September 26, 2005

Company fined $20K for illegal disposal of industrial solvents

VEGREVILLE, ALTA-Terravest Industries was levied a $20,000 penalty after pleading guilty to the unlawful disposal of industrial solvents. The company was charged with "unlawful disposal of waste," in violation of Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. On January 13, 2004, Alberta Environment investigators responded to an anonymous complaint about illegal dumping and burning on farmland owned by relatives of the president of Terravest Industries. Samples drawn from barrels in the area and from soil in burned windrows confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons typically found in paint thinners. The president of the company admitted to dumping ten barrels of xylene, a material the company uses to flush paint hose lines. Xylene is a controlled substance under Alberta environmental regulations and requires proper disposal at an approved facility. Under a creative sentencing order, approximately $15,000 of the penalty will go towards the Vegreville Volunteer Fire Department. The judgment recognized the impact of the offence on local response agencies and the importance of providing support to this valuable local service. Under provincial environmental legislation, creative sentencing orders have been an option in Alberta since 1993.

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