December 3, 2001

NEWS SUMMARY (December 03, 2001)

Napier Environmental Technologies signs distribution deal with Japanese firm

VANCOUVER, BC--Napier Environmental Technologies has signed an agreement with Kyokuto Boeki Kaisha (KBK) for distribution of Napier's SARA line of coating strippers (Selective Adhesive Release Agents). The agreement gives KBK the right to distribute Napier products to the military, aerospace and heavy industries in Japan. The non-exclusive deal also requires the Tokyo-based multi-national firm to purchase $500,000 (U.S.) worth of Napier's products by June 2002, with increasing yearly purchase requirements thereafter. KBK specializes in the manufacture and trade of high-technology products, targeting industries such as aerospace and defence, instrumentation and controls, food engineering and electronic systems. More information is available from Don Mosher, 604/801-6664, E-mail: dmosher@napiere.com, Web site: www.napierenvironmental.com.

Chemical fire forces evacuation of plant workers, nearby residents

CALGARY, ALTA-A major chemical fire at the Dura-Lite Heat Transfer Products facility on November 6 released a 500-metre-high plume of black, toxic smoke and forced the evacuation of more than 100 employees and thousands of nearby residents. The fire started when magnesium flakes in a disposal barrel spontaneously ignited. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze for nine hours. The response and cleanup efforts cost about $8 million, and damage estimates may run over $10 million.

Sask Centenary Fund supports cleanup of former Domtar site

PRINCE ALBERT, SASK-The Saskatchewan government will provide $1 million over the next three years to assist the city of Prince Albert in cleaning up creosote contamination at the site of the former Domtar wood treatment plant. The facility closed in 1975 after 50 years of operation. An agreement signed last week by Environment and Resource Management Minister Buckley Belanger and Prince Albert Mayor Don Cody will contribute $300,000 this year and $350,000 in each of the next two years, with the funds coming from the province's four-year, $120-million Centenary Fund. The remediation process will include excavation and hauling of contaminated soil to a bioreactor, where the soil will be mixed with fertilizer and other elements. Microbial activity will biodegrade the creosote, rendering the soil suitable for future use. More information is available from Len Sinclair at SERM's Prince Albert office, 306/953-2662.

OPG selects Babcock & Wilcox to head SCR installation projects

NANTICOKE, ONT--Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has selected Babcock & Wilcox Canada, based in Cambridge, Ont as the prime contractor for the engineering and construction of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment at OPG's Nanticoke and Lambton coal-fired generating stations. The SCR units will reduce smog-causing pollutants by 80% on the units on which they will be installed. The four units OPG is installing will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) by about 12,000 tonnes a year, or the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road. The $200 million contract is part of OPG's investment in clean air technology, which will see well over $250 million spent on the SCR project, cleaner burners and other modifications at Nanticoke and Lambton. The first of the four SCR units will be in service at Lambton's Unit 4, near Sarnia, by late 2002. Nanticoke Unit 8 and Lambton Unit 3 will be completed by May 2003, and Nanticoke's Unit 7 will be installed by November 2003. SCR units are large steel structures, installed outside the station between the boiler and the smokestack. The flue gas passes through the unit where a chemical reaction takes place that converts the nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water vapour. SCR is a proven, effective technology for reducing emissions from fossil plants; with more than 100 installed world wide and over 130 installations planned in the United States.

Environmental firm joins network of damage control contractors

TORONTO, ONT--Restoration Environmental Contractors, in Markham, north of Toronto, has joined Disaster Kleenup International as a new member. DKI is a network of leading independent damage restoration contractors across North America. Restoration Environmental will provide expertise in the management of mold, fungus, asbestos and lead as well as biological emergency response. More information is available from Don Bremner at 1-800-894-4924, E-mail dwbremner@hotmail.com.

Norampac steam reformer will convert biomass into clean-burning hydrogen

TRENTON, ONT--Norampac has just taken delivery of an 80-tonne, 40-foot-long boiler which will be the heart of the world's first commercial steam reformer. The huge boiler is the key component of a $30-million environmental project at Norampac's Trenton Division to convert pulping liquor into clean-burning hydrogen. Construction of the steam reforming facility, which has received both provincial and federal approvals, will begin immediately. When processing begins in 2003, the steam reformer technology will convert pulping liquor from the mill into hydrogen-rich fuel gas, steam and soda ash, all of which will be re-used in the papermaking process. The innovative technology will make the facility and industry leader and one of the cleanest mills in North America. "This steam reformer will be a model of efficiency and environmental responsibility for other paper mills to follow," said Norampac general manager Gary Hodgins. Norampac is a joint venture between the packaging divisions of Cascades and Domtar and is the largest Canadian manufacturer of linerboard, corrugated medium and corrugated packaging products. The Trenton Mill produces 500 short tons per day of corrugating medium at its closed-loop mill. More information is available from Grant Currie at 613/965-4084.

Hydro-Quebec receives approval for Toulnustouc River power development

OTTAWA, ONTARIO-Hydro-Quebec has been granted approvals under the federal the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act to proceed with the construction of its hydroelectric project on the Toulnustouc River. The approvals were announced by Fisheries and Oceans Minister Herb Dhaliwal who said "The development of the Toulnustouc, as proposed, can be carried out in a sustainable manner." DFO's environmental assessment found that the project is not likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects, given Hydro-Quebec's proposed measures to mitigate and compensate for changes made to the environment, and to closely monitor the environment before, during and after the development's completion. During the first five years of operation, all losses in fish habitat productive capacity that are projected on the basis of the river's average flow must be fully offset by adequate facilities set up before development begins. A 15-year follow-up program will help monitor the success of mitigative and compensatory measures. Hydro-Quebec has also agreed to increase the flow of the river, if this becomes necessary.

Transport firm fined $30,000 for illegal snow disposal

QUEBEC CITY, QUE-L Plante Transport was recently found guilty of violating Quebec regulations governing snow disposal sites and fined a total of $30,000. The provincial court found that the company had, on six occasions between mid-January and mid-March 2000, dumped snow collected in the course of its snow-clearing and transport operations in locations not authorized by the provincial Environment Ministry, in contravention of Article 1 of the regulations. The firm was fined $5,000 per violation.

International notes

Valdez penalty reduced: On November 7, a U.S. federal appeals court overturned a $5-billion (U.S.) punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil Corp. The court ruled that the award, in connection with the 1989 spill from the Exxon Valdez supertanker into Prince William Sound, Alaska, was excessive. The 1994 decision was the largest punitive award in U.S. history. The company spent more than $2 million to clean up approximately 50 million litres of oil spilled on beaches and wildlife, and another $1 billion settling government claims. It did not dispute the $287-million compensatory damage award.

WTC & Pentagon cleanup: As of November 6, the New York City Office of Emergency Management reported that 409,848 tonnes of debris and 98,839 tonnes of steel had been hauled from the World Trade Center disaster site to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. The cleanup work has been going continuously since shortly after the attacks, and there is no indication when it will be completed. At the Pentagon site in Washington, 10,000 tonnes of debris and steel were removed in 550 truck loads during the effort to find victims. Since October 18, when demolition of the damaged portion began, 15,000 tonnes have been removed with the debris going to various landfills.

Metalclad settles: Metalclad Corp, of Newport Beach, California, has settled out of court with the Mexican government after a five-year fight over a landfill in Mexico (ELW February 26). Metalclad won a $16-million (U.S.) judgment--less than the total amount it was owed once interest is included--only to see the government appeal. The case was heard in the British Columbia Supreme Court, as a neutral venue for disputes involving parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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