January 23, 2006

UBA fined $100K after chemical release causes local evacuation

MISSISSAUGA, ONT-UBA has been fined $100,000 and levied an additional 25% victim fine surcharge, after pleading guilty to discharging a contaminant into the natural environment causing adverse effects, in violation of section 14(1) of the Environmental Protection Act (EP Act). The May 2004 incident at the company's chemical manufacturing and distribution facility in Mississauga resulted in the evacuation of a neighbouring school, park and community centre, as well significant disruption to transportation services. The released occurred when a UBA employee involved in the manufacture of a product used to clean pipes in dairy farms added two acids to an empty UBA tanker truck. Combining the two acids without adding water caused a chemical reaction inside the tanker truck. The heat of the reaction produced an orange/red cloud of oxides of nitrogen gas that escaped through an open hatch. The company immediately called 911 and ordered the evacuation of its facility. By mid-afternoon, Mississauga Fire Department and hazardous material officials at the scene observed that the continuous release from the tanker truck was migrating off-site, prompting the fire department to order the evacuation of the surrounding area. By 9:00 p.m. the same day, firefighters and a private emergency response unit hired by UBA had succeeded in stopping the discharge and the evacuation order was lifted. Peel Regional Police and the Ministry of Environment also monitored the incident and subsequent response.

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