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 hazardous material can be dumped in the sea. This activity is regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the requirements for disposal at sea are “strict.” See Disposal at Sea Regulations.
Disposal at Sea Violation
On August 19, 2020, Seleine Mines, a division of K+S Windsor Salt Ltd., was fined $400,000 after pleading guilty to four counts of violating subsection 125(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
According to ECCC, “An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers revealed that the company had disposed of dredged material on four occasions between August 10 and 14, 2014, outside of the disposal area authorized by the disposal at sea permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada.”
The disposal of the dredged material at sea was not the violation; rather, it was about where this material was disposed in the sea. This, as it turns out, was an expensive mistake.
For more information about this regulation works, see this short video, Disposal at Sea, by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Release of Chlorinated Compounds
An ongoing groundwater contamination issue in Cornwall, Ontario, is getting some attention. According to reports, for several years, groundwater has been monitored in two different groundwater plumes from a landfill that was closed in 1971. The contaminants include 1,1-dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE) and vinyl chloride.
The problem now, according to Cornwall Newswatch, is “One of two groundwater plumes of cancer-causing chemicals from a former waste site on the Courtaulds property has crept closer to the Cornwall Fire Services station on Second Street East, city council learned Monday.” The vapours from the groundwater plume pose a potential risk to individuals in the Fire Station.
The owner of the property, Nouryon Chemicals, hired a consultant to develop a remediation plan. The goal is to protect firefighters and the station from potential exposure from the vapours (see our video that provides an introduction to vapour intrusion).
The remediation effort is scheduled to begin in January 2021 and will use multiple remediation technologies to address the contamination. The consultant said the remediation would be completed in five years.
If you would like to learn about the specific environmental remediation plans, see the City of Cornwall Council Meeting Notes.
To learn more about environmental assessments, environmental remediation, or vapour intrusion, see Dragun’s educational videos on our YouTube page.
If you need immediate help with an environmental issue, contact me (email@example.com).
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