Chemtura Canada, a chemical manufacturing company in Elmira, Ontario, was fined $150,00 for discharging 4200 kg of BLE-25 and 112 kg of acetone into the air.
BLE-25 contains diphenylamine (DPA), and is used as an antioxidant in manufacture of some rubber products. A closed vent resulted in pressure buildup and release of the chemicals via a pressure relief mechanism. Although alarms had gone off for 30 minutes during the spill, no one at the plant responded. Black particles fell on the company site as well as off-site.
Chemtura staff alerted residents who were home when the spill occurred and later notified the Fire Department, which sent out a telephone alert to notify residents impacted by the spill and to advise them to minimize contact with BLE-25. The public health department released a fact sheet to the public advising them to avoid contact with toys and lawn furniture that may have been kept outside on the day of the spill, and to avoid eating fruit and vegetables that were in their gardens or orchards that day.
Black spots of BLE-25 were found on homes, vehicles, children’s toys, outdoor plants and lawn furniture, and in pools. Trace levels of DPA from the spill were found on tree leaves, grass, parsley and apples. The spill impacted 220 homes and 270 vehicles.
The company, which had multiple prior convictions related to discharges, was fined $150,000 + 25% Victim Fine Surcharge (total $187,500). It spent a further $1.7 million cleaning up the spill and paying for property damage. As well, Chemtura implemented preventive measures, including addition of a dedicated operator to run the BLE-25 process.