Ontario issues $100K in fines after fire vehicle waste oil emptied into Brampton tributary

fire-house stock image
The nearly $100,000 in fines were distributed among three parties involved in a drain maintenance and power washing incident that occurred in November of 2021. Photo Credit: rarrarorro, stock.adobe.com

Two Ontario companies and a director have been fined for Environmental Protection Act violations around the improper disposal of vehicle oils collected under a contract with the City of Brampton’s Fire and Emergency Services, according to a provincial court bulletin.

The nearly $100,000 in fines were distributed among three parties involved in a drain maintenance and power washing incident that occurred in November of 2021.

The City of Brampton services emergency vehicles and equipment at a facility on Rutherford Road South, across from a tributary that flows along the north side of the site and discharges to Etobicoke Creek. Oils and operating fluids spilled during maintenance are captured in the main building’s in-floor drain system, which includes several collection trenches that drain to a central oil-water interceptor, states the Ontario court bulletin. 

Brampton hired Canadian Restorations GTA Inc., which then subcontracted the drain work to hydro-vac company Low-Ride Pro-Vac Inc.

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The day of the drain work, a city employee at the Fire and Emergency Services facility observed a hydro-vac trailer extract material from the building’s interceptor, then back up the vehicle in a parking lot that leads to Etobicoke creek. The city employee says that he saw the Low-Ride employees “throw a hose towards the creek, attach the hose to the hydro-vac tank, and kick open a valve on the hydro-vac trailer.” 

When the workers left, the city employee went down to the creek and observed the water to be “dark, cloudy and possess a rainbow-coloured sheen,” states the court bulletin. 

Security camera footage at the site confirmed the observations of city staff and the spill was reported to the Spills Action Centre operated by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. 

A pollution control inspector with the Region of Peel visited the spill site later that day.

“The inspector observed a small section of discoloured brown sediment in the creek bed directly north of the building, however the inspector could not confirm what had caused the discolouration or whether the discolouration was ‘old,'” states the court bulletin.

Ministry staff tests conducted a few days later, however, found oil and grease in soil samples near the creek embankment. Compounds in the surface water samples were determined to be below detectable limits. 

The creek’s water ultimately discharges to Lake Ontario. 

Low-Ride Pro-Vac Inc. was fined $50,000 for depositing wastewater onto land not approved as a waste disposal site, plus a victim fine surcharge of $12,500. The company’s director was also fined $5,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $1,250, and given one year to pay. Canadian Restorations GTA Inc. was fined $25,000 for arranging the transport of wastewater that is not part of a waste management system, plus a victim fine surcharge of $6,250.

The fines were issued by the ministry in July and publicized in October.

Related Professional Development Course

Attend “Environmental Regulation & Compliance Essentials” on November 14th to learn more about environmental regulations, compliance and due diligence, including spills, discharges and environmental incidents, at the Fall CANECT Environmental Compliance and Due Diligence Essentials Conference. November 14-15, 2023 in Vaughan, Ontario, and online via Zoom. Visit www.canect.net for more information.

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