In our February 8, 2023 blog, we discussed the apparent trend of more environmental regulations and increasing environmental enforcement at the federal and provincial levels. Whether the data support this anticipated trend is something we will monitor. In the meantime, below, we share some recent enforcement news.
Niagara Falls Company Fine Hits Six Figures
Between a fine and victim surcharge, a chemical company in Niagara Falls, Ontario, (Cytec Canada) will pay $312,500. The fine was $250,000 and the victim surcharge was another $62,500.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP), the convictions are for permit violations associated with a discharge of phosphoric acid into the air. The concentration of phosphoric acid exceeded a standard for a specified averaging period.
The conviction was on January 12, 2023. The violations occurred between September 29, 2019 – September 30, 2019, and March 16, 2020.
According to the MECP, the allowable air emission concentration of phosphoric acid from Cytec Canada is 7 μg/m³. The September incident was reported as 19.2 μg/m³ and the March release was 12.5 μg/m³.
Cytec had a similar conviction in 2020 for incidents in 2017 and 2018.
For more information see the announcement from the Ontario Government.
British Columbia Firm Fined $16 Million
A violation of British Columbia’s Environmental Management Act has resulted in a fine of $16 million.
According to various news releases, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment has levied three administrative penalties on Teck Coal Limited. Teck Coal “failed to have water treatment facilities ready by a required date” to treat nitrate and selenium.
The Canadian Press News states, “The province’s natural resources compliance and enforcement database shows three fines were issued at the end of January, including one penalty of nearly $15.5 million as a result of the company’s failure to get its Fording River south water treatment facility operational by the December 2018 deadline in its permit.”
The other two fines, totaling nearly $1.1 million, were issued in response to exceedances of selenium and nitrate at Teck operations near Sparwood, British Columbia between 2019 and 2021. The company also says that they have invested $1.2 billion in water quality projects with plans to invest another $750 million over the next two years.
Fine for Discharge of Landfill Leachate
A settlement was reached for a 2020 incident at the Richmond Landfill (Town of Greater Napanee, Ontario) when 13,000 litres of leachate were disposed in a nearby wooded area. Waste Management of Canada was fined $120,000 (plus a victim surcharge of $30,000) and Sutcliffe Septic Services was fined $25,000 (plus a victim surcharge of $6,250).
According to reports, a contractor collected leachate from the landfill (which is closed) and intended to deposit the leachate in a storage lagoon. However, the driver was concerned about the thawing and that the truck would get stuck trying to reach the lagoon. After discussions, the Waste Management employee directed the driver to discharge the leachate on the ground.
Waste Management reported the incident to the MECP who subsequently investigated the incident.
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We will continue to monitor environmental regulatory developments as well as enforcement activity. You can sign up for our monthly environmental newsletter below.
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This blog was drafted by Alan Hahn. Alan has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and completed a graduate program in Environmental Management. He has worked in environmental management for 45 years. He has written hundreds of blogs and articles. His published work includes HazMat Magazine, BizX Magazine, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, GreenStone Partners, Manure Manager Magazine, and Progressive Dairy.
This blog was reviewed by Christopher Paré, P.Geo. Chris is a senior geoscientist and manager of Dragun’s Windsor, Ontario, office. Chris has more than 30 years of experience on projects ranging from environmental site assessments (Phase One/Two ESA), remedial investigations, soil and groundwater remediation, Permits to Take Water, Records of Site Conditions, excess soil management, vapour intrusion, and site decommissioning. Chris is a frequent speaker, author, and expert witness. See Chris’ bio.
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