Ontario food manufacturer fined for offences relating to discharging process water

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On January 17, 2018, Sun-Brite Foods Inc. was convicted of two offences under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA), and one offence under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), relating to the discharge of process water, said Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Sun-Brite operates a facility on County Road 34 in Kingsville, Ontario, canning foods including vegetables and tomatoes.

According to the MOECC, the incident occurred between September 18–28, 2015. Ministry staff responding to complaints regarding sewer odour in a municipal drain, observed a flowing discharge that was black-grey in colour, warm and had a sulphur odour.

The MOECC said samples were taken at the municipal drain and were tested for toxicity and general chemistry. Results indicated that the waters were toxic for Daphnia Magna and Trout, and were therefore impaired by the discharge. The ministry’s Spills Action Centre was notified, but said no spill had been reported to them directly.

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According to the MOECC, Sun-Brite was notified, and representatives of the company came to the drain where one representative confirmed Sun-Brite had been having problems with their wastewater treatment plant.

The MOECC said it asked Sun-Brite to stop all discharges immediately, and to commence clean-up, which they did. The incident was then referred to the MOECC’s Investigations and and Enforcement branch, resulting in charges and a conviction through a guilty plea.

The conviction relates to permitting the discharge of process water into the Melville Bruner Drain extension, which may have impaired the quality of the water, failing to notify the ministry, and failing to comply with the terms of a ministry issued Amended Environmental Compliance Approval. Sun-Brite was fined a total of $230,000 plus Victim Fine Surcharge of $57,500 and was given one year to pay the fine, according to the MOECC.

For more information, visit: www.news.ontario.ca

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