January 31, 2005

Plastics manufacturer fined $24K in connection with noise, odour emissions

ORANGEVILLE, ONT-Symplastics has been give 90 days to pay $24,000 in fines, plus victim fine surcharges, after pleading guilty to three charges under Ontario's Environmental Protection Act relating to odours and noise from its thermoplastics manufacturing operation in Orangeville. In July 2003, Ministry of Environment (MOE) staff visited Symplastics' site after a neighbour living near the plant complained about persistent plastic odours which she said were causing her nausea and headaches. The odours also prevented her from using her backyard and forced her to keep the windows of her non-air conditioned home shut during the summer. In addition, the noise from the company's operations affected the neighbour's general enjoyment of her home. A ministry investigation found that the company had constructed and begun operating two melt ovens and two annealing ovens without first obtaining the required certificates of approval (C of As). This new equipment was determined to be the source of the odours about which the neighbour had complained. Symplastics subsequently applied for and was issued a site-wide amended C of A (air) permitting it to operate its various pieces of manufacturing equipment. The company also spent more than $200,000 on remedial measures to address the noise and odour concerns. Symplastics reports that in its 30-year history, no other formal complaints related to its operations have been made. The company was charged with discharging a contaminant (i.e. plastic odours) into the environment causing or likely to cause an adverse effect, contrary to section 14(1) of the Act. The two other charges included constructing two melt (slab) ovens without having obtained C of As and operating two annealing ovens without having obtained C of As, contrary to sections 9(1)(a) and 9(7), respectively, of the Act.

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