Burlington Firm Fined $ 130,000 For Arnprior Blasting Offences
Perth - Austin Powder Ltd. has been fined $130,000 after pleading guilty to discharging fly rock from a quarry blasting site into the natural environment causing off-site impacts and failing to report the discharges, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act.
"Our environmental legislation protects communities and the environment. Breaking these rules is an offence the ministry takes very seriously and can result in serious penalties", said Environment Minister Jim Bradley.
Austin Powder Ltd. is a New Brunswick company with an Ontario office located in Burlington. The company provides quarry blasting services in Ontario and specializes in explosives and blasting. In the summer of 2009, Austin Powder Ltd. was contracted to provide quarry blasting services to a company that owns and operates a limestone quarry near Arnprior, Ontario. The quarry is licensed under the Aggregates Resources Act.
On July 20 and 23, 2009 during blasting fly rock was discharged beyond the control area of 200 metres. In the first incident, a small rock struck a worker at a neighbouring business on the arm. In the second incident, rocks were observed flying well beyond the control area. A scale house located 230 metres from the blast was struck by a number of rocks. Two vehicles held at a controlled stop along nearby Young Road on the edge of the quarry property located about 300 metres from the blast were also struck by rock resulting in extensive damage. There were no injuries even though the blast damaged property and impaired the safety of people.
The ministry launched an investigation and found that the blasting was conducted by Austin Powder Ltd.'s lead blaster, and that the incidents were not forthwith reported to the ministry. It was also later determined that the control zone should have been 500 metres for blasting of this nature at the quarry.
Austin Powder Ltd. was fined $65,000 on each of the two offences for a total of $130,000 plus victim fine surcharges totalling to $32,500. The company was given six months to pay the fine