A Fine From a Release, A “Scary” Release, and Potential Regulation of Releases

Posted by on Oct 15, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

If you are in charge of environmental management, then no one needs to tell you that it can be complex and even frustrating. It requires knowing which regulations apply to your facilities, training your employees so they don’t unknowingly violate the regulations, and keeping a watchful eye on developing regulations.

The three updates below provide us with a reminder of why environmental managers must not only develop and implement good internal policies, but why they also need to keep a good pulse on developing regulations.

$50,000 Fine in Nunavut

A Canadian mine based in Nunavut was recently on the enforcement end of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

According to the news release from ECCC, “On October 2, 2019, TMAC Resources Inc. was ordered to pay $50,000, in the Nunavut Court of Justice, after pleading guilty to one offence under the Fisheries Act, in violation of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. The total fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.”

The fine stemmed from a 2015 effluent release into Doris Creek that did not meet “regulatory requirements.” The regulatory requirements under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation allow discharges but require collecting, testing, and reporting results. According to ECCC, “TMAC Resources Inc. failed to meet all of these conditions and was not authorized to discharge effluent from the site.”

We don’t know the specifics of the incident, but we often remind our clients that developing a plan or policy is the relatively easy part.  However, implementing the plan is far more challenging.

Dust Cloud in Hamilton: “Scary Stuff”

The demolition of an old building on Sherman Ave in Hamilton, Ontario, resulted in a black plume of dust that Environmental Hamilton said in a tweet was “scary stuff.”

On October 1, 2019, the CBC reported, “Environment Hamilton is raising concerns about health effects from a building demolition on the former site of the Hamilton Specialty Bar and Slater Steel on Monday that produced a dark plume of dust and debris.”

Photo Credit: Environment Hamilton (@EnvHamilton) | Twitter

Reports state that the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) collected samples.  The MECP is also seeking copies of the demolition approvals from the City and Ontario’s Labour Ministry.

The Hamilton Spectator reports, “The demolition was part of four demolition permits issued by the City in May for 319 Sherman Ave. N., the former site of Hamilton Specialty Bar and Slater Steel.”  They also report, “According to the city, the demolition contractor and a consulting engineer are responsible for monitoring the demolition.”

It will be worth watching this story develop to see how this event occurred in today’s relatively-strict regulatory environment.

Regulating Formaldehyde Emissions

Finally, we’ll revisit an issue we discussed two years ago relating to the push to regulate formaldehyde from wood products.  As we reported in our 2017 blog, ECCC published a notice in the Canada Gazette of intent to develop regulations on formaldehyde.

As reported in Chemical Watch, “The Canadian government has proposed regulating formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products in an effort to protect human health and align the country’s policies with those of the US.”  Chemical Watch also stated, “At present, Canada does not impose limits on formaldehyde content or emissions for composite wood products.  And while voluntary standards already exist, government testing has indicated that some imported products exceed these levels.”

In a Press Release, Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) stated, “After a review of the proposed regulations in relation to (United States) TSCA Title VI, WDMA has raised significant concerns with proposed Canadian provisions that are not consistent with TSCA Title VI.  Those include provisions for labeling and recordkeeping, as well as requirements for highly-detailed reports on a manufacturer’s production and sale of composite wood products covered by the regulations to be submitted to the Canadian government on an annual basis.”

It is unclear when the regulations will be finalized, but once they are, they will become effective six months after publication.

Do you need help with an environmental issue?  Dragun Corporation has an over-30-year track record of helping our clients with environmental issues, small and large.  If you would like to have a conversation or a meeting, please contact me at 519-979-7300, Ext. 114.

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