2 documentaries about Elmira’s contaminated water supply in limbo
Lanxess said it does not believe the filmmakers will provide an “objective review of the situation” or of the company’s efforts to remediate the chemical contamination, which has been linked to years of Agent Orange and DDT production at the plant.
ELMIRA — A pair of documentaries exploring the contamination of Elmira’s water supply are in limbo after the new owner of the chemical plant at the heart of the story refused to give final approval for the inclusion of an interview with a former plant employee.
The interview with Jeff Merriman, manager of environmental remediation for former owner Chemtura Corp., was filmed before the company was sold in 2017, and new owner Lanxess does not want that footage to be used.
"We need final written approval, and Lanxess doesn’t want to give written approval," said Kitchener resident Mike Heitmann, one of two local filmmakers looking to tell the story of the contamination.
The two started working together more than three years ago to make a documentary about the contamination, but they disagreed on what the scope of the film should be and decided to produce two separate films using many of the same interviews.
In an email statement to the Record, Lanxess said it does not believe the filmmakers will provide an "objective review of the situation" or of the company’s efforts to remediate the chemical contamination, which has been linked to years of Agent Orange and DDT production at the plant.
"Without written approval, footage shot on Chemtura property may not be used," the agreement stated.
Heitmann and Wagler also had Merriman sign a separate release form acknowledging the recordings would be included in the final film and become the property of the filmmakers.
A carcinogenic chemical known as nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was found in town wells, and a pipeline was built to bring water from Waterloo to Elmira.
Cleanup is expected to continue until at least 2028, the provincially mandated deadline for groundwater remediation to be complete.
CASE STUDY: Designing a reverse osmosis system for real conditions
Experts from the company presented the latest results – allowing an even better description of the separation behavior of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes under realistic application conditions – at the 3rd International Conference on Desalination using Membrane Technology, on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria from April 2-5, 2017.
Understanding complex correlations The behavior of RO membranes is determined under realistic service conditions by a large number of parameters.
In practice, not only the common salt normally used in tests is dissolved in the feed, but other salts too.
The pH and the temperature of the salt solution have, for each salt or ion, an individual influence on the success of separation.
They are also noted for their high stability even in extreme pH and temperature ranges.
The separation behavior was examined both on isolated membranes and on complete reverse osmosis elements.
Response surfaces for many application scenarios The response surfaces derived from the test series describe the behavior of the membrane with regard to individual salts or ions over the entire pH and temperature range.
The results were completely different, for example, with boron, where, in addition to the pH dependence, there was also a marked dependence of rejection on temperature.
The results allow the parameters for RO elements to be specifically selected so that optimal separation results can be obtained for the respective application.
Detailed information on the products of the LANXESS LPT business unit can also be found there.