April 9-16, 2007

BC compliance summary includes seven orders to avert pollution

Between October 1 and December 31, 2006, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment issued seven orders to prevent or stop damage to the environment or harm to human health or safety. The fourth and latest Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement Summary, recently released by the Ministry, also documents 95 administrative licensing sanctions taken against commercial or individual hunters or anglers for various offences and 887 tickets issued. During this period, the Ministry obtained 12 court convictions, with a total of $252,840 in fines levied.

Canfor Pulp, in Prince George, was issued an order under the provincial Environmental Management Act after contaminated ("dark water") ground water was found to be entering the Fraser River just below an old spill pond. This is considered a bypass of works and is not authorized under the company's discharge permit.

Given the potential impacts of the toxic seepage, Canfor was ordered to complete and submit to the Ministry a trend analysis of the groundwater quality from 1989 to the present, along with information about treatment of the "dark water" at that time and various test results that will determine the nature and source of the contamination and permit remediation and cleanup options to be decided.

Also in Prince George, an information order was issued to Columbia Bitulithic after stack sampling data indicated non-compliance of its facility (located close to a residential area) with the provincial asphalt plant regulation (APR). The company has been directed to provide the Ministry all stack sampling and performance data for the plant from January 2004 to the present. Such data reporting is required under the APR.

At another asphalt plant in Prince George, operated by RD Moyen Holdings, was issued a similar information order requiring submission of all emission testing done on the facility since it began operating. The order was issued after the Ministry, having received numerous complaints about the asphalt plant operation, discovered no stack sampling documentation on record for the facility, a violation of the APR.

McBride Forest Industries (MFI), in McBride, received a pollution prevention order relating to the disposal of hog fuel stockpiles. The facility is shutting down for an indeterminate period of time and the order requires MFI to restart the gasifier incinerator in order to burn the hog fuel until the stockpiles are depleted, in order to mitigate potential environmental impacts from leachate and possible fire hazard associated with the stockpiles. Under the order, MFI staff must supervise the incinerator operations, conduct regular inspections, and take remedial action to deal with leachate or fire. The company is further required to submit an operating plan for the gasifier use and other plans to dispose of the accumulated hog fuel.

In Whistler, Peter Kiewit Sons was issued violation tickets after failing to comply with a pollution abatement and prevention order relating to open burning of wood residues. The company was ordered to stop the burning immediately and submit a plan for future management of the residues. The company did not do so, leading to the issuance of tickets.

The Ministry invested an additional $1.5 million on compliance and enforcement in 2006, which included the creation of the new Commercial Environmental Investigations Unit with a focus on commercial and industrial activities. It also maintains a hotline for public reporting of polluters and poachers (1-877-952-RAPP [7277]).

The Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement Summary may be viewed on-line at www.env.gov.bc.ca/main/prgs/compliancereport.html.

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