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Truck Driver fined $35,000 for Environmental Protection Act Violation

Court Bulletin

Truck Driver fined $35,000 for Environmental Protection Act Violation

Convicted - Mr. Michael Wollmann

Court Location - Barrie

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

Date of Offence - During the period beginning on or about July 20, 2017 and ending on or about July 21, 2017.

Date of Conviction - March 29, 2019

Penalty Imposed - Michael Wollmann was convicted on one violation under the Environmental Protection Act and was fined $35,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $8,750 and was given 12 months to pay.

Background:

  • Michael Wollmann is a truck-driver who worked for Penner International Inc., a transportation company at the time of the violation.
  • On July 20, 2017, Mr. Wollman drove an empty Penner tractor-trailer to a Mississuaga business to pick-up twelve 1,500 kg stainless steel totes containing VORTEX WPM, a flammable solvent. All totes were equipped with valves. The totes were destined for a company in Manitoba. 
  • The twelve totes that were loaded into the trailer were not secured, and Mr. Wollmann did not inquire as to whether the totes were secured or not, before he closed the trailer doors.
  • Shortly after leaving Mississauga, the tractor-trailer was travelling northbound on Highway 400 in the vicinity of the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, when it rear-ended a pick-up truck which then swerved in front of the tractor-trailer.
  • Mr. Wollmann applied the brakes but was unable to avoid hitting the pick-up truck. The hard braking caused the unsecured totes to shift forward and collide with each other in the trailer, resulting in the valves on two totes to open, and the solvent to spill onto the trailer bed and then onto the road surface.  
  • Some of the solvent travelled off the highway and onto an adjacent construction site forcing fifteen employees to be evacuated, and several days of continued disruption during clean-up.
  • Due to the solvent's flammability and potential for explosion, a one-kilometre evacuation zone was established, and all six Highway 400 lanes were shut down for approximately 10.5 hours for clean-up and removal of the tractor-trailer. 
  • The ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid one charge which resulted in one conviction.

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