Illegal dumpers fined $35K
HAMILTON, ONT-Michael Mierzwa, David Mark Almeida and Ramzey Mahmoud were fined a total of $35,000 and levied a victim fine surcharge after they pleaded guilty to violating Ontario's Environmental Protection Act by illegally transporting and dumping liquid waste that caused or was likely to cause an adverse effect. In September 2006, a Hamilton called police to report two people dumping material out of drums on land near Highway 97 and Lennon Road in Hamilton. Ministry of Environment (MOE) staff who examined the site observed that the soil and vegetation had been contaminated by the spilled waste. By the end of the month, following an initial investigation, the MOE's investigations and enforcement branch had charged Mierzwa and Almeida. Further investigation and more information on the source of the drums led to charges against them as well as Mahmoud in January 2007. At trial, the court was told that 16 large drums containing waste oily water and solvent were found at the site, nine of which had been offloaded from the rear of a rented U-Haul truck parked on the site. The three defendants each pleaded guilty to one charge of violating section 41 of the Environmental Protection Act relating to the transportation and handling of wastes well as one count each under section 14(1) of the Act for discharging a waste that was likely to harm the environment. Mahmoud was fined $15,000, Almeida $12,000, and Mierzwa $8,000 (exclusive of the victim fine surcharge); they have been given one year to pay the fines. The court also imposed restitution orders requiring the trio to reimburse the city of Hamilton $11,763 for costs incurred in removing and disposing of the excess waste and contaminated soil.