January 24, 2005

SWAT sweep concludes, 11 more facilities receive orders

Ontario's environmental SWAT Team has completed its inspection sweep in the Sarnia area and has issued provincial officer orders to 11 more facilities. Following inspections conducted over the past few months, the orders were issued last week to: Nova Chemicals (Canada)-two facilities; Nova Chemicals; Chinook; Enbridge Pipelines; BP Canada Energy Resources; Ontario Power Generation; TransAlta Energy-three facilities under one order; and Air Liquide Canada. This brings to 31 the total number of facilities issued orders since the inspection sweep began in February 2004.

While the SWAT inspections did not determine any immediate impacts to human health, the orders issued contain more than 60 requirements for actions each company must take to come into compliance with Ontario's environmental laws and regulations. Among the required measures are remediation of sewage works, proper registration as generators of liquid industrial or hazardous wastes, and application for or compliance with certificates of approval for air emissions and sewage discharge limits.

The orders require the companies to address these issues within specified time limits. Although there are no monetary fines attached to the orders, they often require an investment of both time and resources for the companies to comply. Where appropriate, the companies inspected may also be referred to the ministry's investigations and enforcement branch for follow-up and possible prosecution. A company convicted of its first major offence could be fined up to $6 million per day. Individuals could be fined $4 million per day and face jail terms of five years less a day.

Having completed its work in Sarnia, the SWAT Team is now compiling its inspection reports and may issue additional orders based on its findings. The team will review, analyze and summarize its findings from the inspection sweep and will complete a public report in the spring.

Non-compliance issues among the industrial facilities included the following:

Nova Chemicals (Canada)-Mooretown site

* Air emission without Certificate of Approval

* Non-compliance with existing air Certificate of Approval

* Generator registration non-compliance

* Failure to submit complete report as required under Ontario Reg 127 (airborne contaminant discharge monitoring and reporting).

Nova Chemicals-St Clair River site

* Air emission without Certificate of Approval

* Non-compliance with existing air Certificate of Approval

* Modification to industrial sewage discharge without Certificate of Approval amendment

* Generator registration non-compliance.

Nova Chemicals (Canada)-Corunna site

* Air emission without Certificate of Approval

* Modification to air emission source without Certificate of Approval amendment

* Generator registration non-compliance

* Non-compliance with permit to take water.

Chinook

* Air emission without Certificate of Approval

* Non-compliance with industrial sewage Certificate of Approval

* Generator registration non-compliance.

Enbridge Pipelines

* Air emission without Certificate of Approval

* Generator registration non-compliance

* Modification to industrial sewage discharge without Certificate of Approval amendment.

BP Canada Energy Resources

* Minor air emission without Certificate of Approval

* Non-compliance with existing air Certificate of Approval

* Generator registration non-compliance.

Ontario Power Generation, Lambton Thermal Generating Station

* Non-compliance with industrial sewage discharge C of A (not monitoring discharge temperature)

* Generator registration non-compliance.

TransAlta Energy

* Non-compliance with discharge limits specified in industrial sewage Certificate of Approval.

Air Liquide Canada

* Minor non-compliance with existing air Certificate of Approval (failure to notify the ministry of company name change)

* Generator registration non-compliance.

Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky deployed the Environmental SWAT Team to Sarnia to inspect industrial facilities, determine the overall level of compliance with Ontario's environmental laws and gather information on how spills and improper air emissions can be prevented in the future.

Since its creation in September 2000, the team has completed more than 3,600 inspections across Ontario in a variety of sectors, including hazardous waste transfer and processing facilities, electro/metal platers, and foundries. The team has issued more than 1,300 provincial officer orders and more than 400 Provincial Offences Act tickets and summonses. It has also referred a number of cases to the investigations and enforcement Branch for follow-up.

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