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Sarnia Refinery Plant fined $650,000 for Environmental Protection Act (EPA) Violation

Court Bulletin

Sarnia Refinery Plant fined $650,000 for Environmental Protection Act (EPA) Violation

Convicted - Imperial Oil Limited

Location - Sarnia

Description of Offence - The conviction relates to permitting the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment that caused an adverse effect.

Date of Offence - June 11, 2015

Date of Conviction - May 15, 2018

Penalty Imposed - Imperial Oil Limited (IOL) was convicted of one offence under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), and fined $650,000 plus a Victim Fine Surcharge (VFS) of $162,500 with six months to pay the fine. 

Background -  

  • IOL operates a refinery plant on Christina St. S. in Sarnia, which processes crude oil into a range of petroleum products.
  • The refinery plant includes a coker unit, which processes coker stabilizer thermocracked gas (coker gas). Coker gas is comprised of a complex combination of hydrocarbons.
  • On June 11, 2015, the company experienced a release of coker gas and coker gas condensate from the coker unit. Approximately 750 kg of coker gas and as much as 1,500 litres of coker gas condensate were released from the coker unit to the air over a duration of approximately 3 minutes.
  • Adverse effects included three contractors working in the area experiencing burning eyes and difficulty breathing. Vehicles and structures in the area were also impacted by coker gas condensate droplets that were cleaned at IOL's expense.
  • The company provided a final report to the ministry on January 28, 2016 on the cause of the incident.  As a result,  the company reviewed and modified its preventative maintenance procedures in order to prevent a reoccurrence.
  • The incident was referred to the ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch, and following an investigation charges were laid resulting in a conviction.

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Environment and Energy