On November 28, 2019 Clean Harbors Canada Inc., (“Clean Harbors”) pled guilty to violating the Environmental Protection Act on June 12, 2017 due to the discharge of a contaminant, namely smoke into the natural environment, and was fined $100,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge.
The company owns and operates a waste disposal site located in the County of Lambton situated outside of the City of Sarnia. This waste disposal site represents Ontario’s only government-licensed hazardous waste disposal site (“Landfill Site”).
Clean Harbors is a hazardous waste management company having two locations in Ontario: a Mississauga transfer station facility; and the Lambton Landfill Site. The Mississauga transfer facility is a hazardous waste terminal and transfer station that receives, handles and transports flammable solids being transported to the United States for incineration.
The Lambton Landfill Site receives materials from the Mississauga transfer station that are transported to the Lambton Landfill Site for the purposes of waste neutralization, incineration of hazardous waste, inorganic pre-treatment of hazardous waste, thermal desorption of solid and sludge, and/or landfill disposal of hazardous waste. The Landfill Site is situated in natural clay and accepts a variety of hazardous waste. The Lambton Landfill Site operates under Environmental Compliance Approval number A032806. The landfill portion of the site is only one of several services offered at the property. The Landfill Site occupies approximately 56 hectares of the entire 121-hectare licenced property. The Lambton Landfill Site started accepting waste in or around 1969.
On June 12, 2017 employees discovered a small fire in one of the waste piles deposited in a cell at the Landfill Site. The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks reported that a fire occurred as a result waste material, specifically filter cloth soaked with coolants, oils and fine metal particles located at the Landfill Site. A residential property located approximately 300 metres northeast of the Landfill Site was impacted by the smoke. Smoke is considered a contaminant under the Environmental Protection Act.
According to company employees the waste material was to be kept wet. The MECP found that the company had failed to adequately monitor the material that day. St. Clair Township fire officials said that the material was non-toxic and not considered a regulated product.