Firm fined $975,000 for improper handling of electrical equipment containing PCBs

Tidan Inc. and seven associated companies (“Tidan Group”) recently plead guilty to 52 charges related to improper management of PCB-containing electrical equipment.  Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) and the Canadian federal PCB Regulations, companies are required to make arrangements for the safe destruction of PCBs contained in electrical equipment.

Charges were laid against Tidan Group by Environmental Canada and Climate Change (“ECCC”, the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) after an investigation officials from ECCC showed that Tiden Group had not followed environmental protection orders that had been issued and did not meets its obligations related to the use, storage, and disposal of electrical equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”).  The Tidan Group also failed to submit reports on the use and storage of its electrical equipment to the ECCC.  The offences do not relate to any spill of PCBs into the environment.

The total fine to Tidan Group was $975,000.  The offenders will also have to publish an article on the facts surrounding their violations and develop procedures to manage their contaminated electrical equipment for all their buildings.  They will also have to provide training for their managers and staff.

Tidan Group is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.  The company’s offer a portfolio of commercial office, retail, residential, mixed use and industrial properties, as well as a chain of affiliated hospitality properties located in Canada and the United States.

 

PCBs are synthetic compounds with stable chemical properties that were used mainly in electrical components until the 1970s.  Their stable chemical properties made them ideally suited for applications that required durability and resistance to heat and light.  They were never manufactured in Canada, but were widely used in throughout the country.  Although some equipment that contains PCBs remains in use, the manufacturing, processing, importing and offering for sale of PCBs have been prohibited in Canada since 1977.

The Canadian PCB Regulations, which came into effect in 2008, implement stricter deadlines on equipment containing PCBs in use and in storage in order to reduce releases of PCBs into the environment.  The PCB Regulations set specific deadlines for ending the use of PCBs in concentrations at or above 50 mg/kg, eliminating all PCBs and equipment containing PCBs currently in storage and limiting the period of time PCBs can be stored before being destroyed.  Labelling and reporting requirements are also required under the PCB Regulations as well as requirements on sound practices for the management of the remaining PCBs in use (i.e. those with content of less than 50 mg/kg), until their eventual elimination.

The fine that is collected from the Tidan Group will be paid into the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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