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Fertilizer Producer fined $90,000 for Ammonia Spill in Violation of the Environmental Protection Act

Court Bulletin

Fertilizer Producer fined $90,000 for Ammonia Spill in Violation of the Environmental Protection Act

Convicted - Terra International (Canada) Inc.

Court Location - Sarnia

Description of Offence -  The conviction relates to the discharge of a contaminant (ammonia) into the natural environment, which caused an adverse effect.

Date of Offence - On or about August 11, 2016.

Date of Conviction - January 15, 2019

Penalty Imposed - Terra International (Canada) Inc. was convicted of one offence under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and was fined $90,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $22,500 with 120 days to pay.

Background - 

  • Terra International (Canada) Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of CF Industries and operates a facility in St. Clair Township where it produces ammonia and urea products. The company serves both agricultural and industrial customers.
  • On August 11, 2016, the company reported an ammonia gas release to the ministry's Spills Action Centre. It was subsequently determined that approximately 8.57 tonnes of liquid ammonia was released and contained, which resulted in a release of 997 kilograms of ammonia gas to the air over a two-hour period.
  • Terra conducted a root cause analysis which concluded that a previously unknown mechanical deficiency in an ammonia pump resulted in the failure of a vent pipe containing liquid ammonia.
  • The ammonia release resulted in various adverse effects including the closure of nearby roads for approximately one hour. In addition, two reports were received alleging odours, with one of those alleging irritation; a third report alleged irritation, nausea and difficulty breathing; and employees at one neighbouring company reported evacuating for approximately two hours.
  • The ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid one charge resulting in one conviction.

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