Webinar: Fundamentals in Site Characterization

This series will help you plan and implement effective site characterization strategies. Webinars cover both classic methods and innovative approaches to characterize soil, groundwater and soil vapour quality. Learn how to demonstrate delineation using data supported by your conceptual site model – and then go on to plan effective remediation strategies.

·        SOIL CHARACTERIZATION – April 11 & 13

·        SOIL VAPOUR CHARACTERIZATION – April 18  & 20

·        GROUNDWATER CHARACTERIZATION – April 25 & 27

Sign up for individual topics or for entire series at the GeoEnviroPro website.

Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show – Toronto, May 2-3, 2017

Workplace Safety and Prevention Services is hosting Partners in Prevention 2017 Conference and Trade on May 2nd and 3rd.  The event will be held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.  The conference features two days of keynote speakers, cutting-edge sessions, workshops and professional development courses.  Also included is a trade show with over 410 booths highlighting the latest in market trends, workplace products and services, and interactive experiences for the health and safety professionals.

May 2 – 3, 2017
The International Centre
Mississauga, Ontario

 

“The New Workplace” is the theme of the conference.  The Partners in Prevention Conference and Trade Show is  Canada’s largest and longest-running health and safety conference and trade show.  

For the 2017 Conference, keynote speakers will include:

  • Neil Pasricha, award winning blogger and New York Times best-selling author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything – Neil Pasricha dazzles audiences with ideas and frameworks that promote happiness.
  • Curt Steinhorst, Distraction Expert – Having spent years studying the impact of tech on human behavior, Curt Steinhorst is on a mission to help today’s workforce win the battle against digital distractions.
  • Steven Page, Canadian singer, songwriter and recording artist – Having spent two decades with The Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page is now an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness.

Participants can choose from two-day, one-day and trade show only (free until April 14) registrations, as well as individual pricing for professional development courses.

For more information or to register, visit www.PartnersinPreventionConference.comor contact the WSPS Customer Care Department: toll-free at 1-877-494-9777 orcustomercare@wsps.ca.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) is a leader in providing impactful risk management solutions that drive lasting business success for our customers.  WSPS offers health and safety expertise, insight and solutions for creating healthy work environments where employees thrive and businesses prosper.  WSPS is a $43-million organization servicing 154,000 member firms.  WSPS is primarily focused on the agricultural, industrial/manufacturing and service sectors.

 

Law Moot on Legal Liabilities associated with Contaminated Sites

Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot will be held on March 4, 2017 at the Ontario Court of Appeal, Osgoode Hall, in Toronto.  The Law Moot may be of interested to professionals that deal with contaminated sites as the moot case is based on the 2015 Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Midwest Properties Ltd. v Thordarson.  This case sets an important precedent about legal liabilities associated with soil and groundwater contamination.

About the Moot

The Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot, Canada’s first national moot court competition devoted to environmental law, is a joint initiative of Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP and Osgoode Hall Law School.  The Moot competition brings together law school students, leading environmental law practitioners and judges from all levels of court across Canada.

Program—A full day event on March 4, 2017, beginning with moot rounds early in the morning, semi-final and final rounds in the afternoon, and finishing with an evening networking event and the moot awards dinner in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Convocation Hall

Schools —Law schools from coast to coast will register for the 2017 Moot

Distinguishing Feature — Students must argue both sides of the case. In the preliminary round, the students will start in their first match on one side of the argument, and then switch to the other side for their second match. This switching of sides requires students to exhibit mental agility under pressure.

The 2017 Moot Court Case

This year’s moot case is based on the 2015 Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Midwest Properties Ltd. v Thordarson. This case sets an important precedent about legal liabilities associated with soil and groundwater contamination.

Midwest Properties Ltd. and Thorco Contracting Limited own adjoining properties in an industrial area of Toronto. Thorco historically stored large volumes of petroleum hydrocarbons (“PHCs”) at its property.

Prior to its purchase of the property, Midwest obtained a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment of the property and was advised that further investigation was not required. Subsequently, Midwest discovered that PHC contamination had migrated to the Midwest property from the Thorco property. Midwest sued Thorco and Thorco’s principal, John Thordarson, relying upon three causes of action: (i) breach of Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (“EPA”) section 99(2), (ii) nuisance, and (iii) negligence.

Between 1988 and 2011, Thorco was in breach of Orders issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. In 2000, Thorco and Mr. Thordarson were convicted of offences under the EPA and a Court Order was issued requiring removal of waste. At the time of trial, the respondents were in breach of both Ministry and Court orders.

At trial, Thorco and Mr. Thordarson were unsuccessful under all causes of action.  On appeal, the Court found Thorco and Thordarson jointly and severally liable under all causes of action. Further, the Court of Appeal held that EPA section 99(2) is a separate and distinct ground of liability for polluters. The Court awarded $1.3 million in damages and $100,000 in punitive damages ($50,000 each) from Thorco and Mr. Thordarson. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied.

Opportunities within the European Hazardous Waste Management Market

A recent market report from Frost & Sullivan found that incentives to implement sustainable manufacturing practices resulted in impetus to market growth for hazardous waste management.

Communication and semiconductor technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) and radio frequency identification (RFID) are opening up vast revenue opportunities in the hazardous waste management services market in Europe.  For instance, routing software is improving cost controls, enabling industry players to adopt an aggressive pricing strategy that is creating a more competitive market.

“The deployment of smart data solutions can significantly enhance the efficiency of the collection and the treatment of hazardous waste,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environment Research Analyst Akshaya Gomatam Ramachandran.  “With effective waste minimisation at source, total hazardous waste volumes are anticipated to decrease from 72.8 million tonnes in 2016 to 66.9 million tonnes in 2021.  However, the price per ton will increase with the rising investments in technology.”

European Hazardous Waste Management Services Market is part of Frost & Sullivan’s Environment & Water Growth Partnership Subscription.  The study segments the treatment methods into recycling, thermal treatment, other hazardous waste treatment, and landfill.  It highlights the latest trends, drivers and restraints that are influencing the market, while detailing the current amount of hazardous waste generated, collected and treated in all European countries.  Related topics covered by the subscription include water and wastewater management, environmental services, water value chain, smart water meter and residential water softener solutions.

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.

Manitoulin Transport opens new terminal in Northern Ontario

Manitoulin Transport recently opened a new, larger terminal in Wawa, Ontario replacing an older facility that had limited storage.  The new facility, which sits on 1.8 acres, will be able to handle twice as many shipments as the old building, according to a company release.

“This new, larger terminal demonstrates our commitment to Wawa and surrounding areas. It also emphasizes our readiness to support businesses here as they grow,” said Jeff King, president of Manitoulin Transport, in the release.  King noted that Manitoulin transport provides “the widest direct national coverage of any provider in Canada.  This enables shipments to get to their destination without leaving our hands, minimizing the risk of damage, loss and delay.”

As a transportation and logistics solutions provider, it offers services including expedited less-than-truckload and truckload, transborder, intermodal, private fleet, guaranteed service, heavy haul, temperature-controlled, dangerous goods and supply chain management.

Bioremediation of petroleum-contaminated soil and microbial population and activity determination

Bioremediation of hydrocarbon degradation in petroleum-polluted soil is carried out by various microorganisms.  In the article, collaborating researchers from Xi’an University in China and The Ohio State University argue that little information is available for the relationships between hydrocarbon degradation rates in petroleum-contaminated soil and microbial population and activity in laboratory assay.

In their microcosm study, the researchers determined the degradation rate and efficiency of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), alkanes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in a petroleum-contaminated soil using an infrared photometer oil content analyzer and a gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

The study also involved the enumeration of the populations of TPH, alkane, and PAH degraders were by a modified most probable number (MPN) procedure, and the hydrocarbon degrading activities of these degraders were determined by the Biolog (MT2) MicroPlates assay.

The results of their investigation showed linear correlations between the TPH and alkane degradation rates and the population and activity increases of TPH and alkane degraders, but no correlation was observed between the PAH degradation rates and the PAH population and activity increases.  Petroleum hydrocarbon degrading microbial population measured by MPN was significantly correlated with metabolic activity in the Biolog assay.  The results suggest that the MPN procedure and the Biolog assay are efficient methods for assessing the rates of TPH and alkane, but not PAH, bioremediation in oil-contaminated soil in laboratory.

Bioremediation of long-term PCB-contaminated Soil

Researchers at the Academy of Sciences in the Czech Republic along with collaborators from other Universities in Europe recently released a paper that describes how white rot fungi was effective at reducing the level of PCB contamination in soil.

In addition to the efficiency in PCB removal, attention was given to other important parameters, such as changes in the toxicity and formation of PCB transformation products.  Moreover, structural shifts and dynamics of both bacterial and fungal communities were monitored using next-generation sequencing and phospholipid fatty acid analysis.

The best results were obtained with the fungus P. ostreatus, which resulted in PCB removals of 18.5, 41.3 and 50.5% from the bulk, top (surface) and rhizosphere, respectively, of dumpsite soils after 12 weeks of treatment.  Numerous transformation products were detected (hydoxylated and methoxylated PCBs, chlorobenzoates and chlorobenzyl alcohols), which indicates that both fungi were able to oxidize and decompose the aromatic moiety of PCBs in the soils.  Microbial community analysis revealed that P. ostreatus efficiently colonized the soil samples and suppressed other fungal genera.  However, the same fungus substantially stimulated bacterial taxa that encompass putative PCB degraders.

The researchers concluded that the results of their study finally demonstrated the feasibility of using this fungus for possible scaled-up bioremediation applications.

 

U.S. Company to pay $1.4M Penalty for improper hazardous waste disposal

The U.S. EPA recently issued a news release in that states that Innophos Holdings Inc.a phosphate plant in Louisiana, will pay a $1.4 million penalty for sending hazardous waste to a neighbouring plant that does not have a permit to store, treat, or dispose of hazardous waste.

The company, which is headquartered in New Jersey, issued a statement about the settlement with U.S. EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) which said that it deals with “a small number of manufacturing processes” at its Louisiana plant in the Community of Geismar.

As part of the Settlement, Innophos will pursue implementation of “Deep Well Injection” to manage its waste, a process approved by the U.S. EPA and the Louisiana DEQ by which Innophos would handle a separated co-product (referred to as “Raffinate”).  This solution allows the Company to continue its current phosphate production operation in Geismar, while satisfying the outstanding environmental concerns raised in 2008 by the U.S. EPA and the Louisiana DEQ.  The Settlement also confirms several proactive and voluntary improvements previously made to the Geismar facility to address these environmental concerns, further demonstrating the Company’s commitment to environmental stewardship at its facilities.

Kim Ann Mink, Chief Executive Officer of Innophos, commented, “We are committed to supporting our Phosphoric Acid customers’ needs and believe that the terms of this settlement position us to be able to do so by securing the long-term viability of our Geismar PPA plant.  We believe that the agreed upon solution addresses all environmental concerns with minimal effect on our business and operations.”

Innophos recently received a permit from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (“LDNR”) to begin construction of its Deep Well Injection System, which began in late 2016 and is expected to be completed by early 2018.  The Company estimates that the capital expenditure for the Deep Well Injection System will be $16 million.

Innophos is a producer of specialty ingredient solutions for the food, health, nutrition and industrial markets. Innophos has manufacturing operations across the United States, in Canada, Mexico and China.

New U.S. Requirements to Impact Hazardous Waste Generators in 2017

According to an Special Alert from the U.S. based law firm Manko, Gold, Katcher, Fox LLP (“MGKF”), the rules of the road applicable to facilities generating hazardous waste will change significantly in 2017 due to promulgation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”) of the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule, which was published in the Federal Register on November 28, 2016 (81 Fed. Reg. 85372).

The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule represents the first major overhaul of the generator regulatory program, which has evolved piecemeal since the 1980s.  The U.S. EPA has reorganized the regulations to make them easier to navigate.

This rule finalizes a much-needed update to the hazardous waste generator regulations to make the rules easier to understand, facilitate better compliance, provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed, and close important gaps in the regulations.

Two key provisions where EPA is finalizing flexibility are:

  • Allowing a hazardous waste generator to avoid increased burden of a higher generator status when generating episodic waste provided the episodic waste is properly managed; and
  • Allowing very small quantity generator (VSQG) and small quantity generators to maintain their existing generator category subject to certain conditions despite an unusual “episodic” event that would otherwise bump the facility to a higher category.

In addition to finalizing key flexibilities, the rule enhances the safety of facilities, employees, and the general public by improving hazardous waste risk communication and ensuring that emergency management requirements meet today’s needs.  These changes impact areas such as making hazardous waste determinations, managing waste in satellite and central accumulation areas, labeling containers and tanks, and developing emergency planning and preparedness procedures.

In the enforcement context, the rule distinguishes between violations of “independent requirements” applicable to facilities simply by virtue of being generators, and failures to satisfy “conditions for exemption” that allow a facility to avoid obtaining a hazardous waste permit.  Facilities found to have neglected exemption conditions – many of which (like labeling a drum) appear relatively minor on their face – could experience significant consequences if deemed to be operating without a permit.

Further, the EPA is finalizing a number of clarifications without increasing burden including a reorganization of the hazardous waste generator regulations so that all of the generator regulations are in one place.

The rule becomes effective on May 30, 2017.  States authorized to implement the hazardous waste program will be required to adopt changes in the rule that are more stringent than the current federal program, and will have the option of adopting less stringent changes.

MGKF recommends facilities take time over the next few months to become familiar with the rule and be prepared to make any necessary adjustments before regulatory agencies begin enforcing the new requirements.

Canadian Government’s proposed Asbestos Regulations

The Canadian federal government recently introduced proposed Asbestos Regulations.  It also issued a Notice to manufacturers, importers, exporters, and users of asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

Under the proposed asbestos regulations, a prohibition would be placed on all future activities respecting asbestos and asbestos-containing products, including the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, import and export.

The Canadian federal Government Notice required industry to submit information on the manufacture, import, export, and use of asbestos and products that contain asbestos.  The information gathered will be used to inform the development of the proposed regulations and will ensure that future decision making is based on the best available information.

As a first step in the consultation process, interested parties were given the opportunity to submit comments on the approach set out.  Subsequently, interested parties will also be consulted in the spring of 2017, and additional information will be available on an asbestos information web page: Interested parties will have another opportunity to make written comments specific to the regulatory proposal during the mandatory consultation period that will follow the publication of the proposed regulations in December 2017.

Asbestos (Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number (CAS RN) 1332-21-4) is a commercial term given to six naturally occurring minerals that are incombustible and separable into filaments.

Historically, asbestos was mainly used for insulating buildings and homes against cold weather and noise. It was also used for fireproofing. While many uses have been phased out and alternatives are available, asbestos may still be found in products like:

  • cement and plaster
  • industrial furnaces and heating systems
  • building insulation
  • floor and ceiling tiles
  • house siding
  • car and truck brake pads
  • vehicle transmission components, such as clutches

The Government of Canada recognizes that breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

More information about the health impacts of asbestos can be found at Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center web site.