Environmental Blog

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A 10-Second Environmental Compliance Check Up

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If you have a question about an environmental compliance issue, or would like us to address a specific environmental compliance issue in the future, contact Christopher Paré, P.Geo. at 519-948-7300, ext. 114. Environmental Compliance Tips 2020 November: Site Specific Air Quality Standard for Ontario We may be unable to meet the required air standard. Can we request a site-specific standard? The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) may allow you to submit a request for a site-specific standard. Before setting up a...

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Canadian Companies Face Environmental Enforcement in Canada and the US

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Environmental Enforcement stories tend to get attention.  Sometimes it’s an indication of a trend or enforcement initiative, or it may be that a case has reached a conclusion.  Regardless, they are usually interesting unless, of course, it hits too close to home. The two enforcement cases below couldn’t be more different.  The first case was interesting because we have been following the ongoing enforcement at dry cleaners in Canada… the second because it crosses the border and it has some interesting history. Dry Cleaner Ordered to Pay...

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Environmental Issues at Old Manufacturing Plant In Ontario

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Addressing environmental issues at old manufacturing plants that have been shuttered can be a significant undertaking.  The storage and use of chemicals and products used in decades past may have been perfectly legal and acceptable at the time.  These same practices may now be both illegal and pose human health and environmental risks. Century-Old Manufacturing Plant is Potential Source of Contamination We were reminded of these risks again recently as the closed General Motors (GM) Plant in St. Catharines, Ontario, has been identified for...

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Scientifically Valid Evidence of Oil Sand Tailings Contamination?

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According to a report in the CBC, “An environmental watchdog says it has found ‘scientifically valid evidence’ that Alberta’s oilsands tailings ponds are contaminating groundwater sources.” The group, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, did not elaborate on the specifics of this evidence in the CBC report, but the CBC report includes the 200-page report “Alberta Tailings Pond II.” One section of the report is “State of the Science in Environmental Chemical Forensics for Distinguishing Natural and Anthropogenic Sources of...

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Environmental Issues on Land and Sea

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Environmental issues on land and sea were recently in the news.  While releases to the surface are pretty familiar territory for most environmental professionals, environmental issues involving the seas are fairly rare, at least for us landlubbers. Disposal at Sea It may not be widely known that there are materials that may be legally disposed at sea, including: dredged material (e.g., from dredging operations in shipping channels), fish waste (common on the east coast), vessels, rocks, and inert/inorganic geologic matter.  No toxic or...

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How Well do You Understand Groundwater and How Contaminants Move in Groundwater?

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Contaminated groundwater can be a significant environmental challenge.  How contaminants move in the groundwater and how to address or remediate groundwater is a common topic of seminars, webinars, and articles (you can view our series of webinars on assessment and remediation of groundwater). While not an uncommon issue, few environmental professionals are fluent in their knowledge of groundwater.  Personally, my environmental undergraduate degree barely touched on groundwater, let alone groundwater contamination.  Many of my colleagues, on...

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Will This Make Hazardous Waste Reporting Easier in Ontario?

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If you are among those who have expressed your displeasure about Ontario’s Hazardous Waste Information System, or HWIN, this may be good news.  The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is proposing to change this with a new “digital reporting service.” Hazardous Waste Reporting in Ontario The MECP has issued (June 19, 2020) a discussion paper, Modernizing Hazardous Waste Reporting in Ontario.  In this document, they state, “We have heard that the current reporting service (HWIN) is difficult to use, resulting in most reports...

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U.S. Pipelines Shut Down: Will This Impact Canada?

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Recent decisions in the United States (U.S.) regarding transporting petroleum via pipelines have again opened the debate on pipelines and their potential environmental impact.  These decisions are also a reminder that legal and regulatory decisions in either country can affect their neighbours. Enbridge Line 5 For years, “Line 5” (owned by Enbridge and runs under the Straits of Mackinac) has been targeted by environmental groups as posing too great a risk to the Great Lakes.  The nearly-70-year old petroleum pipeline runs 645 miles (1,038...

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Federal Environmental Enforcement Concerns and Recent Enforcement

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In an article in early January 2020 by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), they wrote, “As the New Year approaches there are numerous environmental issues that will continue to command the attention of litigators and legislators across Canada.”  The article then lays out why it will be a busy year for environmental issues in Canada.  In closing, they state, “For these and other reasons, 2020 is shaping up to be a busy (if not intriguing) year for environmental lawyers and their clients across Canada.” While it was only written...

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The Environment, The Economy, Reporting Deadlines, and Delays

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Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic is a challenge on many fronts, not the least of which are economic recovery and environmental protection. First, an important reminder on an upcoming deadline:  the Environmental Emergency (E2) regulations. As we shared about a year ago, “In August 2019, the updated Environmental Emergency (E2 Regulations) will officially repeal and replace the existing Environmental Emergency Regulations.”  We also said that the regulations affect about 3,000 facilities across Canada. At the time we are writing this blog,...

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