Quebec company faces wastewater fine; Ontario landfill leachate spill


A Quebec-based tofu producer has been fined more than $76,000 for moving ahead with facility upgrades, including a new wastewater treatment system, prior to obtaining provincial approval.

Unisoya Inc. was recently found guilty of two offenses under the Environment Quality Act (EQA) for the upgrades made in Saint-Isidore during February 2018 and November 2021.

According to a press release from Quebec Ministry of Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, the company moved ahead with the installation of wastewater treatment devices at the facility in 2018 prior to submitting plans and specifications to the minister for authorization under article 32 of the EQA.

Additionally, Unisoya moved forward with the installation of three new food production lines in 2021 prior to obtaining ministry approval. The lines were installed just over a month after the company dealt with the challenge of an organic tofu recall due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

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Ontario Landfill Leachate Spill 

Waste Management of Canada Corp and Sutcliffe Septic Services Ltd. were recently convicted of one violation under the Environmental Protection Act in relation to a leachate spill at the “Richmond Landfill Site” in the Town of Greater Napanee.

The site has been closed and capped and has a liquid leachate collection system that includes two sump chambers. When leachate levels are high, the landfill would typically transport the waste to the local wastewater treatment plant; however, due to high precipitation levels in January of 2020, the plant was not able to accept transfers.

According to a Court Bulletin from Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the landfill owners decided to pump some 13,000 litres of the industrial leachate from the sump chambers into a septic truck, then haul it to a temporary storage lagoon for safe discharge. Due to the wet conditions, the septic truck driver stopped before reaching the lagoon because he was concerned the loaded truck would get stuck in the field.

The driver contacted a Waste Management employee on site to advise that he could not reach the lagoon, but also needed to unload the truck quickly in order to get to another appointment. After some discussion, the employee directed the truck driver to discharge the leachate from the truck onto the ground in a field. The leachate fully infiltrated the ground along a tree line in an unapproved area to the north on the property, according to provincial officials.

Two days later, Waste Management reported the leachate discharge incident to the Kingston District Office for the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. It was investigated by the Ministry’s Environmental Investigation and Enforcement Branch, and resulted in charges being laid and the conviction.

When alerted of the intentional spill, local residents expressed concern over the field’s proximity to the headwaters of the Moira Creek.

Waste Management was fined $120,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $30,000 and given 90 days to pay. Sutcliffe Septic Services Ltd. was fined $25,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $6,250 and given 120 days to pay.

Related Professional Development Courses

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