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Biofuels Company and Non-Profit fined $77,500 for Ontario Water Resource Act (OWRA) Violations

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Biofuels Company and Non-Profit fined $77,500 for Ontario Water Resource Act (OWRA) Violations

Sarnia - Woodland Biofuels Inc. and The University of Western Ontario Research and Development Park, pleaded guilty to one offence each and were fined a total of $77,500 for permitting the discharge of waste water into a storm water system that discharged into Perch Creek, contrary to the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA).

The University Research Park, Sarnia Lambton Campus, is located at 1086 Modeland Rd. in Sarnia. It is owned and managed by the County of Lambton Community Development Corporation (CLCDC), which is a federal, not for profit, corporation.

Woodland Biofuels Inc. is an Ontario corporation that leased facility space in the Research Park in June 2012.Woodland is an early stage company that operates a pilot plant facility. Woodland's pilot facility is helping to develop the production of ethanol from waste biomass with the goal of creating an efficient, low cost, environmentally friendly alternative energy source.

On August 26, 2013, Woodland started a test run of the new facility

On August 27, 2013, a Woodland employee identified a naphthalene odour emanating from the plant, and contacted the Park's environmental consultant. On the following day, the consultant advised Woodland to shut down the test run.

On August 30, 2013, Woodland, the Research Park and the environmental consultant staff searched for the odour source, and discovered that the p's process waste water was discharging to the storm water sewer system, as the process discharge had mistakenly connected to the storm water sewer system, rather than to the sanitary sewage system.he process water composition was inappropriate for discharge to the sanitary sewage system

Water from a rainfall on August 27/28, mixed with the process water filled the storm water pond to capacity and by-passed the pond, discharging directly to Perch Creek.  The wastewater discharged by Woodland may have impaired the water quality as it contained petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, PAHs, high pH and conductivity, and a significantly elevated Chemical Oxygen Demand.

Sampling of water in the creek determined that naphthalene concentrations exceeded acute toxicity thresholds and styrene exceeded concentrations that could result in tainting of fish.

On November 24, 2015, Woodland Biofuels Inc. and The University of Western Ontario Research and Development Park (Sarnia-Lambton Campus) were convicted of one offence, each. Woodland was fined $42,500 plus a victim fine surcharge of $10,625, and the Research Park was fined $35,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $8,750. Both parties were given 90 days to pay the fines.

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