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Waste Oil Refinery fined $100,000 for Environmenal Protection Act Violation

Court Bulletin

Waste Oil Refinery fined $100,000 for Environmenal Protection Act Violation

Convicted - Safety Kleen Canada Inc.

Court Location - Kitchener

Description of Offence - The conviction relates to discharging a contaminant into the natural environment which may cause an adverse effect. 

Date of Offence - During the period on or about October 23, 2017.

Date of Conviction - July 29, 2019

Penalty Imposed - Safety Kleen Canada Inc. was convicted of one violation under the Environment Protection Act and was fined $100,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $25,000 with 90 days to pay the fine.

Background: 

  • Safety-Kleen Canada, Inc. is the owner/operator of a waste oil refinery located in the Township of Woolwich.
  • On October 23, 2017, company employees were performing routine maintenance at the site, which involved the transfer of spent oil derivatives that contained sulphur compounds from a distillation tank into a vacuum truck.
  • During that process, sulphur compounds contained in the oil generated odours that were discharged to the air through the exhaust port on the vacuum truck.
  • As a result, a strong 'rotten egg' odour like that experienced during a natural gas discharge spread across residential neighbourhoods in nearby communities.
  • The odour discharge resulted in over 100 separate complaints from area residents and business owners to the ministry, local fire departments, and Union Gas.
  • While the matter was being investigated, the Woolwich Fire Department directed the Breslau Public School (located approximately 2 kilometres north of the site) to shut off ventilation intake, close all doors and windows, and have the children 'shelter in place' as a precaution.
  • The ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid a charge which resulted in the conviction.

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