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Frequently asked questions

Will LANXESS pursue the remediation work and projects Chemtura has started around its Elmira site?
Following the April 2017 acquisition of Chemtura, LANXESS assumed the liabilities and remediation efforts from contamination at the former Chemtura location in Elmira. We are committed to continuing the efforts and progress already made in this remediation work at the Elmira site, and we aim to ensure that work there is being carried out to the highest possible standards and according to all applicable rules and regulations to prevent future contamination.

What is done to mitigate the risk of future releases into the environment?
LANXESS is committed to being a responsible neighbor and community partner. This is reinforced by our commitment to the Guiding Principles of Responsible Care® and our Corporate HSEQ Policy, and is reflected by our efforts and investments into the Elmira site to improve various aspects like process safety and environmental protections. 

We recognize and acknowledge that historic waste management practices resulted in contamination of soil and groundwater on and off-site. These practices, while permissible according to regulations at that time, took place long before there was the understanding of environmental protection that we have today. However, we have actively been engaged in remediating the contamination from those past practices and continuously working to prevent  future problems.

LANXESS works collaboratively with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and all other Federal, Provincial and local environmental and safety authorities. We make a significant financial investment each year to mitigate the risk posed to the community and our neighbors from our operations, along with investments made to remediate past environmental impacts.


Is the remediation on track to meet the 2028 clean up target? If not, what can be done/changed to meet that date?

Much progress has been made over the last 20+ years in remediating the Elmira aquifer.  More than 95% mass reduction of NDMA has occurred since the start of remediation, and data indicates that we will achieve over 99% removal by 2028.  But, as we have stated to the public, we do not feel that the 2028 target will be met, due to a variety of factors, such as available technical capabilities,the low Ontario clean-up standard, the aquifer flow characteristics, and the various ways clean-up may be evaluated and defined. 

When the 30-year clean-up target was set by the government, the science of remediation was in its early days, and it has advanced tremendously since then.  We now have a global understanding that pump-and-treat technology can remove the bulk of contaminated groundwater, but the effort of getting that last bit of molecule out of the ground produces diminishing returns.  We are at a point in the remediation where there is no known scientifically available methodology to remove that last bit of contaminant from such a massive aquifer.  Furthermore, the Elmira aquifer is a precious resource that is being pumped for remediation, with the water then sent for treatment to meet drinking water standards, and then discharged into the creek – it is not being used for drinking water; In the 20th century, environmental sustainability was not the consideration that it is today. This is the beginning of an ongoing discussion between Ontario MECP, Woolwich RAC/TAG, the Region of Waterloo, and other stakeholder to re-assess the 2028 targets and determine what is best for Elmira and global sustainability.


What is LANXESS doing to comply with the MOE order to remediate past contamination?
See the “Current Remediation Projects” page of this site.


What is the “worst case scenario” for this facility? 

Various federal and provincial government regulatory authorities, as well as the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s (CIAC) Responsible Care® initiative, require subject facilities to identify a potential “worst case scenario” event, which generally is considered to be the release of a substance that would have the greatest immediate impact on the surrounding community. In the past, a release of anhydrous ammonia was considered to be the potential worst-case scenario; however, this substance is no longer stored or used at our facility. 


Similar to many other industrial facilities around the world, the current worst case scenario for the LANXESS Elmira plant is an unplanned fire. To mitigate the impact of such a scenario, LANXESS maintains an on-site fire brigade staffed with employee volunteers who are on call 24-hours a day. This on-site fire brigade maintains an emergency response/command vehicle, spill response trailer and a foam/water apparatus. The LANXESS fire brigade works closely with the Township of Woolwich (Elmira) Fire Department and with other members of the Waterloo Region Mutual Aid Association.


Elmira Facility

Production site

25 Erb Street

Elmira, ON, N3B 2J3

Phone: 519-669-1671