Imperial Oil Limited fined $300,000 for spill into the St. Clair River

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Imperial Oil Limited fined $300,000 for spill into the St. Clair River

SARNIA, ON, Aug. 16 - Imperial Oil Limited was fined $300,000 after pleading guilty to one count under the Fisheries Act and was given 30 days to pay the fine. Imperial Oil Limited owns and operates a petroleum refinery along the east shore of the St. Clair River in Sarnia, Ontario. In the early morning hours of February 1, 2004, an analyzer alarm located on company property sounded indicating the presence of hydrocarbons in effluent being discharged from the refinery into the St. Clair River. It was later determined that a ketone discharge had occurred. A subsequent investigation by the Ministry of the Environment's Investigation and Enforcement Branch estimated that the total duration of the hydrocarbon discharge was 129 minutes and the total ketone discharge into the St. Clair River was 85,700 kg. The St. Clair River is a waterway frequented by fish such as walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, rock bass, lake trout, carp, Chinook salmon and others. While there were no observations of lethality to fish populations in the St. Clair River due to this spill, laboratory testing confirmed that a discharge of ketones at this duration and exposure concentration rendered the effluent deleterious to fish and it would degrade water quality. Because the ketones are soluble in water, non-persistent and do not bio-magnify, long term effects are not expected. Imperial Oil Limited was charged with permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance, namely methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) into the St. Clair River which is frequented by fish contrary to section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act thereby committing an offence under section 40(2) of the said Act. On August 16, 2005 Justice John L. Menzies heard sentencing submissions and rendered his decision in the Ontario Court of Justice in Sarnia, Ontario. Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.ene.gov.on.caFor further information: Mark Rabbior, Communications Branch, (416) 314-6084