake in transcribing the location of GP-1. It simply made zero sense for it to be located on the high ground on top of the ridge. This mistake, was likely caused by the fact that the 1985 report had the map upside down in comparison to CH2M HILL’s version. At this point in my thinking I had another realization.
CRA in its May 2013 report (“Scoped Environmental Impact Study”) along with the map titled, “Existing Conditions,” had GP-1 located in the lower elevation on the west side of the high, diagonal ridge running from the north-west to the south-east. CRA staff too had changed the location of GP-1. Smith, Ralston, and Jackman in their 1985 report had it in the low-lying ground on the east side of the ridge and CH2M HILL in its 1991 report and map had it right on top of the ridge at its highest elevation. CRA in May 2013 changed the location of GP-1 yet again and put it in the low lying area to the west of the diagonal ridge of high ground. What were the ramifications of these multiple relocations?
The ramifications take the form of questions. First, how could these various professionals have confused these placements and no one even down the road found the errors? GP-1 is actually placed in three different locations on three different maps. Assuming that the first map is correct, there is no way that GP-1 could be located at the top of the ridge because water doesn’t flow uphill. Therefore, why or how had CRA moved it a third time to the west side of the ridge? One answer is that Uniroyal’s property was fenced and who would want to trespass on it anyway? Therefore, who would ever know which side of the high ridge GP-1 was located on?
Second is there an advantage to intentionally relocate GP-1? In fact there is. The 1985 report indicates GP-1 on the east side of the ridge where, once the pit fills with liquids, any one would expect the bulk of the liquids to drain toward the lower elevation south and east, heading towards the Stroh property. That is not good for either Uniroyal or the MOE’s interests. However, if GP-1 could be slipped over to the west side of the high ridge--as CRA did-- then when it allegedly collects all the gravity flowing southward wastewaters, those liquids would then continue draining mostly southward towards GP-2, which conveniently is still on Uniroyal/Chemtura’s property. Remember that for the MOE, it’s all about contamination migrating off the site. It’s a “no off-site migration, no harm and no foul” sort of attitude. If this misdirection and misrepresentation and deception was an intentional scam, then it was a good one with likely many millions of cleanup dollars at stake.
Words like fraud, deceit and misrepresentation have strict legal definitions. I am not a lawyer but I do have an ability to pick up on inconsistencies in both text, maps, and tables of numbers. I also understand that major cover ups demand collusion among the involved parties. Everybody needs to be given something to go along, otherwise the unsatisfied party will blow the whistle on the cover up. I personally believe that misrepresentation has occurred either through fraud or negligence. If it’s either one then several parties are involved. Possibly some have intentionally misrepresented the facts and others were negligent at the time only to learn the truth later and attempt to keep it quiet. For example publicly disparaging an entire committee of council (CPAC), in order to remove them, as two members of Woolwich Council did in 2015 might be an example.
CPAC became focused on the east side of the site in mid 2014. The ramifications were immense when credibility and integrity are factored in. While CPAC and SWAT members already figured that those integrity ships had sailed long ago, nevertheless no one was going to ignore a smoking gun that seemed to suggest that the MOE, Chemtura, and CRA had been involved in a very long-term self-serving deception.
CPAC members asked themselves in the late summer of 2014 as to what direction they should spend the last of their term and mandate. They asked my opinion as a SWAT team member and I suggested they focus on either the DNAPL coverup or the east side coverup of off-site migration of contamination. CPAC chose the latter and asked me if I could put a report together and bring Ron Campbell and Graham Chevreau up to speed. Of course I could and then scheduled a day for the two CPAC members to review the material with me. Afterward, we went back to CPAC to present the facts to them. From that point, CPAC decided that it was time to get an independent consultant on board for an objective study albeit with data, reports, and maps available from past MOE, CRA, and Uniroyal technical documentation.
The presence of the clearly man-made Stroh Drain and the more than likely intentional relocating at least on paper, of GP-1 were both incredible discoveries. I believe that these discoveries affected the level of disappointment in and respect for the MOE, Chemtura, and CRA by all CPAC and SWAT members. These two discoveries also should have brought forth howls of outrage by former UPAC and CPAC members who had been lied to and deceived, literally for decades. It did not appear to do so to their discredit. At this point the only regular media attending CPAC meetings was the Elmira Independent. While they reported briefly on these discoveries neither the Woolwich Observer nor the Waterloo Region Record seemed all that interested.
Were there to be yet more discoveries? Yes. I was totally involved and focused on all things involving Uniroyal, CRA, MOE, and CPAC / SWAT at least partially because I was now officially retired and had more time. Ron Campbell of CPAC and the SWAT chair had on more than one occasion both congratulated me and philosophized as to how my situation had changed. After several years of being either ignored or, worse yet, bypassed and intentionally kept out of the loop by parties including the old CPAC, now there was a group of honest and dedicated citizens who were paying attention and determined to know the full truth about all environmental matters and parties in and around Elmira and they were not accepting of partial or doctored truths.
My efforts had for years included searching on- line for old reports, for maps, or anything relevant to Uniroyal Chemical that I had never seen, possibly or likely intentionally so. After finding the Stroh Drain in person and then looking at nearly thirty-year-old maps and finding the incredible “moving” GP-1, I was a man on a mission. I decided that aerial photographs would be helpful. I knew that many existed but Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura were less than forthcoming with them to those citizens still searching for the truth and unwilling to go along with secrecy and self-serving confidentiality. I found satellite photos using Google, Waterloo Region geographical information services, and Maplandia.
All three sources were astounding to my eyes. The level of detail was far better than I could have imagined. At first I focused on Chemtura’s south-east corner looking at GP-1, the diagonal ridge of high ground, and the Stroh Drain. I spent hours looking and even memorizing landmarks on these satellite photos. I saw landmarks that I had heard existed but had never seen. Swales, not furrows, appeared on these satellite photos. A major swale that started at the bottom of retention pit east one (RPE-1) and ran down the west side of the east side pits dumped its liquid contents into the wetlands on the former Uniroyal property. These wetlands had allegedly drained due south into GP-1 and then to GP-2. That flow direction was now in serious doubt based on the 2013 CRA topographical map as well as previous ones now studied more diligently.
I started looking further upgradient on the east side. There are actually a couple of dirt or gravel roads on the east side and they showed up quite clearly as did what I first thought were additional roads that I had been unaware of. A closer look at them changed my mind. These “roads” were much too small and narrow. Amazingly they were also, perfectly straight. They were far straighter than the existing roads plus they would suddenly jog at a sharp angle in a different direction. What!
Approximately halfway between the west side of the former east side pits and the Creek are two lines running north to south approximately fourty metres apart at the north end close to Church Street, coming together into a long narrow V-shape a few hundred metres further south. Once joined together, this line turns toward the south-east direction where it heads toward the northern end of former pit, RPE-5. Prior to hitting the surface swale on the west side of RPE-5, the line turns almost due south and runs the length of RPE-5 before turning in the south-east direction again. It appears as if the line then runs right to the property line between Chemtura and the neighbouring Stroh farm.
In addition to these lines, there is yet another unexplained line still on the east side of the Creek but near the on-site dam -- quite close to it in fact. The research I did combined with a lot of years of listening to and reading many remediation schemes attempted at various sites in North America helped narrow down the possible explanations for me. The most likely is that the line is some form of an interceptor trench used for the purpose of intercepting contaminated groundwater migrating from the east side pits on its way to being discharged into the Canagagigue Creek located in the middle of Chemtura’s property. The second possibility involves what is known as the Waterloo Barrier, named after a remediation method discovered at the University of Waterloo. This Barrier is filled with reactive iron filings that act as catalysts to help breakdown hydrocarbon compounds such as fuels and solvents. This remediation barrier is also sometimes referred to as a permeable reactive barrier (PRV).
So what exactly is an interceptor trench? In its simplest form it is a below ground surface narrow excavation designed to intercept and collect migrating contaminated groundwater. It is my understanding both from on-line technical reading and from a Lanxess hydrogeologist, Ramin Ansari, that the first self-propelled machines built specifically for the purpose of excavating and burying the perforated plastic piping for the interception of groundwater occurred in the very early 1990s. Care must be taken to bury the pipe at the proper depth, which would be at the bottom of a shallow aquifer. Hence, the bottom of a sand and gravel formation located between the known source of contamination and the down gradient receptors such as a stream or creek would be the norm. A filter cloth may be put over top of the pipe and then the hole filled with permeable sand and gravel to the thickness of the aquifer. There are numerous variations including gravity flow to a low point combined with a pump used to pump the contaminated groundwater into some form of container where it eventually is transported to a treatment facility for decontamination.
There are a number of serious considerations in regards to the possibility of an interceptor trench on the Uniroyal/Chemtura property. First, inherently it is a physical method of stopping the spread of contaminated groundwater, which is a positive. Uniroyal representatives and their corporate successors have all bragged long and hard about their hydraulic containment or pump and treat systems, which, after all, are simply another physical method of extracting contaminated groundwater, treating it, and then discharging it back into a receiving body of water, such as the Canagagigue Creek. Therefore, when one recalls the extent of and hostility towards the earliest proposals in 1994 to the implementation in 1997 because of the extremely limited pump and treat system installed only on the west side of the Uniroyal site, one has to wonder why this alleged interceptor trench containment system was not used as the rationale for not hydraulically containing the east side. If the contaminated groundwater was being collected in this alleged trench and treated, then why weren’t CRA, Uniroyal, and the MOE bragging about it? Second, it is also of concern that the apparent underground piping system runs all the way to the east side neighbour’s property (Stroh farm). Further concerns arise when one realizes that an underground pipe emerges from the extreme north end of the Stroh Drain only fifty or sixty metres away from what appears to be the underground end of this interceptor trench. Could the interceptor trench be connected to that pipe discharging groundwater into the beginning of the Stroh Drain? In other words, instead of collecting the contaminated groundwater between the east side pits and the Creek for treatment, could the groundwater be gravity-flowing from the west side of the pits all the way south-east over to the Stroh Drain without ever being treated?
Chemtura’s responses to these public questions from CPAC were pathetic. The company did not deny the obvious visual appearance of these lines on the various satellite photos including on recent ones. At first they suggested that the lines were simply a fence for the purpose of keeping livestock from wandering. Well, that seemed bizarre for two reasons. First, the property had been used for industrial purposes for seventy-five to ninety years. Second, the company made no effort to explain the two nearly parallel lines running southward and finally joining up into a long narrow V- shape. Nor did they explain the third line further west beside the on-site dam. When CPAC members including Vivienne Delaney and Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach expressed disbelief, Chemtura folks changed tack slightly. The explanation was that yes, it was a fence, albeit for wildlife. I found that to be a bit much. I asked Jeff Merriman, Manager of Environmental Remediation at Chemtura, if he was referring to deer, coyotes, groundhogs, raccoons, foxes, opossums … or what exactly. Jeff correctly surmised that I was mocking his latest explanation and did not respond.
Let me be very clear here. If managers at Uniroyal Chemical in concert with the West Central office of the Ontario Ministry of Environment ran a surreptitious underground pipe from the company’s grossly contaminated east side over and onto their neighbour’s property, then that almost makes the intentional toxic dumping of Severin Argenton and Varnicolor Chemical look like kindergarten stuff. Keep in mind that Severin Argenton earned the longest jail sentence (eight months) for environmental crimes in Canadian history. This kind of misrepresentation and deception would be illegal in the extreme and might just possibly be the smoking gun demanding jail time for any culpable corporate staff. I can think of two reasons for Uniroyal to consider taking the risk. One by building the trench they likely would hope that the MOE wouldn’t insist on the complete excavation of the consolidation pits, RPE-4 and RPE-5. If this were the case, then the MOE would, of course, have to be told about this interceptor trench. The second reason, again requiring MOE knowledge of either an interceptor trench or a PRV, would be the likely agreement by the MOE that any pump and treat technology was no longer needed on the east side of the Creek. Therefore it’s all about cost versus benefits.
I believe that an interceptor trench, readily installed in just a few days with the proper machinery would be much cheaper to build than removing of the contents of RPE-4 and RPE-5. These pits were initially estimated to be holding 32,000 tonnes of toxic waste although when excavated in the fall of 1993, 46,000 tonnes were placed into the Envirodome/Mausoleum, which is situated to this day at the top of the hill next to Church Street. The initial, short- term expense of the interceptor trench/PRV would be better than paying for costly pumping likely forever along the east side of the Creek.
In August or September 2014, I decided to put all the information that I and other CPAC members had gathered in regards to the south-east corner of the Chemtura site into a single format. I decided to plot the data on a portable, somewhat large map (2 feet by 4 feet) of that south-east area. I used the map titled (Existing Conditions) from the May 2013 CRA report “Scoped Environmental Impact Study” and placed it on the bottom half of a large, stiff background made of presentation board. Then using maps from Conestoga Rovers, I drew to scale the top half of the site including all the east side pits and many but not all of the west side ponds. On my map I added the Stroh Drain in blue and outlined in red the high ground that included both the diagonal ridge as well as the gravel road constructed into the south-east corner which presumably was built to access monitoring wells, etc.
This map included CRA’s topographical information and ground surface elevation contour lines as well as CRA’s latest interpretation of the size and locations of GP-1 and GP-2. I added new information as it became available. These additions included the interceptor trenches, new wells along the eastern property line, locations of where upper aquifer 1 [UA1] and upper aquifer 3 [UA3] ended on the east side as well as details regarding the 2013 and 2014 excavations in the alleged and moving location of GP-1. I also added swales, natural drains, and springs. Eventually, I even added satellite photos of the interceptor trenches on to the back of the presentation board along with both the 1985 MOE map and the 1991 CH2M Hill map showing the two different locations for GP-1. Two colour pictures of the corrugated steel pipe emerging from the ground and discharging into the start of the Stroh Drain further adorned this presentation map.
It was an incredible year of learning and discovery. It also exposed the extent and willingness of the partners in pollution (Chemtura and the MOE) to generously flavour the truth. In the next chapter we will learn the political consequences CPAC and SWAT paid for their honest efforts.
ENDNOTES for Chapter 16
140 Steve Kannon, “Change of tactics needed to clean Elmira aquifers, CPAC argues”, Woolwich Observer, June 6, 2014
141 Gail Martin, “CPAC expresses frustration over DDT study”, Elmira Independent, June 6, 2014