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Chemical Spill by Quebec Mining Company results in $350,000 Fine

Breakwater Resources Limited, which operates the Langlois Mine, recently pleaded guilty in the Val‑d’Or, Quebec courthouse to one count of violating the Fisheries Act. The company was fined $350,000.

The incident that lead to the eventual fine occurred on February 28th, 2018.  A 500-litre spill of flocculent from the Langlois mining site in Lebel‑sur‑Quévillon resulted in a discharge of acutely lethal effluent into the Wedding River. The discharge of acutely lethal effluent into water frequented by fish is a violation of subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

The Langlois mine is located is located in the James Bay Territories, in northwest Québec, approximately 50 km north east of the town of Lebel-SurQuévillon and 213 km north of Val-d’Or.  The mine produces zinc and copper concentrates with lesser values of silver and gold by-products.

In October 2019, the mine’s owner announced it putting the mine down on “care and maintenance”, effectively shutting down production. The company said that rock conditions at the mine have deteriorated to the point that continued mining is not economical.

The $350,000 fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.  The company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Two Quebec Companies fined for violations of Canada’s PCB Laws

Two companies based in Quebec were recently fined a total of of $75,000 after each pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the PCB Regulations made under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

The first company, 150 Montréal-Toronto Inc., was fined $50,000 after pleading guilty to the non-compliant storage of PCBs between February 20, 2015, and January 30, 2018, in breach of paragraph 19(1)(b) of the PCB Regulations.

The second company, Recydem Enviro Inc. was fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to failing to send the PCBs for destruction to an authorized facility on or about March 19, 2016, as stipulated in paragraph 19(1)(a) of the PCB Regulations.

PCBs have been widely used for decades, particularly to make coolants and lubricants for certain kinds of electrical equipment, such as transformers and capacitors. PCBs are toxic, and steps have been taken under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to control the use, importation, manufacture and storage of PCBs, as well as their release into the environment.

As a result of this conviction, the companies’ names will be listed in the Environmental Offenders Registry.

 

 

British Columbia fuel-supply company fined $200,000 for environmental offences

Recently, Scamp Industries Ltd., a fuel supplier based in Western Canada, was fined $200,000 in the Provincial Court of British Columbia after pleading guilty on June 17, 2019, to five counts of transferring petroleum products into a storage-tank system where storage-tank-system identification numbers were not visible. This action is contrary to subparagraph 29(b)(i) of the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, made pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The penalty will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

In March 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers inspected several gas stations on federal and Indigenous land in the south-central area of British Columbia, including the Kamloops and Salmon Arm areas, to monitor compliance with the Regulations. During these inspections, the enforcement officers found that Scamp Industries Ltd. had been delivering fuel to a number of unregistered tank systems and a number of tank systems that did not display the required identification numbers.

In January 2013, Scamp Industries Ltd. was issued a written warning for delivering fuel to a gas station in Chilliwack, which had not registered its storage-tank systems with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

According to the Scamp Industries Ltd. website, the company has a Health, Safety & Environment Program that includes “constantly developing it’s training and monitoring procedures.”  It also states that it has the “best-in-class training programs to a strong safety culture”.

Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations

 

The Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, which came into force in 2008, help reduce the risk of releases of petroleum products from storage-tank systems located on federal or Indigenous land (referred to as aboriginal land in the Regulations) and from systems operated by or that provide a service to federal works or that are operated or owned by the Crown. The Regulations apply to storage-tank systems with a capacity of more than 230 litres, which contain petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, and home-heating oil, or allied petroleum products.

The Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations require that owners identify their storage-tank systems to Environment and Climate Change Canada before operating the system.

The Federal Identification Registry for Storage Tank Systems is the online database where storage-tank system owners enter information about their storage-tank systems to receive an Environment and Climate Change Canada identification number.

Welland Canal Terminal Operator fined $50,000 for Environmental Protection Act Violation

Port Weller Marine Terminal Inc., located in Port Colborne, Ontario was recently convicted of one violation under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act and was fined $50,000 plus a victim surcharge of $12,500 and was given six months to pay the fine.  The conviction relates to the discharge of cement dust that migrated off-site affecting local residential properties.

The conviction relates to activities that occurred  on or about July 28, 2016 and ending on or about August 3, 2016.  On July 28, 2016, the Ontario Environment Ministry was notified that clinker dust had migrated off the terminal site and an investigation indicated that despite Port Weller Marine’s efforts to contain the dust, a quantity was carried off-site and fell onto residential properties in the area. The company was unaware of the discharge at the time.  An investigation resulted in charges being laid, which resulted in one conviction.

Port Weller Marine Terminal Inc. operates a terminal on the Welland Canal which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. At the time of the violation, the company was under contract to unload vessels carrying cement clinker, which had been imported by a Port Weller Marine client.  Clinker is a component of cement and is used in cement manufacturing and can become caustic when wet, potentially causing burns to eyes and skin.

 

CarMax Settles Lawsuit related to Unlawful Handling and Disposal of Hazardous Materials

Seventeen District Attorney’s in California recently settled an environmental protection action against CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC. The settlement was based on the unlawful handling and disposal of various hazardous materials and hazardous wastes. The action was filed in Orange County Superior Court.

Waste inspections conducted at various CarMax locations in the seventeen Counties uncovered systemic violations of the management and disposal of hazardous waste items and confidential customer information.

“Today’s settlement is a win for the environment,” stated Alameda District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in a news release. “I want to make it very clear to any business operating in Alameda County and the state of California: there is no excuse for improper disposal of hazardous waste. You put us all at risk when you pollute our soil and our waterways. The state as well as local district attorneys will continue to work together to investigate and bring to justice businesses that ignore our important environmental protection laws.”

Nancy E. O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney

CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC. is an automotive retailer that operates more than 190 dealerships in at least 28 states, including California. In the ordinary course of business, CarMax handles, transports, stores, manages, uses and disposes of hazardous materials. Additionally, CarMax generates regulated quantities of hazardous waste from its automotive inspection, service and repair departments. Numerous inspections by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control along with local environmental regulators found that CarMax facilities were out of compliance with the hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws.

District Attorney Investigators from several counties conducted undercover inspections of CarMax’s trash containers, which revealed the illegal disposal of hazardous auto body sanding dust, sanding pads, automotive paints, clear coats, solvents, non-empty aerosols, other hazardous substances used during the auto body repair process, and confidential customer information.

In accordance with the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans and Inventory Law, the stipulated judgment mandates training, reporting and compliance with the regulations on hazardous materials, and hazardous wastes. The settlement totaling $ 1,600,000 requires CarMax to pay $1,000,000 in civil penalties and $300,000 for investigative costs. CarMax will also make an additional payment of $300,000 to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. CarMax was cooperative throughout the investigation and implemented training and compliance programs at each of its facilities.

The case was brought in conjunction with the District Attorney’s offices of Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Fresno, Stanislaus, Kern, Ventura, Sacramento, Placer, San Diego, Solano, Sonoma, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties, where CarMax facilities are located.

Posted on Jun 11, 2020

Water company pleads guilty to hazardous waste violations

As reported by the Associated Press, A California-based water company recently pleaded guilty to illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste and agreed to a $5 million fine.  The company produces Crystal Geyser bottled water.

The hazardous waste was generated at the company from the sand filters used to remove arsenic out the spring water at the CG Roxane LLC’s facility in Owens Valley.  When the sand filters were back washed with sodium solution, thousands of gallons of arsenic-contaminated water was generated.  The company entered the pleas to one count of unlawful storage of hazardous waste and one count of unlawful transportation of hazardous material.  The  company was accused of discharging the wastewater into a man-made pond over the course of approximately 15 years.

Pond sampling by local water quality officials in 2013 found arsenic concentrations above the hazardous waste limit, as did subsequent sampling by state authorities and the company.  State officials instructed the company to remove the pond.  The two companies hired to manage the wastewater were not informed the wastwater was considered hazardous material, resulting in 23,000 gallons (87,064 litres) being discharged into a sewer without proper treatment.

 

Ontario: Asphalt Company Fined $175,000 for Environmental Violations

Ingram Asphalt Inc., located in Toronto, was recently convicted of five violations under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act and was fined $175,000 plus a victim surcharge of $43,750.  The company was given 24 months to pay the fine.

The convictions relate to permitting the discharge of Benzo(a)Pyrene, a contaminant that exceeded established standards, and for violating three ministry approval conditions, and for alteration of equipment without ministry approval.

Ingram Asphalt Inc. produces asphalt road pavement at a facility located on Ingram Drive in Toronto, within an industrial area shared with various businesses, and a commercial building with residential space.  Over the years there have been complaints regarding concerns about dust leaving the site and adversely impacting businesses and quality of life.

Breakdown on Fines

With respect to the prosecution on the discharge of Benzo(a)Pyrene into the air, the company was fined $100,000 for permitting the discharge for a specified averaging period and exceeding the acceptable levels under Section 20 (2) of Ontario Regulation 419/05 under the Environmental Protection Act, on December 11, 2017. The ministry was notified of the exceedance with reported levels in the air of 0.0000297 micrograms per cubic meter, compared to the allowable limits specified as 0.00001 micrograms per cubic meter, almost three times the allowed maximum.

Ingram Asphalt was fined $55,000 for three violations for non-compliance with a ministry approval for conditions outlined in the company’s December 2016 approval conditions specific to addressing concerns about air pollution. Despite efforts by the ministry to bring the company into compliance it was identified that the company was non-compliant in the following areas: (1) Condition No. 1 (5) restricts the height of storage piles to be less than the height of the associated barrier walls; (2) Condition No. 10 requires the installation of an opacity monitor in accordance with the requirements; and (3) Schedule “D” requires the company to submit a Source Testing Report in accordance with the requirements.

The company was fined $20,000 on one violation for altering the approved equipment by failing to connect pipe and duct work from the asphalt tanks to the batch dryer, which is part of the air pollution control equipment.

Benzo(a)Pyrene

 

Benzo(a)pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widespread environmental contaminants formed during incomplete combustion or pyrolysis of organic material. These substances are found in air, water, soils and sediments, generally at trace levels except near their sources. PAHs are present in some foods and in a few pharmaceutical products based on coal tar that are applied to the skin. Tobacco smoke contains high concentrations of PAHs.

Major sources of PAHs in ambient air (both outdoors and indoors) include residential and commercial heating with wood, coal or other biomasses (oil and gas heating produce much lower quantities of PAH), other indoor sources such as cooking and tobacco smoke, and outdoor sources like motor-vehicle exhaust (especially from diesel engines), industrial emissions and forest fires.

 

Ontario: Environment Fine for Trucking Firm’s emissions control system

Derek Crosby Ltd., operating as D&J Transportation, was recently found guilty in an Ottawa court of violating the Ontario Environmental Protection Act and fined $20,000 plus victim surcharge of $5,000.  The convictions relate to causing a manufacturer installed system or device on a motor vehicle used to prevent or lessen the emission of any contaminant to not function in the manner in which it was intended to function when the motor vehicle was running.

D&J Transportation operates a heavy-duty transport trucking company and  also provides heavy-duty mechanical service to other trucking companies. Derek Crosby is the company’s sole director.

On September 5, 2018 a truck owned and operated by Thomas Cavanagh Construction Ltd., was stopped for a routine inspection of the vehicle’s environmental emission controls. The vehicle failed the inspection.  Ontario Environment Ministry staff contacted the fleet manager for Thomas Cavanagh Construction Ltd., which led the company self-identifying ten addition vehicles operating with faulty environmental emission controls.

On November 29, 2018 ministry staff met with the fleet manager for Thomas Cavanagh Construction Ltd. The Fleet Manager confirmed that the emission control tampering on all twelve Thomas Cavanagh Construction Ltd., vehicles was performed by Derek Crosby Ltd., operating as D&J Transport.  An investigation resulted in charges being laid which resulted in four convictions under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act..

Canada: $150,000 Fine for Oil Leak from Fuel Truck

Representatives of Hay River Mobile Home Park Ltd., located in Northwest Territories, recently plead guilty in response to a charge of violating subsection 36(3) of the Canada Fisheries Act. The company was fined $150,000, which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

Under the subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, no person shall deposit or permit the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish or in any place under any conditions where the deleterious substance or any other deleterious substance that results from the deposit of the deleterious substance may enter any such water.

The events that led to the fine occurred in October 2016.  Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers responded to a report from the Northwest Territories 24-Hour Spill Report Line that a fuel sheen had been observed on the Hay River. An investigation determined that a fuel truck parked on Hay River Mobile Home Park Ltd. property had released a diesel/water mixture, over a 20-hour period, onto land adjacent to the Hay River. An undetermined amount of the mixture then entered the Hay River, which is home to a variety of fish species, including walleye, whitefish, and northern pike.

The spill of fuel oil from the truck was the result of a malfunction.  The truck remained idle through years of freezing and thawing, until a filter used to separate the truck’s water from fuel cracked. The vehicle’s remaining fuel subsequently drained out and flowed on to the banks of the Hay River.  An expert brought testified in court that a projected that between 3.3 liters and 79.1 liters of fuel seeped into the river.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

 

Ontario aerosol manufacturer fined for violating Environmental Emergency Regulations

Written by Paul ManningManning Environmental Law

As of August 24, 2019, the Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2019 replaced the existing Environmental Emergency Regulations, which require industry to take steps to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the accidental release of harmful chemicals.

The Regulations require that any person who owns, has the charge of, manages, or controls a regulated substance at or above certain quantities to notify Environment and Climate Change Canada. For higher-risk facilities, an environmental emergency plan must be prepared, brought into effect, and exercised.

On November 12, 2019, K-G Spray-Pak Inc. of Concord, Ontario pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to two offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, including one count of violating the Environmental Emergency Regulations and one count of failing to comply with an environmental protection compliance order. The company was ordered to pay a fine of $170,000.

In February 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers launched an investigation, which revealed that K-G Spray-Pak Inc., a manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of aerosol products, had failed to comply with an environmental protection compliance order issued in July 2016.

Environmental protection compliance orders are issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers to put an immediate stop to a violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to prevent a violation from occurring, or to require action be taken to address a violation.

The company was subsequently charged when it failed to implement and test environmental emergency plans within the prescribed time limit specified in the compliance order.

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2019/11/ontario-aerosol-manufacturer-fined-for-violating-the-canadian-environmental-protection-act1999.html

This article has been republished with the permission of the author. It was first published here .

This article is provided only as a general guide and is not legal advice. If you do have any issue that requires legal advice please contact Manning Environmental Law.


About the Author

Paul Manning is the principal of Manning Environmental Law and an environmental law specialist certified by the Law Society of Ontario. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers and one of the World’s Leading Climate Change Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal.
Paul advises clients on a wide range of environmental law issues and represents them as counsel before tribunals and the courts. His practice focuses on environmental, energy, planning and Aboriginal law.