June 12, 2006

Sturgeon Timber fined $25K following fire in wood waste pile

THUNDER BAY, ONT-Sturgeon Timber, in Thunder Bay, was fined a $25,000 and levied a victim fine surcharge after pleading guilty to two charges under Ontario's Environmental Protection Act (EP Act). In addition to producing wood chips for paper mills, the company processes waste material from the chipping operation and transports it off site for use as fuel. In October 2004, the equipment used to process the waste wood broke down, resulting in wood waste accumulation and stockpiling at the site. Around January 11, 2005, spontaneous combustion caused a fire to break out in the waste wood pile. Smoke from the fire was blown off site, leading local residents to complain to the Ministry of Environment (MOE) about smoke in the area. MOE officers confirmed the information and charges were laid following an investigation by the Ministry's Investigations and Enforcement branch. Sturgeon Timber pleaded guilty to operating a waste disposal site without a certificate of approval (C of A), contrary to section 27(1) (b) of the EP Act, and to discharging a contaminant into the natural environment causing an adverse effect, contrary to section 14(1) of the Act. Fines of $7,000 and $18,000 were imposed for each conviction, respectively.

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