Buckham Transport Limited, a registered carrier of hazardous waste, was recently fined $120,000 following a guilty plea to three offences under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA):
- Providing false or misleading information to a Provincial Officer;
- Failing to transport waste to the receiving facility named on manifest; and
- Failing to comply with a Ministry order.
In July 2011, a fire broke out in a bin used to bulk together solid hazardous wastes at Buckham’s waste transfer and processing facility. This prompted the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to issue an order prohibiting Buckham from bulking solid hazardous waste until its concerns had been addressed.
According to the MOECC press release, Buckham failed to comply with this Order:
On or about September 7, 2011, Buckham employees violated the order when they bulked together solid hazardous wastes consisting of paint cans, in the hazardous solid waste mixing bin where the fire had started in July, 2011. The waste remained in the bin until September 12, 2011, when it was discovered by ministry staff during an inspection.
Buckham also provided false information to a Provincial Officer about its attempts to address the MOECC’s concerns regarding historic waste at the site:
Prior to this ministry staff had met with Buckham on August 12, 2011, to discuss the company’s failure to comply with a condition of its Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) that required the removal of historical waste from the site by August 10, 2011. Following discussions with Buckham, on August 17, 2011, the MOECC provided an extended deadline of November 30, 2011 for the removal of the historical waste.
On December 1, 2011, a Provincial Officer communicated with Buckham’s Regulatory Compliance Officer who confirmed that all the historical waste had been removed from the site. This statement was false and misleading. Starting on November 29, 2011, Buckham loaded the historical waste onto five trailers and hauled the trailers to various locations, including a parking lot in Ajax. However, all of these trailers with the historical waste were eventually returned to the Buckham site, the first returning on November 29, 2011 and the last on December 7, 2011. Buckham did not advise the ministry that all of the historical waste had been returned to its site.
Lastly, the manifests Buckham used to transport the historic waste were not correct:
The manifests for two of the trailers of the historical waste named a facility in Quebec as the receiving facility for the waste. The trailers were never taken to the facility in Quebec. Instead, they were left in a parking lot in Ajax for five days, then hauled to a facility in Kingston, and finally returned to Buckham’s site on December 7, 2011.
All three are serious offences, however fines for providing false information can be particularly severe; the minimum fines for a corporation for a first conviction is $25,000, and the maximum fine is $6,000,000.