Just weeks before the surprise exit of a company hoping to build a hazardous waste recycling facility in Chilliwack, the company’s name was added to the federal “Environment Offenders Registry.”
Aevitas Inc. had faced stiff opposition as it pursued plans to build the facility in the Cannor industrial lands near the Fraser River for more than a year. However, during that time it always maintained its safety record was impeccable.
But according to an Environment Canada press release issued last month, Aevitas and a company it had earlier contracted but now owns, was fined a total of $87,000 for a PCB spill that had occurred in February of 2012 in Saskatoon.
In Saskatchewan provincial court on January 14, 2015, both companies – Custom Environmental Services Ltd., and Aevitas Inc. – entered guilty pleas to an offence under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, resulting from a spill of oil containing PCBs.
On April 1, 2015, sentencing resulted in penalties of $50,000 for Custom Environmental Services Ltd. and $37,000 for Aevitas Inc. The two companies had been charged following the discovery of a spill of approximately 100 litres of oil containing PCBs from a tractor trailer at a weigh scale near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on February 2, 2012.
At the time of the incident, Custom Environmental Services Ltd. was a separate corporate entity, transporting a shipment on behalf of Aevitas Inc. The company has since been acquired by Aevitas Inc.
Environment Canada’s enforcement officers conducted an on-site inspection and determined that an oil-like substance was leaking from the wooden floor of the trailer.
A subsequent investigation by Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch revealed that the truck lacked a proper secondary containment system to prevent oil containing concentrations of PCBs from being released into the environment. A lab analysis confirmed that the oil released contained concentrations of PCBs at approximately 200,000 times the minimum allowable level under PCB regulations.
As a result of the conviction, the companies’ names were added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
The combined penalties of $87,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, the ministry said.