February 27, 2006

Petroleum suppliers fined $70K in connection with Ottawa River spill

Two eastern Ontario petroleum supply companies have been found guilty of using unapproved fuel storage equipment, which resulted in a spill of 10,000 litres of fuel oil into the Ottawa River and surrounding area in 2004. MacEwen Petroleum, in Maxville, and Pétrole Campbell Petroleum 2001 (1443635 Ontario Inc.) of Hawkesbury, were fined a total of $70,000 for safety violations under the provincial Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 and regulations.

In late July 2004, an inspector with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) determined that more than 10,000 litres of fuel oil had leaked into the Ottawa River from a large storage tank at the Pétrole Campbell Petroleum 2001 bulk plant site.

Although there were no injuries as a result of the spill, the investigation found that the two companies had used unapproved equipment and had operated without proper procedures. This led to overfilling of the tank, and the subsequent spill of fuel oil into the Ottawa River.

MacEwen Petroleum, a large operation with more than 60 service stations in the area, was fined $50,000, and Pétrole Campbell Petroleum 2001, a smaller company 50% owned by MacEwen, was fined $20,000. Both companies have also been ordered to pay a 25% victim surcharge, totalling $17,500 (combined).

Neither company has any previous convictions under the act, which provides for fines up to $1 million for companies violating the legislation.

More information is available on the TSSA Web site, www.tssa.org.

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