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.
Thursday, October 3, 2019
ELMIRA WATER WOES: THE TRIUMPH OF CORRUPTION, DECEIT, AND CITIZEN BETRAYAL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
118 ....The Public Consultation Revolution Continues
122......More Corruption Revealed
The Public Consultation Revolution Continues
May 2012 turned out to be an active month for the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) members. Early in the month we had both public support for CPAC’s Resolution regarding the 2028 groundwater cleanup as well as Chemtura’s pledge to do what was necessary to complete the cleanup by that date. On May 15, 2012 Jeff Outhit, reporter for the Record, wrote an article titled “Chemtura fined $150,000.” This fine was in regards to the September 27, 2010 BLE-25 release of four tonnes of the high temperature reaction product of diphenylamine and acetone into the air affecting approximately three hundred homes and businesses in Elmira.135 I suggest that this fine on top of the expenses the company paid to clean up its mess almost was adequate. The only remaining issues were the physical symptoms described earlier in this book for people exposed to the BLE-25 release. One can only hope that their discomfort was short-term.
Interestingly, at the end of May 2012 Chemtura finally began to express interest in a project that CPAC had been requesting for some time. While there was a written request in the July 2003 “Request For Action” from CPAC’s Soil and Water sub-committee, CPAC and UPAC (Jan. 1992-2001) had long known about dioxin and DDT contamination in the area of GP1 and GP2. Of course, as is the case with this entire cleanup, citizens were dependent on reports and data provided by Uniroyal, Crompton and Chemtura and their consultants (CRA). Further technical reports came from the West Central Region of the Ontario MOE. To say that citizens and stakeholders ever had full confidence in any of their reports and data would be ridiculous. As early as 1992, I learned that consultants to Uniroyal were expected to write reports that either put their client in a good light or that discovered less expensive ways to move them in the direction of apparent toxic cleanup. Reports that might shock or upset the general public, certainly in my experienced opinion, were not deemed as helpful to the local polluting industries, the MOE, or the local government representatives. Therefore, while we believed the reports from Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers and Associates (CRA) that identified extremely high levels of dioxins and DDT in the former gravel pits GP1 and GP2, CPAC were skeptical regarding the proposed cleanup plans. This was rightfully so. What members of CPAC and SWAT, including me failed to question more carefully was the reason why Chemtura had suddenly after all these years decided to go ahead with this project that so obviously needed doing. We were warned by CPAC member Ron Campbell that something was wrong with the notion that Chemtura was voluntarily willing to undertake what ended up being a three million dollar plus cleanup. I know that I simply assumed that the MOE was pushing and maybe even threatening a control order or some other instrument that CPAC didn’t learn until several years later from Ecojustice, was essentially unenforceable in the courts.
The initial proposal by Chemtura was to simply cap the two former gravel pits. Chemtura was always on the lookout for the cheapest remediation alternative possible. Again, CPAC should have been more skeptical when Chemtura came back to us suggesting that they would do a partial excavation of parts of GP1 plus later capping and that they would still only cap GP2. This capping was with soil and vegetation to better bury any contaminants and to reduce erosion during flood events. While that plan was certainly better than the first, CPAC held out for more. Members wanted more than the worst areas in GP1 excavated because we felt then and now that there should be no acceptable levels of dioxins left in the ground for either human or wildlife to ever be exposed to. While the data suggests that GP2 was less contaminated with dioxins and DDT than GP1, nevertheless GP2 still had these contaminants in it both above and below the appropriate criteria. Perhaps a partial excavation of GP2 could have been acceptable in conjunction with a major excavation of GP1. That idea was rejected by Chemtura thus CPAC never endorsed the cleanup of GP1 and GP2. CPAC and SWAT did agree that some cleanup was better than none but our attitude was do it right the first time and don’t leave more to be done for either future generations or future corporate iterations of Uniroyal Chemical. Partial remediation had already happened with so called cleanups on both the west and east sides of the Uniroyal Elmira site as we found contamination remaining at RPE 3 in 2009 and contamination was certainly left behind in the mid 1980s cleanouts of the western ponds RPW 5, 6, 7, and 8. Other cleanups in the mid 1980s on the east side in the areas of BAE-1, RB-1 and RB-2 also left significant contamination behind that required further work. Further excavations at RPW5 and TPW2 for DNAPLS in December 1993 had left contamination behind as well.
Of course, it wasn’t until a year or two after the 2013 remediation work was done in GP1 and GP 2 that members of CPAC and SWAT, understood that once again we had been misdirected and misled. While there was some logic and evidence pointing to GP1 and GP 2 being the repository of the overland flow of waste water from the further north, east side pits, namely RPE 1-5, I discovered evidence that the bulk of the overland flow, whether by occasional, intentional breaching of the pits as suggested by Jeff Merriman of Chemtura, or simple overflow during high useage and precipitation had been directed due to gravity flow, elsewhere. Further details of this discovery are forthcoming.
Over a year earlier, the new CPAC had been pushing Woolwich Council to get the lead out, remove the shackles and let its members get into action. Whether it was stalling, lack of confidence by the new chair, or intentional foot dragging I don’t think CPAC and SWAT ever really learned. I do know that at one point Susan Bryant suggested that it was Woolwich foot-dragging with CPAC that initiated the APT/Chemtura Committee (ACC). I have my doubts on that score. It is my belief that decades ago Uniroyal Chemical made an accommodation with Susan Bryant in exchange for a concession from her on behalf of UPAC. It seems as if there have been favours back and forth and so I expect that Uniroyal essentially promised to always agree to sit down and talk with Susan after she had made a private concession to them perhaps early on in regards to DNAPLS or some such other issue. The members of the ACC met privately on Chemtura’s property and as it was without news media or the public present, there are not any minutes of any meetings available to outsiders (i.e. non-friends or fellow travellors).
In early June 2012, CPAC members were advised that an Environmental Compliance Agreement (ECA) between Chemtura and the West Central MOE had been approved as acceptable by a peer reviewer. CPAC members were asked to give their nod of agreement by Woolwich Township and the MOE. Members were advised that this ECA was some sort of site wide conglomeration of old Certificates of Approval (C of A) and was the MOE’s new method of monitoring, controlling and supervising manufacturing facilities. Imagine our surprise when we were then advised that the ECA review had been undertaken by David Brenneman Chief Administrative Officer, of Woolwich Township. What the heck was that all about?
Turns out that Mr. Brenneman had allegedly undertaken his review in late 2010 and early 2011, after the municipal election but before Woolwich Councillors had managed to get their act together and get CPAC underway. Therefore CPAC members were in the position after the fact to give their blessing to an ECA that we knew nothing about and had zero background knowledge of. So,in fact, while Mayor Cowan and Councillor Herteis avoided getting CPAC going in a timely manner, the Woolwich CAO was doing CPAC’s work. To say that I and other CPAC/SWAT members were vastly unimpressed is putting it mildly. CPAC, under Dr. Dan Holt’s chairmanship, politely advised the MOE and the Township that CPAC members felt that any comment on this particular ECA was inappropriate so long after the fact and under the circumstances.
In late 2011, dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLS) raised their heads yet again. This practice was to be the recurring theme with the various failures of Uniroyal Chemical and their follow up entities such as Crompton and Chemtura over the decades. Major and likely expensive contamination issues were given the mushroom treatment albeit with the gloss and veneer of technical reports by professional consultants. CPAC members were kept in the dark as much as possible by the company regarding all the specific DNAPL information relevant to their existence or not in the sub-surface of the former Uniroyal site. CPAC and SWATmembers were also covered in manure via CRA doing what they’d been doing for the previous twenty years, which was attempting to dominate CPAC’s time with long- winded presentations that often were as much about wishful thinking as they were about proven science.
I presented to CPAC members my findings that dnapls had been found just west of Varnicolor Chemical one hundred feet below ground level at observation well OW57-32. Unbelievably, they had been found by Chemtura’s consultants, CRA, in 1998 and the information was NEVER brought to CPAC by either the MOE, Chemtura, or CRA. It was a shocking and abhorrent display of their combined disrespect and contempt of both CPACs past and present as well as of the public and any public consultation process. The information was in three old monthly Chemtura Progress Reports namely June, July, and September 1998. This monitoring well was located almost beside off-site pumping well W4 where the concentrations of both NDMA and chlorobenzene had always been abnormally high. By abnormally high I mean that contaminant plumes generally were highest near the source whether buried wastes or from a spill and then the concentrations decreased farther away from the source area. Oddly at and around this location, both NDMA and chlorobenzene concentrations that were decreasing as they left the former Uniroyal site were suddenly much higher. I had long suspected Varnicolor Chemical as the second source even though chlorobenzene allegedly was not found in Varnicolor’s shallow groundwater.
CRA responded to me and CPAC with formal memos in August and September 2012. It was clear to me that the truth was yet again to be a casualty of expedience and money as it had been throughout the previous twenty years. The monthly Progress Reports used the words “possibly DNAPLS”. The descriptions of their characteristics and location made the point that they were dnapls even clearer. These were free-phase dnapls found one hundred feet below ground surface where they were slowly dissolving into both the municipal upper (MU) and the municipal lower (ML) aquifers. These two are connected by a “window” as the municipal aquitard (MAT) between the two aquifers disappeared at this location.
The ramifications of free-phase, slowly dissolving DNAPLs containing chlorobenzene, NDMA, and other components being found this far off the Uniroyal site were immense. There really were only two possibilities. Either the DNAPL came from another company, such as Varnicolor or Borg Textiles, or it came from Uniroyal and had travelled several hundred metres to get there. If the DNAPLs originated from Borg or Varnicolor, then it was a separate long term source of contamination for the Elmira drinking water aquifers that would slowly dissolve and contaminate the aquifers literally for many decades to centuries depending upon the volume of DNAPL. Hence, this would under the current remediation plan, absolutely guarantee failure. The current remediation plan assumed that Uniroyal/ Chemtura was the only source and that all contamination was now contained on-site by groundwater pumping systems, separate from the off-site pumping system.
The ramifications of the alternate choice that the DNAPL had migrated from Uniroyal westward over to the area of monitoring well OW57-32 and pumping well W4 were also significant. The entire 2028 deadline was predicated on the blatant nonsense that Uniroyal and Uniroyal alone had contaminated the municipal drinking water aquifers. This nonsense had already been proven false around 2002 with the public admission that Nutrite had contributed ammonia to the drinking water aquifers. No reference was made to the fact that there was also NDMA and 2, 4-D found in shallow groundwater on the Nutrite site. NDMA had also been found on the Varnicolor site above drinking water standards, albeit at much lower concentrations than the levels found at Uniroyal. What had been conveniently ignored, however, was that dimethylamine (DMA), the precursor to NDMA, was either not tested for or the levels not published in the various groundwater reports done on the Varnicolor site. This is very significant because DMA in an acidic environment also in the presence of human or animal urine or feces such as in a sewage treatment plant or a large pig farm would produce NDMA. The high concentrations of NDMA found at OW57-32 and pumping well W4 could have been in a mixture within the DNAPL material or separately produced by the DMA from Varnicolor, having been released into the natural environment, which, according to a CH2MHILL report (1990), had previously had commercial pig operations along Howard Street and area.
The assumptions that there were no off-site sources, as in off the Uniroyal site, meant that the pumping and treatment systems on the former Uniroyal site could theoretically at least prevent new contamination from entering the Elmira aquifers. At the same time an off-site containment & treatment system existed, consisting of pumping wells W5A, W5B, W3 (later W3R), W4, and E7. These wells and their computer modelled pumping rates incorrectly assumed that all off-site contaminants were dissolved in the municipal aquifers namely MU and ML. This assumption was inherently wrong even if CRA’s and Chemtura’s assumption that there were no off-site source areas was accurate. Dr. Richard Jackson, the first chair of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) committee that started in 2015 explained that contaminants diffuse into aquitards between aquifers over time. Then, if and when those aquifers are slowly remediated, the contaminants back diffuse out of the less permeable aquitards, back into the aquifers. This process greatly increases the time required to restore the aquifers to drinking water standards because there is much more contamination to be pumped and treated then was originally calculated. More revelations from Dr. Jackson are provided in Chapter Nineteen.
The underground stratigraphy or layers of soils, clays, and gravels as provided by CRA in published stratigraphic maps indicated the possibility of DNAPL migration from Uniroyal/Chemtura not only over to the Nutrite property but actually all the way from Uniroyal, past Varnicolor, and on to the OW57-32 and W4 area. This area is actually close to the Region of Waterloo water tower on Howard Avenue in Elmira. DNAPL under pressure from a volume of DNAPL at the source area, such as a pit or pond, migrate via gravity flow through the subsurface. Essentially, the free- phase DNAPL sink through the pore spaces of fill and sand and gravel until they meet a more impervious surface such as a clay or silt aquitard. The DNAPL then flow laterally downhill under both the force of gravity as well as by the head or pressure from DNAPL pushing it along. In the case of the DNAPL found behind the Varnicolor property near the Howard Street water tower, the stratigraphic maps do show a downward slope on the surface of the aquitard making a release and migration from Uniroyal off its west side very possible. Jaimie Connolly, the hydrogeologist at the time with the MOE, incorrectly suggested that residual DNAPL left behind should have appeared in groundwater sampling with higher concentrations between the former Uniroyal site and the water tower if free- phase DNAPL had travelled that route. In fact, there weren’t many monitoring wells in that area but I believe that the one or two of the wells did show higher concentrations of chlorobenzene, one of the DNAPL chemicals involved.
This question as to whether the free phase DNAPL found behind (west) Varnicolor Chemical near the Elmira water tower is but one more example of the grotesque failure of public consultation in Elmira is clear. Yes, both the MOE and Chemtura knew that the issue had to be addressed but their position was a foregone conclusion. Whether it was major evidence of free- phase DNAPL on the Uniroyal site, which they denied, or even free phase LNAPL from Building #15 migrating eastwards towards the Creek which they confirmed, they never lacked for highly creative solutions and explanations.
In my opinion, most often these “highly creative solutions and explanations“ ended up being what I refer to as either junk science or pseudo science. Science as in religion, democracy, free speech, etc., can be perverted. Dishonest people live on the margins. They have little morals or ethics, thus grey zones in our knowledge are their playground. Grasping one or two principles of groundwater science and misapplying them is child’s play for those who wish to deceive.
Therefore, in the summer of 2012, senior officials at Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers and Associates essentially refuted its 1998 findings, and the observations and conclusions of its own staff. Their client was happy as apparently were the officials at the MOE West Central Region.
On September 28, 2012, Eric Hodgins, Regional Municipality of Waterloo hydrogeologist, made an announcement at the CPAC meeting on behalf of the Region. Eric advised that the Region had essentially permanently written off the south well field consisting of wells E7 and E9. The Region had decided that until or unless the Elmira aquifers were remediated they simply would not even consider the two south wells in its planning for Elmira’s future water supply.136 137 This decision was a shock to CPAC members and I’m sure to the public as well. The whole idea of remediating the Elmira Aquifers was that someday preferably sooner than later these two wells would once again be the source of drinking water for the residents of Elmira. The following month we learned that the new well, E10, further south of E7 and E9, was included in the formal Ontario Source Protection Plans whereas E7 and E9 were not. These Source Protection Plans arose out of recommendations following the Walkerton Inquiry that had investigated the mass poisoning of Walkerton residents in 2000 by E.Coli bacteria.
At the same meeting, George Karlos, assistant director at the time for MOE West Central Region, suggested that it might be time for the MOE to do another downstream sediment study. The last major effort had taken place in 1995/96 via the Rein Jaagumagi and Donna Bedard biological assessment of the Canagagigue Creek. Mr. Jaagumagi and Ms. Bedard were MOE employees and their efforts had been the first major effort in the Creek since the 1960s. They analysed for dioxins/furans, DDT, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, PCBs and other chemicals. They looked at fish tissue as well as contaminants in sediments and floodplain soils. They examined both the numbers and variety of organisms living in the Creek sediments. Their conclusions were that the Creek was remarkably polluted with a large variety of industrial chemicals primarily from Uniroyal Chemical and that despite greatly reduced ongoing contamination, the effects of decades of indiscriminate disposal, burial, and dumping of both liquid and solid industrial wastes had taken a terrible and ongoing toll on the natural environment. Over the next three years, the MOE West Central Region sampled and analysed primarily for dioxins/furans and DDT in and around the Creek.
The results of this sampling were not encouraging for anyone. For each sample result that appeared to be lower than samples taken seventeen years earlier, another sample would be problematic. Normally, for example, DDT breaks down into the metabolites DDD and DDE over time. DDT has been banned in Canada since 1972, and therefore, one would expect to find higher levels of DDD and DDE than DDT. Despite this fact DDT showed up in occasional samples at ridiculous concentrations including at 12,000 parts per billion (ppb) in a sample taken near the New Jerusalem Road, perhaps a mile downstream. CPAC and SWAT members including me criticized much of this sampling based on what we viewed as a “locational sampling bias”. It seemed that the higher results from 2012 and 2013 dictated the basis for the sampling locations from that point on. As the Creek is approximately five miles or more in length before it joins the Grand River, it seems bizarre to be sampling only in a handful of constantly repeating locations. After all we knew that dioxins and DDT are transported by soil sediments in the surface water of the Creek, especially during high flows. They are constantly eroded from some locations, transported downstream, and deposited in other areas. As a member of SWAT I spoke to Chemtura, CRA, and the MOE as well as submitted written concerns and criticisms to them regarding their sampling, analysis, and conclusions. The extremely low number of sampling locations failed to delineate all the probably highly contaminated areas in the Creek.
A pattern seemed to develop where months would go by with few new issues raised, only to have multiple new issues suddenly appear almost simultaneously. This pattern certainly was evident in mid to late 2012. CPAC had presented a resolution to all parties and stakeholders in May 2012 concerning what members considered to be the upcoming failure to remediate the Elmira aquifers by 2028. Chemtura, CRA, and the MOE all raised a ruckus about this resolution. They attacked CPAC’s experience, credibility, and technical knowledge in an attempt to buttress their own long-held position that everything was just fine. No need to worry, all the professionals and experts were allegedly on Chemtura’s and CRA’s side. Well, in fact, they weren’t.
In an act of unbelievable hypocrisy, all three parties made a significant announcement at a CPAC meeting on November 2012, a mere six months after the presentation of CPAC’s resolution. CPAC, the news media consisting usually only of Gail Martin of the Elmira Independent, and the public were advised … wait for it … that Conestoga Rovers team, all on their own, had determined through computer modelling and detailed analyses of years of groundwater results that the current off-site pumping regime wasn’t going to result in the Elmira aquifers achieving drinking water standards by 2028. The pump and treat method, otherwise known as hydraulic containment, either at the current pumping rates or without the assistance of some other technology just couldn’t accomplish the job anywhere close to 2028. CRA personnel looked at us as if they had just invented sliced bread. With perfectly straight faces they emphasized that they had discovered this result via intense scrutiny, scientific inquiry, and their allegedly vast hydrogeological consulting expertise. We were stunned yet again. Puffery, arrogance, smugness, self-entitlement … call it what you will … they had in spades. Of course, the partners-in-pollution all supported each other. It was a love-in.
There was more of course. CRA went to great pains to advise CPAC and SWAT that not only were they going to TRIPLE the volume of off-site groundwater being pumped and treated, but they were also going to use a technology known as in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO). Does this sound at all familiar? Yours truly had approached the former CPAC in 2009 with a detailed delegation recommending ISCO be used in Elmira, especially to lower chlorobenzene concentrations in areas of higher groundwater concentrations. ISCO had been used successfully in Cambridge, Ontario to lower groundwater concentrations of both trichloroethylene (TCE) and trichloroethane (TCA) courtesy primarily of Northstar Aerospace on Bishop Street in Cambridge. All three of these chemicals are chlorinated solvents also known as dnapls. Unsurprisingly, the former CPAC members were still smarting from the 2007 to 2008 public relations fiasco they initiated with their initial improper, illegal attempt to remove me from CPAC. Eventually, the incompetent at best Woolwich Councillors did the deed for them. I had the strong impression that the very last thing that CPAC members now wanted to do was to give any more credence to the most technically credible citizen member that they had just gotten rid of frivolously and without any legitimate cause.
Hindsight is often the true test, not promises. Chemtura managers and their fellow travellors CRA and the MOE made their brag. Now in November 2012 they promised to triple the volume of water pumped per day, per week, and per month. They promised to use a new technology to more quickly lower some of the higher chlorobenzene concentrations in the Elmira aquifers.
Jump to 2018 for a moment. Did they come through on their promises? If you, the readers, are skeptical after reading these last fourteen chapters, you have reason to be. Chemtura and its next corporate successor Lanxess have once again behaved as if they were God’s gift to both the science and art of hydrogeology as well as to Elmira. They, to date, have failed miserably. Pumping rates today are not triple what they were in 2012. The rates have not even doubled. From 2012 until 2018 they have increased their pumping rates by approximately fourteen percent. Despite this broken promise they still pretend that they are honest brokers whose word is good and that they are the victims of harsh treatment by CPAC members especially between 2011 and September 2015. I believe they feel that their expertise and professionalism should be respected and applauded based upon their words, not their actions.
More Corruption Revealed
True to his promise to set up a meeting with the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Mayor Todd Cowan did so in mid-December 2012. Three CPAC members including Dr. Dan Holt and Mayor Cowan travelled to Toronto for a meeting with Jim Bradley, once more the Minister of the Environment. Mr. Bradley had quite a history and positive reputation from his first stint as Environment Minister in the 1990s also under the provincial Liberal government of the day. Mr. Bradley was widely viewed in those days as somewhat of a progressive Liberal within the party’s ranks and he shone in the environment portfolio. Among other triumphs he had a hands-on approach and was known to assist with local cleanup projects around Toronto in which he was photographed working alongside local environmental activists. There were rumbles at the time of his facing strong opposition, however, in cabinet from his colleagues who were not amenable to the Environment Ministry expanding its share of the financial pie at the expense of other ministries. Ahh, such is politics. The meeting was a waste of time for the long beleaguered citizens of Elmira as Mr. Bradley and the MOE did absolutely nothing helpful for us.
Within three months, two other odd incidents occurred, one at a public CPAC meeting and another at the Conestoga Rovers offices in Waterloo. The November 29, 2012 CPAC meeting was a regular CPAC meeting with a number of different subjects on the agenda. Steve Quigley of CRA presented information on how CRA had developed a computer modelling tool to assist in understanding the complex hydrogeology beneath the Chemtura site in Elmira. After his presentation, there was a question and answer session in regards to the development of this computer program. Mr. Quigley at one point enlisted Susan Bryant from the gallery to acknowledge her time and efforts in assisting CRA in the development of this computerized groundwater modelling program. Ms. Bryant confirmed that she had indeed assisted in some way with the development of this program. At the time knowing Susan’s lack of technical and mathematical background, I assumed that perhaps she had written the text describing the program in some sort of reference manual for CRA employees. Obviously, this announcement and public confirmation was stunning. CPAC and SWAT were advised that CRA had been using this program for many years. That sort of begged the question as to why they were bringing it to CPAC now. The other issue was that apparently Ms. Bryant had still been a CPAC member (2000-early 2011) when she was working with CRA on this project. I was a member of CPAC from 2000 until February 2008 and I had heard nothing of her involvement nor of the program development. Dr. Regier had been a member of CPAC from the late 90s until about 2005 and he confirms that he’d heard nothing of the sort from Ms. Bryant either, privately or publicly. Finally, I recall asking Susan Bryant around 2006 when we were seriously going to take a run at CRA for their client-driven and generally hopeless technical reports. Ms. Bryant would not give me a straight answer and seemed to be hedging on both our long-time criticism of CRA. In hindsight, it is now clear to me that Ms. Bryant had a conflict of interest in regards to CRA and their long- time client, Chemtura.
As shocked as the current CPAC and SWAT members were, we all expected that this revelation would never be brought up again as it was so revealing and damaging to Ms. Bryant’s credibility as a representative of the public trying to push and cajole Chemtura into doing the right thing, environmentally. After all, the expression “sleeping with the enemy” seemed somewhat appropriate to CPAC and SWAT. If I had been shocked about a senior Chemtura employee visiting Susan Bryant’s house to help her with a cranky lawnmower as stated earlier, you can imagine how I was feeling about this revelation. Well, we were wrong about this revelation being forever buried.
At the November 2012 CPAC meeting, Steve Quigley asked whether CPAC and SWAT members had any interest in not only receiving a copy of this electronic data program (e:DAT) on a USB key but also in attending a tutorial on how to use the program. CPAC and SWAT members were all interested and a date of January 10, 2013 was set for us to appear at the CRA offices facing onto King St. in Waterloo. The tutorial included several CRA employees who proved helpful in explaining how this 3D groundwater model worked; they included Adam Loney, Kristen Todtz, and Ted Hutchinson. Surprising to me, Susan Bryant attended. I thought that odd as she was neither a CPAC nor a SWAT member and this tutorial was certainly not a public meeting. Furthermore we’d already been advised that she knew all about this program and had her own copy for some time. It just seemed bizarre yet again. At one point in the tutorial, Mr. Hutchinson or Mr. Loney, was stumped by a question and turned to Ms. Bryant to ask if she could provide clarification. Well! Susan Bryant’s reaction this time was significantly different than it had been at the November 29, 2012 CPAC meeting in which she had been almost defiant and proud of her role in working on this e:DAT. I imagine now that Steve Quigley calling on her at the CPAC meeting was done intentionally and with her prior knowledge. This calling was unexpected and the fact that it was a different, less senior CRA employee than Steve Quigley, almost gave the impression that she and her efforts were well known within CRA. Wow! One of the CPAC members present has since described “… the surprised look on her face, the stammering response as she caught her words initially, and the sheepish smile as she gave her answer to the effect that, yes, she had been involved in the development of E-DAT with CRA for a number of years and knew something of the data. The impression given was her desire for the relationship to have remained confidential.”
This quote from a CPAC member was written on April 3, 2017. I had asked CPAC and SWAT members originally in 2015 to put their recollections in writing about these two meetings regarding e:DAT and Susan Bryant. These recollections were submitted to Woolwich Council in both 2015 and 2017 as evidence that Susan Bryant had been in a serious conflict of interest position for a long time dealing with Chemtura and CRA as she endeavoured to represent both the publics’ interests as well as her own personal ones simultaneously. Ms. Bryant later claimed, in writing, that she had not been paid for her extensive work with CRA, which to my mind raises even more questions. Putting it bluntly: CRA were Chemtura’s strong right arm in beating back technical criticisms made by Woolwich citizens for decades. Why would an honest broker allegedly representing the interests of Woolwich and Elmira citizens have any private dealings with Conestoga Rovers? Woolwich Township Council in its infinite wisdom and overall concern for appropriate public consultation seemed not at all concerned with these written statements from several CPAC and SWAT members detailing inappropriate actions and behaviour by an appointee of council to this public interest committee.
The months from November 2012 to January 2013 had indeed been busy with Chemtura issues being front and centre. In Januray 2013 CPAC had been advised that Chemtura was once again facing its *Responsible Care verification that came around approximately every three years. As chair of CPAC, Dr. Dan Holt was a part of the verification team tasked with the duty of carefully examining whether or not Chemtura were living up to its responsibilities and duties in order to maintain its verification, which it had received many years earlier. Of course members of this current CPAC like many long before it had many reasons to be skeptical. Members felt confident that Dr. Dan would fairly examine the requirements for reverifying Chemtura and make the correct decision. Unfortunately, CPAC soon learned that a past CPAC and council member, Pat McLean, had also been appointed to the current verification team. Oh, yes, guess who made these appointments? Chemtura themselves primarily decided which local citizens would be added to the team designated by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) to make the reverification decision.
In regards to Pat McLean’s presence on the verification team, Richard Clausi, a SWAT team member and co-founder of the Elmira Enviromental Hazards Team (EH-Team), spoke out loudly and clearly against her appointment at the January 2013 CPAC meeting. He was not amused by Ms. McLean’s presence on the team. He, like me and the rest of CPAC, was now aware of Ms. McLean’s, extensive, long time and carefully hidden–from-CPAC association with the National Advisory Panel of the CIAC. The CIAC was formerly known as the Canadian Chemical Producers Association (CCPA). I had learned that Pat McLean was involved with the National Advisory Panel in 2009 after I was removed from CPAC. While on CPAC as a voting member and with Ms. McLean as chair, I and presumably the other members had never been advised of Ms. McLean’s CIAC role. I certainly know that Dr. Regier was unaware of Pat’s McLean’s role while he was a CPAC member until 2005. So what exactly was Ms. McLean’s CIAC role and how did she get appointed to the National Advisory Panel whose alleged purpose was to advise the CCPA/CIAC of chemical company issues affecting the public? First I speculate that she was appointed because she had been the chair of CPAC and most likely had the recommendation of Chemtura. Oh, my, that is not a good thing. After all Chemtura have always only done what’s good for themselves, not the public. Second, her role was to advise on issues facing citizens in communities hosting chemical companies. She certainly would have knowledge of the odour issues in Elmira from 1998 until 2001. She appeared to me to have little or no understanding of the groundwater issues and always seemed content to follow others on those matters.
The real issue would be the perks involved. One of those perks for a former politician would, of course, be status and prestige. She had been off Woolwich Council since 2006. Another perk was travel. I believe that there should be exactly zero perks for any member of CPAC other than doing the right thing for the public. While chairing CPAC and allegedly working in the public interest, Pat McLean was flown around North America to meetings and conventions, all expenses paid for hotel accommodations, meals and travel expense. Possibly there would also have been per diem payments as well. This is an obvious and blatant conflict of interest. I have long been appalled at politicians and others hiding behind pecuniary conflicts of interest as if those conflicts of interest are the only kind that could cause a problem for them. In fact family or employment conflicts of interest are huge. This was unacceptable that Pat McLean played this game for years without disclosing it to all stakeholders and the public and it was even more unacceptable that when Woolwich Council were given the documented evidence of this behaviour that they did nothing but deny, hide and condone it. I believe this behaviour is corruption and the guilty parties will eventually pay for it.
Dr. Dan Holt participated in all meetings of the verification team examining Chemtura’s compliance with the principles of *Responsible Care. This program was the cornerstone of the CIAC and they expected all members of the CIAC to diligently work to achieve the designation. Public outreach, public consultation, sharing of plans for worst case scenarios were all a part of this designation. Essentially, the CIAC espoused honest and regular communication between their chemical company members and the communities in which they operated. In the past when members of the EH-Team as well as some past CPAC members had questioned Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura ever achieving *Responsible Care verification; members had asked whether they should have the designation removed. The response we received from those two organizations was that it was better having Uniroyal and their later corporate entities as members trying to achieve verification, rather than to dismiss them.
Dr. Dan Holt attended what he thought was the final meeting for the verification team. The verification team members expressed their concerns that Chemtura personnel had messed up again with their failure to warn either Woolwich Township or the public immediately after the September 27, 2010 BLE-25 release. This neglect to inform was but one more in a long history of failures either to communicate promptly or accurately during a crisis or an event. Hence, Dr. Dan publicly reported to Woolwich Council that Chemtura had failed their reverification. This loss of verification had been forseen by CPAC and, based on conversations from the rest of the verification team, they all had full knowledge of the uphill battle facing Chemtura. Then, at the apparent final meeting the majority spoke against Chemtura’s reverification. Dr. Dan understood it to mean that while a formal written decision would be forthcoming from the CIAC, the decision had been made by the team and it was negative. Chemtura went ballistic. They appeared as a delegation at the next Council meeting date and attacked. They accused Dr. Dan of pre-empting the process, of substituting his personal opinion for the rest of the team, and that essentially he had spoken out of turn. Personal insults and attacks were made at the Council meeting and the inexperienced councillors were taken by surprise as was all of CPAC. Interestingly, no one from Chemtura actually said that Dr. Dan was incorrect in any of his factual statements or recollections. Something was obviously afoot.
Sure enough, the CIAC members and their vaunted verification team were finally exposed as being a sham. I had always known that Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura should never have been awarded the *Responsible Care verification. After all why should manipulators, deceivers, dissemblers, and dishonest purveyors of information ever be awarded a status which they did not deserve? *Responsible Care was all about honest communications. Citizens had never had that from Uniroyal or any of their following corporate iterations. Nevertheless, as I had never been on any of the verification teams, by corporate intent obviously, I didn’t have as much direct information about the process as we all had now. However stunningly the CIAC came back and awarded Chemtura their reverification. Chemtura clearly knew this decision when hurling their verbal assault and attack upon Dr. Dan Holt at the council meeting. CPAC members now realized the whole *Responsible Care designation was just a sham of pretend transparency and accountability. One more victory for protecting the corporate powerful and their attempts to shape public opinion to their self-serving ends.
This chapter offers an insight into what a rat’s nest CPAC actually always was and very well may always be. Even with new Woolwich Councillors who are not automatically in bed with Chemtura, it seems to me large corporate polluters do not answer to anyone they don’t want to. Chemtura managers were prepared to continue with incredible cleanup fantasies and thus create their own version of reality. They have no problem co-opting citizens or backstabbing and undermining those who do not cooperate or roll over for them.
Chapter Fifteen deals with the incredible disappearing and reappearing toxic waste gravel pits on the Chemtura site. I provide further evidence of mayoral lying and the ramifications of it, of a mayor who lies to citizens and to his own councillors in order to get his own way. A human being at his worst.
ENDNOTES for Chapter 14
135 Jeff Outhit, “Chemtura fined $150,000”, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, May 15, 2012
136 Gail Martin, “Elmira will need new wells, after groundwater restored”, Elmira Independent, October 11, 2012
137 Letter To The Editor, “Speaking the truth”, Elmira Independent, October 11, 2012