Following a guilty plea in December 2015, Essroc Canada
Inc., a cement manufacturer, based in Picton Bay, Ontario, was
fined a total of $200,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge (an
additional $50,000). This was for causing a discharge of dust into
the natural environment and for failing to forthwith notify the
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change ("MOECC") of
The investigation conducted by the MOECC, which eventually led
to the charges, was triggered by complaints from area residents.
Essroc notified the MOECC of visible dust emissions being emitted
from its facility on April 5, 2013. However, it did so about 3
1/2 hours after the dust emissions were discovered.
Later that same day, Essroc madea second call to the MOECC with
complete spill information. During the second call to the MOECC,
Essroc reported that the discharge had continued for approximately
7 hours.The delayed reporting "flies in the face" of the
reporting obligations set out in the Environmental Protection Act
(EPA), requiring that persons in control of the contaminant to
notify government agencies "forthwith" and do everything
practicable to remediate the spill and restore the natural
environment. A contaminant is broadly defined to include dust.
The EPA states that "Every person having control of a
pollutant that is spilled and every person who spills or causes or
permits a spill of a pollutant shall forthwith notify ... the
Ministry." There are no minimum reportable quantities.
Thiscase an importantreminder to companies on the importance of
reporting any spills immediately to the MOECC.
This was the second major fine for Essroc in 2015 for dust
emissions. In April 2015, Essroc pleaded guilty to discharging dust into the
natural environment and for failing to ensure that noise emissions
complied with its Environmental Compliance Approval. The total fine
in that case was $350,000 plus the Victim Fine Surcharge.
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