February 21, 2005

Vaughan transfer site cleanup completed as property receiver seeks amended C of A

The waste transfer site in Vaughan where fires broke out late last year has been properly cleaned up, Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky reported recently. The province took over responsibility for directing cleanup operations on November 23, 2004, having determined that the cleanup of the site was not proceeding in compliance with orders issued by the Ministry of Environment (MOE). Waste Excellence Corporation (WEC), holders of the second mortgage on the site and the receiver for the property, took over cleanup activities on December 17, 2004 and finished well ahead of schedule.

The company was subsequently assigned the suspended certificate of approval (C of A) for the facility and has now applied to the MOE to have the suspended certificate reinstated and an amended C of A issued. The request has been posted as an information notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry at www.ene.gov.on.ca (reference No XA05E0003) and public comments are invited by March 10, 2005.

In addition, WEC has committed itself to completing a number of tasks as a prerequisite to consideration of its request by the MOE director. As part of these required tasks, the company must provide evidence to show that, before the site can reopen, it contains less than 1,500 tonnes of waste and repairs to the building have been made so that future waste handling will take place indoors. The building must also be equipped with hydrants and sprinklers (in compliance with a fire department order issued last October).

WEC will also provide financial assurance for a 1,500-tonne operation, an up-to-date operations manual, a closure plan and an improved inspection and reporting schedule. Finally, the company has pledged to consult with the public and the city of Vaughan as part of this process and the MOE will be actively involved.

Meanwhile, charges under Ontario's Environmental Protection Act have been laid against the former owners/operators of the facility. 310 Waste Limited, 2020700 Ontario Inc, Rail Cycle and 2020780 Ontario Limited, along with three individuals, Edmon Hanna, Robert Sansone and Guido Titton each face one charge of causing or permitting the discharge of a contaminant, namely smoke and odours, into the natural environment that caused an adverse effect.

The companies and individuals were charged following an investigation by the MOE of the fires that broke out at the site in October and November last year. They are scheduled to appear in court in Richmond Hill, Ontario on March 7, 2005.

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