May 31, 2004

Firm fined $30K for styrene emissions, altering equipment without approval

ST CATHARINES, ONT-Maax Spas (Ontario) was fined a total of $30,000 and levied a 25% victim fine surcharge after pleading guilty to emission release and equipment alteration charges laid under Ontario's Environmental Protection Act. In a routine Ministry of Environment (MOE) inspection, the company, which manufactures bathroom products and spas at its Beamsville facility, was found to have altered emission control equipment without obtaining Ministry approval. The court was also told that MOE staff conducted air monitoring studies in the area around the plant after receiving odour complaints from adjacent residents, who reported experiencing nausea, throat irritation and being forced to relocate or move indoors. MOE studies found that on July 8 and 25, 2002, multiple half-hour average concentrations of styrene exceeded the acceptable regulatory limits. The company was charged under Sections 14(1) and 9(1)(a) of the Act with discharging a contaminant (namely styrene) into the environment causing or likely to cause an adverse effect, and altering equipment without approval. Maax Spas was fined $28,000 for the styrene discharge and $2,000 for the unapproved changes to equipment.
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