Essroc Canada Inc. was fined $350,000, plus the victim fine surcharge of $87,500, for dust and noise from its cement manufacturing facility near Picton. The fine was suggested jointly by the company and by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Essroc pleaded guilty to discharging dust on three days and to emitting too much noise for several months, contrary to its Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). Section 14 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) prohibits the discharge of contaminants into the natural environment if the discharge causes or may cause an adverse effect. This offence carries minimum fines for both companies and individuals.
According to the MOECC’s News Release:
On various dates between November, 2011, and April, 2012, the ministry received complaints regarding discharges of particulate emissions described as a brownish gray dust, haze, fog, smoke or smog, coming from the Essroc factory and coating personal property and area homes. During this period, the business had also notified the ministry’s Spills Action Centre (SAC) of opacity exceedances and had subsequently filed written reports to this fact. Opacity is defined as an air emission that obstructs the passage of light by more than twenty per cent, for periods of at least six consecutive minutes.
Essroc pleaded guilty to discharging particulate or dust into the environment on November 12, 2011; November 20, 2011, and April 8, 2012, by, which caused an adverse effect, namely loss of enjoyment of normal use of property.
Between March, 2012, and June, 2012, the ministry also received complaints about excessive noise that occurred both day and night and affected local residents. Further inspection by the ministry, indicated that the noise was generated by heat exchanger fans, causing a specific tonal frequency and noise levels in excess of applicable sound limits.
Essroc also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the ministry’s noise guidelines as required by their ECA from March 14, 2012, to June 21, 2012.
The company had previous convictions.