Environmental fine round-up: Ontario construction group, landfill, greenhouse

Oil spill stock image. Photo credit: Savelight Studio, stock.adobe.com

The Ontario-based Barclay Construction Group Inc. has joined an alternative measures agreement in response to its workers depositing sediment-contaminated water into Lake Ontario from an excavation site in 2018.

Barclay’s agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada will see the company pay $175,000 to Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and make a number of improvements to worker training. All Fisheries Act charges will be stayed, as the alternative agreement presents an opportunity to avoid prosecution under the Criminal Code.

According to the federal government, an alternative agreement is designed to promote “a sense of responsibility in the offender” and an “acknowledgment of the harm done.”

The incident occurred at Hamilton Harbour in June of 2018. While Barclay was working on a wharf reconstruction project, federal climate officers were nearby conducting a training exercise at Pier 12, when they witnessed the company’s pump depositing water into the harbour.

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Tests later revealed that the contaminated water was harmful to local fish.

As part of the alternative measures agreement, Barclay also agreed to promote effective implementation of environmental management systems by identifying improvements made, and lessons learned, at an open house and a construction industry conference. The company will also develop and finalize a standard operating procedure on spill containment and cleanup, and train all field employees on this procedure.

The company was founded in 1953.

Landfill Effluent Fine 

About 30 minutes south of Hamilton, in Cayuga, Ontario, a landfill owner is also facing an environmental fine. The landfill, numbered business 2270386 Ontario Inc., was convicted under the Environmental Protection Act for exceeding the maximum concentration of ammonia nitrogen in relation to effluent parameters.

The landfill’s owners were fined $50,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $12,500, and given 60 days to pay as of January 13.

The landfill is permitted to discharge effluent from its property to the natural environment via a roadside ditch located on Brooks Road. It must stay within specific parameters for total ammonia nitrogen. The landfill had been conducting its own proactive sampling, and had concerns about ammonia levels, so management closed off the roadside discharge. It contacted Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in May of 2020 to inform them of the situation once monthly testing revealed that effluent levels were outside of established parameters.

Spill Related Fine 

Moving west to Windsor, Ontario, greenhouse company Mastron Enterprises Ltd. has also been fined $50,000 for a violation of the provincial Environmental Protection Act.

While working in the production and distribution of greenhouse-grown produce, the company is alleged to have had a malfunction in one of the hydraulic lines of a cardboard compactor, resulting in the discharge of approximately 200 litres of hydraulic oil.

The oil was released onto a concrete surface and migrated into a nearby catch basin that is part of stormwater management at the site. The catch basin leads to an underground stormwater retention tank that discharges via an automated pump system into the McDonald Drain, part of the local watershed that eventually discharges to Lake Erie, provincial officials stated.

The automated pump system was turned off to contain the oil within the stormwater management system.

The company was aware of the spill on October 24, 2019, but did not report the spill until three days later. The outcome resulted in a charge of failure to notify the ministry.

The greenhouse must also pay a victim fine surcharge of $12,500 within two months as of January 13.

Related Professional Development Course

Attend the 2023 CANECT Environmental Compliance and Due Diligence Training Event to learn more about environmental regulations, compliance, due diligence and best practices. This event takes place May 9-11, 2023 in Vaughan, Ontario. Visit www.canect.net for more information.

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