September 6, 2004

Ontario MOE issues orders to 12 more Sarnia petrochemical plants

The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) last week issued provincial officer orders to 12 more petrochemical facilities in the Sarnia area, directing them to come into compliance with Ontario's environmental laws. The latest group of orders follows a third series of inspections conducted over the past four months by the province's environmental SWAT Team as part of its inspection sweep of petrochemical facilities.

The companies issued orders included: Lanxess (formerly Bayer - three facilities), Bayer (formerly HC Starck Canada), Fibrex Insulations, ICI Canada, Praxair Canada (two facilities), Entropex, Ethyl Canada, Suncor Energy Products, and Shell Canada Products. The orders detail the actions required to bring each company back into compliance, and set out schedules for the necessary measures. Included are requirements to create spill contingency plans, seek approval for emission sources, and ensure proper storage, transportation and disposal of wastes generated.

To date, the environmental SWAT Team has issued provincial officer orders to 20 facilities in the Sarnia area. The inspection sweep is continuing, and further orders may still be issued. Non-compliance issues found at the various facilities are summarized as follows.

Lanxess

*no Certificates of Approval (C of As) for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants into the natural environment;

*no new or amended C of A for the alteration of an existing sewage works;

*several poorly maintained groundwater monitoring wells; and

*improper manifesting of hazardous waste.

Bayer

*no C of As for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants into the natural environment.

Fibrex Insulations

*no C of As for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants into the natural environment;

*fugitive air emissions escaping through doors and vents;

*inadequate containment of, and management plan for, hoses and piping from a storm water pond; and

*no C of A for on-site sewage works.

ICI Canada

*improper calibration of sampling equipment;

*no C of As for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants into the natural environment;

*storage of waste oil for a period longer than three months; and

*several improperly mainteined groundwater monitoring wells.

Praxair Canada

*no C of As for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants into the natural environment;

*no spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan; and

*improper storage of hazardous materials.

Entropex

*C of A for air not amended to reflect site process changes; and

*subject waste remaining on site for more than 90 days without proper reporting to the ministry.

Ethyl Canada

*no C of As for several pieces of equipment which were discharging contaminants into the natural environment;

*failure to amend a C of A for sewage works to reflect current site practices; and

*improper manifesting of hazardous wastes.

Suncor Energy Products

*no C of As for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants into the natural environment; and

*waste audit and waste reduction work plan not developed for the company as required by regulation.

Shell Canada Products

*improper storage of waste materials;

*failure to amend a C of A for sewage works to reflect current site practices; and

*no C of As for the installation and use of equipment having the potential to discharge contaminants to air.

The orders include deadlines by which the specified issues must be addressed and while no monetary fines are attached, they will likely require the companies to invest both time and resources to achieve compliance. Where appropriate, the companies inspected may also be referred to the MOE's investigations and enforcement branch for follow-up and possible prosecution.

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