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Windsor company, 38 Chatham Street East Ltd., pleaded guilty to discharging anhydrous ammonia into the natural environment, which interfered with the normal conduct of business, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act of Ontario.

Workers renovating the basement tried to remove a 1930s refrigeration tank, which caused it to leak anhydrous ammonia. This triggered the evacuation of nearby businesses and a traffic diversion, and caused health impacts: one person had headaches, and another was hospitalized for observation.

Firefighters were only able to slow the spill, not stop it.  The company declined to pay the price charged by private companies to stop the spill. The leak therefore continued for 20 hours, until the tank was empty.   Ammonia levels fluctuated from minimal to over 300 ppm.

The fine: $25,000 + 25% VFS (Total $31,250)


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