Innovative Application of Centrifuge Technology

Terrapure Environmental recently received an Environmental Leader Award for Product of the Year for its creative use of technology – the centrifuge – which provides its customers in the petrochemical and refinery sector with significant environmental and financial benefits.

The Environmental Leader program recognizes excellence in the environmental, sustainability and energy management fields. Terrapure’s use of centrifugation for waste management and volume reduction was awarded for its innovative ability to:

recover valuable resources such as raw minerals, oil and water;
reduce the volume of waste requiring disposal in landfills or by incineration; and
reduce costs and environmental impacts associated with transportation and disposal of waste.

Modern centrifuge technology is not new but Terrapure’s application in waste management is innovative and useful. Terrapure uses centrifugation to actively separate different components within a waste stream. Many of the recovered by-products from this process, such as hydrocarbons and water, can go back to customers for re-use at their facilities, encouraging a cycle of recycling and re-using.

“Traditionally, environmental companies serving the petrochemical and refineries sector prioritize transporting large volumes of waste for disposal at an incinerator or a landfill, without considering more sustainable solutions,” said Todd Smith, Vice President of Environmental Solutions for Central Canada, Terrapure Environmental. “It’s gratifying to be recognized for finding cost-effective solutions that improve operating performance and minimize environmental impact for our forward-thinking customers in the sector.”

Terrapure operates centrifuges of varying sizes that can process anywhere from 5,000 to 300,000 litres of material per hour. On average, Terrapure can reduce solid-liquid and liquid-liquid waste volumes by 65 to 85 percent, while recovering the valuable oil and water components for reuse.

While the caliber of entries was exceptionally high this year, judges agreed that Terrapure’s use of technology was particularly notable. As one judge explained, “while centrifuge technology is not a new concept, Terrapure’s application is very innovative.” For more information on the Environmental Leader Awards, visit https://www.environmentalleader.com/environmental-leader-product-project-awards-2017/.

Marketing Opportunities in Hazmat Magazine

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CBN Brownfields Conference – June 15th 2017

FIND OUT HOW BROWNFIELDS ARE DEFINING URBAN PLANNING!WHAT’S NEW – WHAT’S NEXT – WHAT’S NECESSARY

 

Discover the Impact of NEW Technologies
Get Updates on NEW Provincial Regulations
Hear NEW Perspectives from Professionals
Network with NEW>/u> Practitioners

Featured Speakers
Featured Speakers

                                        

Christopher De Sousa, Professor and Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University
Bruce Tunnicliffe, President of Vertex Environmental Inc.
Stephanie Bohdanow, Knowledge Services Advisor at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund
Yvo M. M. Veenis, Hydrogeologist and co-owner and Director of Groundwater Technology (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Karen St. Martin, Chief Administrative Office, Town of Mayerthorpe

Program

Time Session Title
7:30 AM CBN Annual General
Learn about the programs and initiatives undertaken by the CBN this past year and where the organization is heading in the year to come.
8:30 AM Keynote
Speaker: Ken Greenberg
Brownfields play an active role in the ongoing redefinition/reinvention of cities – truly, “Brownfields: the Next Generation”. Learn how the opportunities and constraints of brownfields help create new, more dynamic models for city building
9:00 AM Cross-Country Check-Up
Speakers: Alan McCammon (BC), Lisa Fairweather (Alberta), Mathieu Laporte Saumure (Quebec) and Dean Therrien (Ontario)
Coping with an evolving regulatory environment doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration – join our panelists as they guide you through the latest changes in the regulatory landscape.
10:30 AM Networking Break
11:00 AM Research You Can Use
Speakers: Chris de Sousa, Reanne Ridsdale (Ryerson University), Brent Sleep, Paul Furbacher (U of T)
This interactive session features a discussion of the latest research on brownfields policy, redevelopment and remediation science. At the conclusion of the presentation, you’ll have an opportunity to recommend and prioritize future research areas – research YOU can use in the next generation of brownfields!
11:45 AM Legal Update
Speakers: Janet Bobechko (Norton Rose Fulbright LLP)
It isn’t only regulations that evolve; case law moves at an even faster pace! Join this discussion of recent and important changes in the interpretation of the law that will affect brownfields practice in the near future.
12:15 PM Networking Lunch
1:00 PM Municipal Innovations
Speakers: Meggen Janes (CH2M), Karen St. Martin (Town of Mayerthorpe), Stephanie Bohdanow (FCM) – moderator
As brownfield redevelopment benefits, barriers and regulations become more broadly understood by local government bodies, we’re seeing an increasing number of innovative policies, programs and projects emerge across Canada. In this session, panelists will discuss various approaches being used to catalyze and accelerate the brownfield redevelopment process at the local level.
2:00 PM Emerging Technology: The Evolution of Innovation in Land Revitalization
Speakers: Bruce Tunnicliffe (Vertex), Diana Saccone (ERIS), Todd McAlary (Geosyntec), Yvo Veenis (Groundwater Technology) and Jean Pare (Chemco)
This session provides a series of short, highly condensed presentations packed with information on new and emerging technologies that may influence current approaches to brownfield redevelopment – tools that can help you move into the next generation.
3:30 PM Networking Lunch
4:00 PM Award Winning Projects – Where Are They Now?
Speakers: Hammarby Stockholm (Doug Webber (WSP)) and Brantford Sydenham Pearl (Joshua Schram (Brantford) and Ed Taves (CH2M)
This session will present updates on two Brownie Award-winning projects: Brantford’s Sydenham Pearl and Hammarby Sjostad (Stockholm, Sweden), so you can catch up on the progress both have made as they turn former brownfields into important parts of their communities – the current generation becomes the next generation!
5:00 PM HUB Awards
Join us as we celebrate individual excellence in brownfields through the presentation of the 2nd Annual HUB Awards. Who will be acknowledged?
5:30 PM Networking Reception at Joey Restaurant
1 Dundas Street West

Keynote Speaker:

Ken Greenberg

 

 

 

Renowned urban expert Ken Greenberg will open the conference with a discussion of how repurposing obsolescent lands is helping to create new models for city building.

Ken Greenberg is an urban designer, teacher, writer, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto and Principal of Greenberg Consultants. For over four decades he has played a pivotal role on public and private assignments in urban settings throughout North America and Europe, focusing on the rejuvenation of downtowns, waterfronts, neighborhoods and on campus master planning, regional growth management, and new community planning. Cities as diverse as Toronto, Hartford, Amsterdam, New York, Boston, Montréal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, St. Louis, Washington DC, Paris, Detroit, Saint Paul and San Juan Puerto Rico have benefited from his advocacy and passion for restoring the vitality, relevance and sustainability of the public realm in urban life. In each city, with each project, his strategic, consensus-building approach has led to coordinated planning and a renewed focus on urban design. He is the recipient of the 2010 American Institute of Architects Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Design Excellence and the 2014 Sustainable Buildings Canada Lifetime Achievement Award. Involved in many grass roots and community initiatives he is a Board Member of Park People, a non-profit dedicated to the improvement of Toronto’s parks. He currently teaches at the University of Toronto where he an Adjunct Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. He is also a co-founder and a Visiting Scholar at the new City Building Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto. A frequent writer for periodicals, he is the author of Walking Home: the Life and Lessons of a City Builder published by Random House. His current major project is as urban design lead and client representative for Project: Under the Gardiner in Toronto.

The conference will close with a networking cocktail and the second annual HUB Awards, a celebration of today’s brownfield redevelopment leaders.

Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to learn from and network with Canada’s most engaged “brownfielders”.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION INFORMATION

THURSDAY, JUNE 15TH 2017

Early Bird Rate (by May 15, 2017)

CBN Members $399.00 +HST
Partner Member $399.00 +HST
CBN Student $129.00 +HST
Non-Member Conference + Special Membership Rate $650.00 +HST
Non Members $499.00 +HST
Downloadable registration form to print, fill and fax
Register Online
Thank you to all of our current sponsors!

SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION

Be a part of the only National Brownfields-focused conference in Canada!

You are sure to be visible to key stakeholders with ample opportunities at all budgets!

Sponsorships are available at every price point, each with great visibility!

Sponsorship Opportunities

Ontario Environment Ministry Issues Drafts Order for company to investigate mercury contamination

The Ontario government recently issued a Draft Order for preventative measures to the Domtar paper mill.  The draft Order requires the Paper Mill, located in Dryden Ontario, to study the mercury contamination on its property that was deposited by a previous owner.

History of the Mercury Contamination

The origin of the mercury contamination at the site is from Reed Ltd. that operated a chlor-alkali plant at the Dryden property from 1962 to 1975 the used mercury in a process to generate chlorine and sodium hydroxide to bleach pulp. During this period of operation sewage and waste water from the site, including the chlor-alkali plant, was discharged to an effluent ditch located parallel to the Wabigoon River. This effluent ditch also served as a settlement basin. Effluent discharged through a culvert at the north end directly to the Wabigoon River.

From 1963 to 1970 approximately 10 metric tonnes of mercury were discharged into the Wabigoon River through the effluent ditch. The quantity of mercury discharged from the plant was reduced by 99 percent by 1970 and operation of the plant was terminated in 1975.

The discharges from the plant affected aquatic life in the Wabigoon and English Rivers. In 1971 Ontario suspended the commercial fishing licences for walleye, pike and sauger for the Wabigoon and English river systems due to the elevated levels of mercury in fish.

Studies by the federal and provincial governments were conducted in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the Wabigoon River to determine the location and the extent of mercury contamination. A joint federal-provincial report from 1983 titled “Mercury Pollution in the Wabigoon-English River System of Northwestern Ontario, and Possible Remediation Measures” in relation to studies conducted in 1973, 1976 and 1979 by the Ministry, provided that mercury levels in fish in the Wabigoon English River system all the way to the Manitoba border were elevated above the limit of 0.5 ppm set by the Canada Food and Drug Directorate for edible fish marketed in Canada.

Further studies of mercury contamination on the surrounding environment were conducted in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s.

In March 2016 a report entitled “Advice on Mercury Remediation Options for the Wabigoon-English River System, Final Report” prepared for Grassy Narrows by Rudd et al. concluded more study was needed to determine if mercury releases were still occurring from the former chlor-alkali facility or if the mercury- contaminated river sediments are moving downstream.

Details of the Order

An Order under section 18 of the Ontario Environmental Protection Act, requires a company or individual to do the following:

(a) prevent or reduce the risk of a discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment from the undertaking or property; or

(b) prevent, decrease or eliminate an adverse effect that may result from

(i) the discharge of a contaminant from the undertaking, or

(ii) the presence or discharge of a contaminant in, on or under the property.

The proposed requirements in the draft order issued to Domtar by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change include:

  • The development and implementation of a work plan to assess groundwater and soil on the mill site, and surface water and sediment within the Wabigoon River adjacent to the site for the purposes of determining if mercury is discharging from the site to the Wabigoon River.
    • The assessment must include the installation and sampling of monitoring wells along the shoreline and a geophysical survey of the shoreline area. Samples will be analysed for total mercury, methyl mercury and chloride.
  • The provision of opportunities for area First Nation communities and other affected members of the public to be engaged in the development and implementation of the work plan, including making the progress reports and final report readily available to First Nations and members of the public who may be affected by a discharge of mercury from the site.
  • Upon the completion of the assessment, Domtar Inc. is required to provide a final report to the ministry detailing whether mercury is coming from the land portion of the mill site, or present in sediments within the Wabigoon River portion of the site, and whether mercury has the potential to impact downstream water and sediment quality, and mercury concentrations in fish. Recommendations for further investigation and any necessary remedial measures necessary are also required.
  • The order includes timelines to ensure work is conducted in a timely manner.

Domtar Inc. conducted sampling from groundwater monitoring wells on the mill site and provided analysis in December 2016.  The results indicated an elevated level of mercury in one groundwater monitoring well. All other wells were within provincial standards.

Accordingly, the work required by the order is necessary and implements a science-based approach to determine if there is an ongoing source of mercury from the mill property with the potential to impact the Wabigoon River.

If there is evidence that the Dryden mill site is an ongoing source of mercury, then measures to prevent further mercury from entering the river, and how those measures are to be implemented, will be assessed. This may include future orders.

Revitalization Plan of Mississauga’s Brownfield on its Waterfront

As reported by Insauga.com, plans are underway to turn 73-acre site on Mississauga, Ontario’s waterfront into a mixture of residential homes, offices, and a college campus.

A consortium of developers, West Village Partners closed a deal to develop the brownfield site and has prepared a draft plan for revitalization.

The 73-acre site stretches from Lakeshore Rd. W. to the lakefront and Pine Ave. to Mississauga Rd. It was the former site of a brickworks until 1932, and an oil refinery owned by Texaco until the mid-1980s before being bought by Imperial Oil. The land sat idle for years and residents wondered what would be done with it.

The City of Mississauga reached out to residents for ideas and in 2015 released Inspiration Port Credit, a report which called for the site to be revitalized as “a lakefront urban neighbourhood of landscapes, meeting places, living, working, and drawing people to the water’s edge to play.” Living, of course, means the plan includes residential buildings. The plan, we now know in concrete terms, includes about 2,500 housing units ranging from townhomes to mid- and high-rises. But it’s not just a simple matter of building the homes.

Environmental remediation, paid for by WVP, is being carried out in order to make the site a safe place to live.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC)is heavily involved in the remediation process, which occurs in two key phases.

In phase one, qualified environmental consultants prepare a record of site condition.  In layman’s terms, the first step is to examine the development site and make note of any potential contaminating activity or other environmental concern that requires moving on to phase two.

In phase two, the qualified consultants find where the contaminants are and take action to reduce them to standard levels or those set by a risk assessment. A risk assessment looks at potential health risks to people and the overall environment of developing a given area. When redeveloping a former industrial site for more sensitive uses such as a residential area, this phase is mandatory.

One of the companies within the WVP consortium is Kilmer Group, a company which invests in and leads environmental risk management and development projects, including brownfield cleanup.

Brownfield is defined as “vacant or underutilized places where past industrial or commercial activities may have left contamination (chemical pollution) behind.”

David Harper, president of Kilmer-Brownfield and a leader in the Canadian Brownfield Network (CBN), is responsible for environmental risk management with Kilmer Group. He is a specialist in remediation and risk management who has consulted on over 200 brownfield projects.

Harper says it’s important to understand that the project is still in early stages, with the draft plan just submitted Monday. There’s a long road ahead. Kilmer Group will be in touch with stakeholders as that work moves forward, he said.

“We’ll be working with the Ministry of Environment, as well as the City of Mississauga, as well as the community on various steps during … the remediation. There’s a lot of third-party involvement.”

Imperial Oil, as the former owner of the site, has also provided crucial information.

“In the negotiation for the land, the former owners did exhaustive … environmental assessments. That information was provided to us in the purchase process for the property,” Harper said.

The information is extensive, including groundwater and soil quality. The primary concern, confirmed by information from the previous owner of the site, is petroleum hydrocarbons, which Harper expected to find on the site of a decommissioned oil refinery.

statement by Imperial Oil in 2014 said, after a year-long environmental assessment:

The [assessment] concluded that there are no physical site conditions which would prohibit redevelopment for commercial, medium and/or high density residential, and open space uses, but at a higher cost than a similar greenfield property.

Imperial Oil found no groundwater contamination that would pose a risk to surrounding lands or Lake Ontario.

Environmental consultants sorted through the information for Kilmer Group and designed a remedial approach for the site. That approach, though, will still be getting input from city officials and residents in Mississauga. “It by no means is final right now,” Harper said.

“What it identified [is] most of the impact on the site related to petroleum hydrocarbons was in the near-surface environment … the upper three metres of the site. Much of our development plan will take place in that upper three meters. There’s significant overlap between the materials that need to be moved for development and those that are impacted by the former use.”

In other words, remediation and redevelopment overlap, but remediation comes first. “There are areas of the site that were more impacted than others [by] former operations. That’s the focus of the remediation. Other [areas] will be dealt with through construction.”

The itinerary for now is to focus on that site assessment and remediation.

“We’ve been doing this now for more than 10 years. We use different technologies for different approaches. We haven’t yet determined all the technical components of our remediation approach at this time. ”

The development itself, he said, could take 10 years.

“We have been in the community talking about this stuff. There will be more engagement to come as we get into the site over the coming months with planning approvals.”

WVP expects to have an application prepared for the planning and development committee in very soon.

Characterization and Treatment of Heavy Metals at Mining Sites

At the May 2017 meeting of the Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (FRTR), the focus of discussions was on the characterization and treatment of heavy metals and mining sites.  A webinar series will be hosted this summer based on some of the topics covered at this meeting including risk assessment, biochemical and biogeochemical remediation treatments, modelling techniques, and the use of unmanned aircraft systems for biological surveying. Meeting materials and additional information can be found at https://frtr.gov/meetings.htm.

Click here to view/download the meeting’s agenda and presentations.

FRTR member-agencies meet semi-annually, usually in the Washington, DC, area.  These meetings offer a unique opportunity for federal cleanup program managers and other remediation community representatives to identify and discuss priority cleanup issues, share lessons learned, and form collaborative working groups to pursue subjects of mutual interest.

What To Do If You Find An Underground Fuel Oil Tank In Your Backyard

Fuel oil leaks from underground storage tanks (“USTs”) into the soil and groundwater can result in environmental damage and significant costs to homeowners. Property owners should be proactive in addressing a UST upon discovery to minimize liability for potential damage arising from a UST.

Prior to the 1970s, fuel oil stored in USTs was a common method of heating homes and businesses in Ontario. In the 1970s, many property owners switched to natural gas as a heating source.1 Frequently, USTs were left in the ground, unbeknownst to subsequent property owners.

Property owners in Ontario are responsible for any USTs on their properties, whether the owner installed the UST or not. This responsibility may extend to investigating impacts arising from leaks or spills of fuel oil, as well as remediating resulting impacts to soil and groundwater.

Property owners should be aware of the significant consequences that may arise from a leaking UST, including

reduced property value
the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (“TSSA”) may require delineation and/or clean up of environmental impacts to soil and groundwater
regulatory action from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”) where contamination migrates off-site, including prosecutions and Orders, and
lawsuits from neighbours if fuel oil migrates to neighbours’ lands.

So You Found A Tank. Now What?

If you discover a UST, you need to be diligent, take action and assemble your environmental team.

Consider retaining an environmental lawyer before taking any steps.

An experienced environmental lawyer will be able to assist you to retain, under legal privilege, a reputable environmental consultant to investigate and make recommendations about the UST and possible impacts to the subsurface.2

The environmental lawyer will also assist you to understand your legal obligations. There are various regulatory requirements that apply to both USTs and aboveground storage tanks, including the CSA-B139 Series-15 Installation Code for Oil-Burning Equipment, 2015, the TSSA’s Fuel Oil Code Adoption Document Amendment FS-219-16 dated April 4, 2016, and O Reg 213/01: Fuel Oil.3

Depending on the size of the UST, the regulatory requirements for small or large installations may be applicable. Age may also be an important consideration.

In the event that fuel oil from a UST has impacted your property or properties beyond, the environmental lawyer can assist you in determining next steps and explaining the legal risks and liabilities that you may face (including civil lawsuits and/or regulatory action by the TSSA, MOECC or others).

With the right environmental team, you can successfully navigate and mitigate the risks and liabilities associated with USTs.

Footnotes

1 “Evolution of Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry”, online http://www.energybc.ca/cache/oil/www.centreforenergy.com/shopping/uploads/122.pdf

2 The environmental consultant must be a Qualified Person, and only a licensed tank contractor may remove a UST. See Environmental Management Protocol for Fuel Handling Sites in Ontario TSSA EMP-2012, August 2012, s 4, and O Reg. 213/01: Fuel Oil, s 4.

3 O Reg. 213/01: Fuel Oil under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 16.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Contractor fined $600,000 for Discharging Sediment into Adjacent Streams

2280577 Ontario Inc. (formerly Naylor Renewable Energy Inc.) recently pleaded guilty to three offences and was fined $600,000 for causing or permitting the discharge of sediment-laden stormwater and impairing the quality of the water, failing to notify the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) of the discharge, and failing to employ best management practices for stormwater management, sediment and erosion control as required by the ministry approval, contrary to the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

In May 2012, the ministry issued a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) authorizing the construction of a 10 megawatt solar farm known as the Hamilton Solar Facility (HSF) located in Hamilton Township.

As a result of contractual arrangements between the REA holder and various companies, 2280577 Ontario Inc. assumed the primary responsibility to implement and monitor the measures as stipulated in the stormwater management, erosion and sediment control plan, as required by the REA.

Construction of the HSF site began in 2013 and continued beyond 2014.

In late March 2014, ministry staff responded to a complaint by inspecting the HSF site. Ministry staff observed that the erosion and sediment control measures were inadequate.

2280577 Ontario Inc. was advised that stormwater and erosion controls must be enhanced, a sediment control inspection program must be established and implemented, and that any spills or discharges must be reported to the ministry.

On April 2, 2014, in response to a further complaint and to determine whether mitigation measures had been successfully implemented, ministry staff conducted another inspection at the HSF site. At that time, ministry staff observed inadequate or improperly maintained erosion and sediment control measures that permitted the discharge of sediment-laden water to nearby streams.

Ministry staff observed that snow melt flow was discharging silt-laden water directly into a tributary of Brook Creek and across a farmer’s field to a culvert that connects to the tributary of Baltimore Creek.

Further inspections on April 29, 2014 and June 11, 2014 observed turbid, silt-laden water again being discharged from the HSF site into the two tributaries, with water samples indicating that the concentration of suspended solids were greatly elevated at the site and downstream.

Based on the information collected during these inspections, a ministry Surface Water Scientist concluded that the discharges of sediment-laden water from the HSF site caused the impairment of the headwaters of both creek tributaries a distance of approximately 2 km in Brook Creek Tributary and approximately 4 km in the Tributary of Baltimore Creek.

The ministry investigation determined that the erosion and sediment control measures installed by the company were insufficient or inadequate to prevent the discharges from occurring.

It was also determined that the discharge that occurred April 2, 2014 was not reported by 2280577 Ontario Inc. to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre (SAC), as required by the Act.

In addition, the investigation concluded that 2280577 Ontario Inc. did not comply with the Construction Plan Report submitted in support of the REA application, and that best management practices for stormwater management, sediment and erosion control were not employed, which contravened the ministry approval.

On May 15, 2017, 2280577 Ontario Inc. was convicted of three offences, was fined $600,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $150,000 and was given 30 days to pay the fine.

 

Two Spills Reported at Dakota Access Pipeline

As reported in Care2, The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) may not be in full operation, but it’s already making experienced spill incidents.

It recently came to light that the unfinished oil pipeline experienced two new oil spills. The two separate spills — one on March 3 and the other on March 5 — leaked over 100 gallons, contaminating soil and snow in North Dakota.

While these spills are quite small — as far as pipeline leaks go — they remain deeply troubling.

Care2 recently reported that DAPL leaked 84 gallons of oil in April. And while all three spills, according to officials, have been effectively contained and cleaned up, it is difficult to imagine that the frequency of such events will diminish or decrease in severity once the project goes into full operation.

Those involved in DAPL’s construction and the mitigation of these oil spills, however, appear to be fully aware of this fact.  In a statement on the April spill, the company leading DAPL’s construction claimed clean up was conducted “as designed.”

Keystone XL, another oil pipeline whose construction inspired a great deal of opposition, spilled 540,000 gallons last year.

Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL have long argued that oil spills are inevitable, endangering local wildlife and putting natural water systems at risk.  Given what we have so far seen — and coupled with officials’ admittance to the eventuality of spills — there seems to be little justification for the continued push to build and use these massive new pipelines.

Part of the problem comes from the type of oil involved. Both DAPL and KXL transport diluted bitumen – sometimes shortened as “dilbit” — a particular type of heavy oil that is produced from mined tar sands in Canada.  Compared to crude oil, dilbit is especially corrosive to pipelines.

This is not new information by any means, yet the narrative pushed by proponents of DAPL and KXL is that older, deteriorating pipelines cause corrosion.  While this certainly plays a role in other pipeline oil spills, it does not acknowledge the hazards of pumping dilbit — and does not explain why these new pipelines are already having oil leaks.

Litigation against the construction of DAPL, brought by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is ongoing.  But as more spills are exposed, they lend greater credence to the tribe’s concerns.

US PMSA Raises Fines for Federal Hazmat Transportation Violations

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently announced increases in the maximum and minimum civil penalties for knowing violations of the federal hazardous materials transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law. The penalty increases took effect last month.

U.S. PHMSA officials said the penalty increases were called for by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990. Agencies were required to update their civil monetary penalties in August 2016 through an interim final rulemaking. PHMSA has elected to do the 2017 update in a final rulemaking.

The rulemaking revises the maximum civil penalty from $77,114 to $78,376 for a person who knowingly violates the federal hazardous materials transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law.

The maximum civil penalty increases from $179,933 to $182,877 for a person who knowingly violates the federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property.

For violations related to training, the minimum penalty amount increases from $463 to $471.