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.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
ELMIRA WATER WOES: THE TRIUMPH OF CORRUPTION, DECEIT, AND CITIZEN BETRAYAL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
182.....Conflict of Interest Witness Statements
190.....Conceptual Site Model
191.....Fish in the Creek
Conflict of Interest Witness Statements
Remember that somewhere around 2009 I became aware of what I view as further peculiar dealings by Pat McLean, then chair of CPAC. By this time she had been chair for nine years and while I was aware in 2009 of her subterfuge, backroom dealings with the MOE, and her manipulation of people, I was shocked to learn that she had been a member for some time of the National Advisory Panel of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association (CCPA). The National Advisory Panel is reputedly a group of knowledgeable citizens on matters dealing with chemical industries in their respective neighbourhoods and relationships with their neighbours. For myself I had followed various local verification committees and their decisions regarding verifying Uniroyal/Crompton and Chemtura Canada and by 2009 I was not particularly impressed with the CCPA. I and many of my colleagues and associates viewed the CCPA and their follow-up name, the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), as simply a public relations lobby group for the chemical industry and its individual corporate members.
What was most obvious to me was that Ms. McLean appeared to have virtually zero technical knowledge, abilities or even desire to learn about technical matters of grave concern to Elmira and Woolwich Township residents. Therefore, how on earth did she receive an appointment to the National Advisory Panel from the CCPA? Ahh, the light came on. She would be Crompton/Chemtura’s representative on this panel. She could get brownie points from the CCPA for Crompton/Chemtura decision-makers who were in need of whatever assistance they could get. They had failed *Responsible Care verification on four occasions namely in 1997, 2000, 2001, and finally in July 2003. They finally achieved allegedly their verification in December 2004, which they had been chasing since 1997. I would certainly like to know when Pat McLean first was appointed to the National Advisory Panel in order to understand how long she had been deceiving CPAC by omission. Seeing how the world works over the past three decades it’s become plain to me that it’s all about making deals, especially private deals out of the public eye.
Just as this advisory panel or NAP is fundamentally made up of reliable people unlikely to make waves, at the same time a few legitimate people have been on this panel from time to time including Pat Potter and Dr. Gail Krantzberg. In fact it was Pat Potter with assistance in 1993 who tried to get Uniroyal Chemical kicked out of the CCPA. That was stymied at least in part by Sylvia Berg, vice-president of APT, with her letter to the CCPA in support of Uniroyal Chemical.
Pat McLean’s journey on behalf of the advisory panel has taken her at the least, all across North America. Her on-line journey, accessible simply by Googling the National Advisory Panel of the Chemical Industry Association of Canada, indicates numerous different meeting locations in Canada and the United States. Not only her name but pictures indicate that it is indeed Pat Mclean from Elmira. These trips include free air travel, accommodation and meals. I do not know if there is a per diem value also paid to National Advisory Panel members and if it is payable on only some occasions such as verification teams for local industries just as Uniroyal/Crompton received numerous times over the years. What is most abhorrent to me is that Ms. McLean was receiving these benefits from the CCPA simultaneously while she was the chair of a citizens committee fighting a member of this chemical association, namely Uniroyal Chemical, Crompton Co., and Chemtura Canada. To add insult to this she kept it all a secret from CPAC members, that is, she kept it secret from most of us for years. That is not to say that Susan Bryant and possibly one other did not know, but they kept it very quiet. To say that this appointment of Ms. McLean to the advisory panel was anything other than a quid pro quo or a token of appreciation by the polluter is to be deaf, dumb, and blind. This appointment is a gift and a consideration of considerable dollar and prestige value and would not have been given to someone exhibiting independence from Chemtura, the MOE or the local political establishment.
Approximately a year and a half after Woolwich Council appointed members to the TAG committee, CPAC decided to confront council in regards to the two blatant conflict of interest appointees on TAG. This action was just a few months after Dr. Jackson had unfortunately departed from the scene. One of these appointees was Pat McLean and the second was Susan Bryant. CPAC members Dr. Holt and Vivienne Delaney had already seen the nastiness and pettiness those two women were capable of in the summer of 2011 with their ambush of the two CPAC members at the Elmira Public Library. Then, at a November 29, 2012 public CPAC meeting, Susan Bryant’s mixed loyalties were exposed. While other CPAC members did not doubt the story recounted by Dr. Holt and Ms. Delaney, nevertheless they preferred to limit their opinions of Ms. Bryant to what they could see and hear themselves.
Other CPAC and SWAT members and I could hardly believe what we were hearing as a suddenly very chummy and collegial relationship between Susan Bryant and Conestoga Rovers and Associates was publicly exposed for the first time. The very next morning, I posted on my Elmira Advocate blog the highlights of the general CPAC meeting as well as the details of the exchange between Steve Quigley of CRA and Susan Bryant. I wrote ”There was a somewhat bizarre interchange at the end of Steve’s presentation with Susan Bryant who has started attending occasional CPAC meetings. Ron Campbell politely asked Steve how long CRA had had this capability i.e., 3-D model. Steve turned right around towards the back of the room and asked Susan Bryant to respond. She immediately and unhesitatingly stated “a long time.” Steve then elaborated and I believe he told Ron Campbell, twelve to fourteen years. He also advised the room that Susan Bryant had “assisted” with its development. Now Susan’s area of expertise is English literature and probably editing etc. Technically I cannot imagine her having anything whatsoever with which to “assist” Conestoga Rovers. Then when Steve was taking “orders” for copies of the flash drives (USB’s) to be distributed, Chair Dr. Dan Holt asked Susan if she would like one to which she replied no she already had it. There are a multitude of possible interpretations for this information but I do know that years ago I was discussing with Susan the necessity of getting rid of the extremely client driven CRA, possibly at the same time that she unknown to me and others was “assisting” them."214 There was also the shock to me in realizing that Susan Bryant, my friend and colleague from 1990 until 2007, had withheld this major and significant environmental piece of data, the 3-D model, from me, during a very large part of that time frame. On further reflection, I realize that I am hardly the only citizen betrayed. Susan Bryant, while representing the citizens of Elmira and Woolwich Township, had absolutely betrayed each and every one by not sharing this helpful electronic tool with every UPAC and CPAC member, not to mention the general public and or the heavily-involved news media personnel. This electronic tool could have been handed out to each and every new CPAC member to assist them in their orientation to this technically difficult volunteer committee. I was once again disgusted with her behaviour.
As if the public CPAC meeting wasn’t a serious enough indictment of Ms. Bryant, the plot thickened again at a private CRA meeting held at their offices in Waterloo. They had extended an offer to CPAC and SWAT members to attend an orientation session in regards to their E-Dat program (3-D Model). We agreed and attended on Thursday January 10, 2013. Lo and behold, if Susan didn’t get called out yet again this time by a different CRA employee. On this second occasion, Ms. Bryant, who had presumably been invited by Chemtura, seemed much less happy in regards to being singled out as having knowledge and participation in the E-Dat program many years earlier. At least one CPAC member has a very strong memory of Ms. Bryant’s demeanour when she was asked by CRA to speak about the E-Dat program. This member suggests that she appeared surprised and flustered. That wasn’t my impression of Susan Bryant’s reaction when called upon by Mr. Quigley at the public CPAC meeting held the previous month. This CPAC member also felt that the entire matter raised issues of conflict of interest as Ms. Bryant appeared to be simultaneously representing citizens’ interests at CPAC against those of the polluter while she was either assisting or working with the polluter’s consultants on this E-Dat program. The CPAC member eventually in writing suggested that Ms. Bryant’s actions as described raised for the member the fear of wilful collusion.
At my request, five CPAC and SWAT members put pen to paper. I will call their writings “witness statements” although they are not, for example, notarized legal Affidavits. There was not any need for them to be. They are written recollections both from memory as well as any written notes that the CPAC and SWAT members had made at the time. They were e-mailed to each and every Woolwich Council member from the late 2014 until the late 2018 term. This included Sandy Shantz, Mark Bauman, Scott Hahn, Larry Shantz, Murray Martin, and Patrick Merlihan. I felt that council members would likely have some clarifying questions and want to hear for themselves what six citizens (myself included) had witnessed and heard that transpired between Conestoga Rovers and Susan Bryant. They did not. I asked all five of these still CPAC members if any had received so much as a call or e-mail back from any council members. To date absolutely nothing. This behaviour appears to be Woolwich Council’s response to issues they don’t want to hear. That said there was a pathetic e-mail from Susan Bryant in which she denied being “paid or compensated in any way.” That is a lie. She was paid or compensated at the very least by receiving access to CRA’s E-Dat program years before her peers and fellow citizens, victims of Uniroyal Chemical’s negligence. She has also been paid or compensated repeatedly over the years by being selectively picked by Chemtura to represent Elmira and Woolwich citizens at both public and private talks with them. This even occurred when Woolwich Council did not pick her to represent Woolwich citizens on CPAC from 2011 until September 2015, because Chemtura held regular private talks with Ms. McLean and Ms. Bryant. This private chit chat was held at Chemtura Canada with the APT Chemtura Committee or ACC, a temporarily invented sham to give the appearance that Pat and Susan were representing someone other than themselves. I believe that this was when Pat McLean was given a membership into APT Environment in order to bolster the charade. I expect that Ms. Bryant’s false denial was all that a mostly biased council required in order for them to once more pretend to have resolved a problem. Keep in mind that it was the very same Susan Bryant who lied to Sandy Shantz, Mark Bauman, the GRCA, the Region of Waterloo, and numerous others at the April 9, 2015 pretend “stakeholders” meeting in which she and Pat McLean along with Chemtura offered fantastic and dishonest allegations that CPAC had bullied and intimidated MOE and Chemtura Canada personnel. If she had suggested that CPAC members bullied others by speaking the truth then she would have a point. Otherwise not.
After considerable thought I am going to give the names of the five Citizen Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) members who agreed to put pen to paper and to advise Woolwich Council what they perceived as either extremely inappropriate behaviour or behaviour that they and I feel was a betrayal of the Elmira citizens that this individual was allegedly representing. I also believe that Susan Bryant’s betrayal of Woolwich and Elmira citizens goes much further. She betrayed the organization APT Environment, founded by Susan Rupert, Sandra Bray, and Esther Thur, which she, along with Sylvia Berg, ran after 1991.
These five CPAC members have all also given me permission to use their names and witness statements for this book. The purpose of my providing these witnesses and their statements is not to heap more coals upon one individual. Throughout the story of the Elmira Water Woes, there are unfortunately so many people and institutions of disappointing character. I hope to help readers understand how citizens’ groups can be co-opted by simple actions of merely one or two citizens and who outlast all others over time. APT and the original co-ordinating committee members were a wonderful, talented, and intelligent group of people who, by merely living their lives, working, and raising their families in Elmira, allowed a pair of keen, hardworking individuals to slowly assume all the workload and ultimately all the decision-making. The purpose is also to show the readers how perverted public consultation can become. Woolwich Council with the support of the Ontario MOE assembled various so-called stakeholders together in late 1991 along with a few citizens representing APT Environment and called them the Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee (UPAC). Other groups represented included the Grand River Conservation Authority, the Region of Waterloo, the Lions Club, the Waterloo Region District School Board, a couple of former Uniroyal employees, and a couple of Woolwich councillors. It was a disaster as Susan Rupert in 1991 had tried to warn APT co-ordinators that it could be unless they were careful and particularly diligent about transparency. Over time many of these alleged “stakeholder” groups dropped by the wayside while local citizens such as Gerry Heideburtt, Ron Ormson, Dr. Henry Regier, and others joined. Throughout this evolution, however, the municipal councillors were not in charge of UPAC. UPAC members were, quoting Dr. David Ash, “masters of their own fate”. UPAC members then were not automatically up for reappointment at the end of each term of Woolwich Council. UPAC as a group decided who would be added and no one was subtracted except due to ill health, death, or their own resignation. From this improvement in membership it was then all thrown away by Pat McLean and Susan Bryant lobbying and convincing UPAC members to give up their independence in favour of a few trinkets of more clerical support from council. But I digress.
By 2010, Woolwich Council under chair of CPAC and former councillor Pat McLean were totally in charge of CPAC and had been for years. Pat was given a gift by Mayor Bill Strauss and allowed to stay on as chair after she lost her councillor’s seat to Sandy Shantz in 2006. Then, the new mayor, Todd Cowan, and council in October 2010 dropped their bomb and gave the whole CPAC mess the boot. Sandy Shantz and her new council four years later did the exact same thing only with much more dishonesty and nastiness towards the CPAC members. For that behaviour they paid and continue to pay.
UPAC and CPAC went from very bad in 1992 to much better in the late 1990s only to become a committee of council in 2000, which was the beginning of the end. It is now so badly run by council that honest, experienced, and even many professional citizen volunteers with backbones to stand up to the company and its friends are shown the door while two co-opted citizens confronted with major evidence of their conflicts of interest are kept on the committee by Woolwich Council because they are more favoured by Chemtura/Lanxess and the MOE. That is beyond shameful pretend public consultation.
The five CPAC members who submitted witness statements to Woolwich Council in March 2017 advising council as to what they saw and heard regarding the development of Conestoga Rover’s E-Dat program were Dr. Dan Holt, Vivienne Delaney, Dr. Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach, Ron Campbell, and Richard Clausi. I too provided my comments from my first-hand observations at the two mentioned meetings. The statements are as follows.
Conceptual Site Model
I listed in Chapters Nineteen and Twenty a number of Dr. Richard Jackson’s professional criticisms of the MOE, Chemtura, and CRA that he elucidated in late 2015 and throughout the rest of his tenure in 2016. Along with those criticisms he was his shocked that a proper, standard, and comprehensive Conceptual Site Model (CSM) had not been completed. Dr. Jackson was well aware of CRA’s one page diagram that its staff purported for decades to be a CSM of both the Uniroyal/Chemtura site and of the Elmira aquifers and aquitards. I believe it may well have been Dr. Jackson who referred to CRA’s CSM diagram as being little more than a cartoon. Both his and apparently the remediation industry’s understanding of a CSM was a lengthy and comprehensive written document that expressly characterized the sub-surface beneath the contaminated site as well as of any nearby receptors. This CSM would also include a discussion of the contaminants of concern (COC) as well as the hydrogeology of the entire Elmira area. This document was to make clear what the problems were, where they were, and what the remediation plan was. Dr. Jackson expressed satisfaction at his last meeting as TAG Chair that Chemtura had hired Dr. Neil Thomson of the University of Waterloo, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to research and write this CSM.
While most of Dr. Thomson’s Elmira work and meetings were held behind closed doors, he did attend a TAG meeting in April 2017 to speak about his findings. He advised that using both soil and groundwater sampling plus company records of waste percentages that he had calculated the weights of NDMA and chlorobenzene which had been released into the natural environment. They had determined that there were approximately 1,900 kilograms of excess chlorobenzene in the off-site Elmira aquifers. This is in excess of the decades old estimations by CRA of contaminant releases into the natural environment courtesy of Uniroyal Chemical. Well that was embarrassing! They also had calculated that there was more NDMA as well dissolved in the off-site groundwater although it was very close to being within their accepted margins of error. The chlorobenzene certainly was not and spoke to a second source of chlorobenzene and hence a second polluter. Well, not exactly a second polluter what with the admissions after 2000 that Nutrite had contributed ammonia and the recent and relatively quiet 2016 admission that Varnicolor had also contributed at least six different solvents to the Elmira aquifers. Dr. Thomson advised that as of the spring of 2017, that the source of the additional chlorobenzene was unknown. Well, why not? Certainly the MOE and Uniroyal/Chemtura had no desire after the October 1991 “sweetheart” deal to out other polluters in Elmira so why start now. As I’ve stated earlier in this book my bets are on the former Borg Textiles Canada Inc. and possibly one or two other sources in town. Even today a small amount of shallow soil sampling would likely find the source as chlorobenzene is a DNAPL chemical and is likely sitting in the free-phase form in the nearby sub-surface of Borg or one of its neighbours. I suspect that further examination near monitoring well OW57-32R, west of Varnicolor and north of Borg Textiles, would be still helpful decades after DNAPLs were first found there accidentally. TAG members plus myself and a few others did receive a copy of the Draft CSM from Dr. Thomson. I found it well-written, clear, and straightforward. I did look it over carefully and offered some small suggestions to Dr. Thomson for addition or clarification.
I haven’t seen him at any additional public meetings throughout 2018 so it is difficult to obtain the final version of the CSM. As previously stated, public consultation meetings such as TAG where the document might have been distributed is more than wanting in Elmira these past four years.
Fish In The Creek
Officials at the Ministry of Environment, West Central Region knew that all the sediment and soil testing in and around the Canagagigue Creek needed some relevance. In other words were the concentrations of DDT, dioxins/furans, and more, bioavailable to life forms in the Creek? From the 1966 and 1995-96 testing followed by the 2012 to 2016 testing of Creek bank soils, bank sediments, and flood plain soils it was obvious to all, even the most biased and dishonest, that the Canagagigue Creek was still in dire straits despite on-site Uniroyal remediation and hydraulic containment of the most contaminated groundwater. The MOE, therefore, conducted fish sampling of multiple species of fish. They tested for four different contaminants including DDT and its metabolites, namely DDE and DDD. They also tested for the expected dioxins and furans. To my surprise, MOE officials also tested for mercury and PCBs. The mercury, I assumed rightly or wrongly, might be a function of the upstream Canagagigue Creek at the Woolwich Dam. Apparently mercury found naturally in the ground can be chemically altered after being submerged and then it becomes bioavailable to various life forms in the water including fish. The finding of PCBs was even stranger to me. I had been looking carefully for PCBs either in ground or surface water samples for decades plus in the few soil samples that ever were taken and analysed. It was only in recent years that I had finally seen a soil sample on the east side of Chemtura Canada with PCBs in it. The title of the MOE’s fish sampling report was “Biomonitoring Assessment of Canagagigue Creek in Elmira, Ontario. Sediment, fish, and toxicity and bioaccumulation results from 2014-2015.” The report was dated February 2017. The short summation is that the majority of fish tissue residue samples that were taken exceeded the Toxic Residue Guidelines (TRG) of at least one of the four chemicals listed above. Carp tissues exceeded the TRG for all four chemicals albeit not in every single sample. White suckers exceeded three of the four TRG as did the common shiner, again however neither in every sample nor in every location tested in the Creek. Bluntnose minnows only exceeded one of the four TRG. Creek chub had the best results with zero exceedances of the TRG; however, they had the smallest numbers of samples tested and they only tested for three of the four contaminants and their accompanying TRG. These last two fish species amazingly were not tested downstream of the Chemtura site. This upstream and downstream testing was the whole idea with regards to testing fish in the Creek. While fish are mobile and could move back and forth from upstream to downstream of the chemical plant, in fact their mobility is somewhat restricted by the Chemtura on-site small dam, at the north end of their site, which provides cooling water for its processes as well as water for emergency firefighting requirements. Therefore, fairly direct comparisons can be made between upstream and downstream fish as the upstream fish represent fish that have not been exposed to Uniroyal/Chemtura compounds, whereas the downstream fish certainly have been exposed.
Five different fish species were examined for four different contaminants. The fish sampling locations were taken from multiple locations within the Creek. For me the locations for sampling are a big problem. I have seen many examples over the years of what I perceive to be poorly-designed research and investigations. These poor designs seem to result despite instances of the MOE or even CRA/GHD asking stakeholders to assist in developing the work plans for various studies. If authorities are sincerely trying to determine if fish are exposed to and accumulating the various persistent organic pollutants (POPs), then one would expect some common sense and consistency in sampling locations as well as in sampling parameters and even consistency in the number of samples taken per fish species and per upstream and downstream locations. In my opinion no such consistency or common sense has been exercised in this February 2017 fish sampling report.
Carp and white sucker, for example, have two different locations in the Creek from which they are sampled. The upstream location is between the Reid Woods Drive bridge and the further upstream Woolwich Reservoir. That reservoir/dam is much larger and higher than the downstream on-site Uniroyal/Chemtura dam. The downstream testing location is between the downstream end of the Chemtura property in Elmira and the first bridge downstream which is the New Jerusalem Road bridge. Hence, this sampling does not provide us any clarification as to whether or not the POPs are distributed the length of the Creek from the Chemtura property all the way downstream for the next seven to eight kilometres prior to the Creek discharging into the Grand River.
The next three species, common shiners, bluntnose minnows, and creek chub, were sampled from six different locations. Two of the locations are upstream above the Woolwich Reservoir and below the Woolwich Reservoir. The four downstream locations are 1) downstream of the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant (STP); 2) at the New Jerusalem Road bridge; 3) at the Northfield Drive (#22) bridge; and 4) at the Jigs Hollow Road bridge just outside West Montrose, Ontario. Well that is these fish species sort of share the six same sampling locations. The problem is that the data for the common shiner exists for all four downstream locations and for all four contaminants but data for all four contaminants exists at only one of the two upstream locations. It then becomes much worse. Bluntnose minnows were sampled upstream above the Woolwich Reservoir only. Literally only because they were not sampled at the other upstream location nor at any of the four downstream locations. Creek chub also were sampled only at one upstream location namely the one below the Woolwich Reservoir and also at none of the four downstream locations. I view these sampling selections as basically ridiculous. On the one occasion when I was able to ask the question why, the MOE official said that its technicians could not locate any creek chub or bluntnose minnows downstream. I find that explanation to be unbelievable and as I and every other stakeholder not appointed to TAG or RAC by Sandy Shantz and her colleagues are refused the opportunity to ask questions of the MOE or Chemtura Canada at either committee, then I’m not likely to get a better answer.
Here is what does appear obvious in the results of this study. Carp downstream of Chemtura Canada consistently have higher concentrations of DDT and metabolites as well as of dioxins than carp caught upstream of Chemtura. PCBs and mercury are less obvious and actually appear similar in concentrations up and downstream of the Chemtura site.
White sucker have higher concentrations of DDT downstream than upstream. The levels for the other three contaminants are less clear although total dioxin Toxic Equivalency Quotient (TEQ) as well is difficult to compare as there are seven downstream samples and only one upstream.
Common shiners have consistently higher downstream concentrations of three of the four contaminants at all four downstream locations than the one tested upstream. Mercury is the exception.
Data for creek chub and bluntnose minnows simply does not exist to determine any trends location- wise because they have zero downstream test results. Oddly, the dioxin TEQ value for bluntnose minnows is somewhat elevated above the TRG at the upstream location.
Generally, the larger, older, and fattier fish bioaccumulate these toxins more readily, which is why carp generally have the highest concentrations of all contaminants. What is also interesting is that higher fish predators allegedly living in the Creek were not tested. These predators would include bass and particularly northern pike. I would expect pike to have even higher concentrations of these various contaminants from their consumption of smaller, contaminated fish due to the bioaccumulation up the food chain of all four of these contaminants. Then of course is the consumption of carp, suckers, pike, and bass by other predators even further up the food chain. This could include both scavengers eating dead fish floating in the creek to predatory animals and birds catching fish in shallow areas at spawning time or other times. Some of these life forms could include herons, hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, mink, muskrat, etc.
This chapter covered the incredible discovery of, at the minimum, a blatant conflict of interest by Susan Bryant. The chapter also covered Dr. Neil Thomson’s CSM as well as a major bio-monitoring study of the Creek. The next chapter introduces Lanxess Canada, methane gas in the Bolender Park Landfill, and a new east-side Elmira Boundary Rationalization.
ENDNOTES for Chapter 23
214 Alan Marshall, “Last Evenings Public CPAC Meeting”, www.elmiraadvocate.blogspot.com ,November, 30, 2012