May 10, 2004

Temple Pembroke fined $305K for plant emissions, wells regulation offence

PEMBROKE, ONT-Temple Pembroke was fined a total of $305,000 and levied a victim fine surcharge in connection with odour and particulate emissions from its medium-density fibreboard manufacturing facility in the township of Laurentian Valley (formerly Pembroke), and a violation of Ontario's wells regulation. The plant, originally built for Macmillan Bloedel in 1996-97, was experiencing significant production and environmental performance issues due to engineering design flaws, installation defects and equipment failures. Temple Pembroke purchased the facility in 1998 and subsequently carried out engineering and operational activities to correct these problems. Between September 2000 and September 2002, however, the plant discharged odours and wood fibres, causing area residents material discomfort and limiting their normal use and enjoyment of their properties. A charge was laid under Section 14(1) of the Environmental Protection Act. The court was also told that a groundwater well, supplementing the plant's main water supply from the Ottawa River, was not properly maintained. As a result the company did not ensure that surface water or other material was prevented from entering the well pit. This breach of the wells regulation (Reg 903) under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) was observed by a Provincial Officer in October 2001. Temple Pembroke pleaded guilty to the two charges, was fined $305,000, on a joint submission, and given six months to pay the fine.
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