September 6, 2004

Animal byproduct plant exceeds odour limits, firm fined $75K

Rothsay Moorefield recently pleaded guilty to exceeding odour limits permitted for its Mapleton, Ontario plant where the company, a division of Maple Leaf Foods, recycles animal and poultry by-products into various commercial tallow and protein products. The company also pleaded guilty to one other charge under the Environmental Protection Act, as well as a charge under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA), and was fined a total of $75,000, plus victim fine surcharges.

Rothsay Moorefield received a certificate of approval (C of A - air) from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) after working with Ministry staff to modify the facility's equipment and operational procedures in order to address continuing complaints from nearby residents about odours. The C of A authorizes the plant to release an established level of odours into the air.

An odour compliance sampling report submitted by the company to MOE in November 2001 indicated that in September 2001, the plan exceeded the number of odour units permitted under its C of A. Rothsay Moorefield was required to submit a consultant's report to MOE by October 1, 2001, detailing changes to be made to the facility's design, construction and operation to reduce odours to a new, lower limit. The company failed to do so.

In addition, MOE staff conducting a routine inspection of the plant in April 2001 found that the company was planning to install a belt-press to dry sewage sludge. The MOE told Rothsay Moorefield that it would have to obtain an amendment to its C of A (industrial sewage) before installing the belt-press. At a follow-up inspection in February 2002, MOE staff found that the company was operating the belt-press without the required amended approval.

Upon pleading guilty to the charges, the company was fined $50,000 for exceeding its allowable odour units and $5,000 for not submitting the consultant's report (both violations of Section 186(3) of the Environmental Protection Act), and $20,000 for installing and operating the belt-press without approval, in contravention of Section 53(5) of the OWRA. Rothsay Moorefield subsequently received approval for the operation of the belt-press in July 2004.

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