Essroc Canada Inc. (Essroc) was fined $350,000 for discharging dust into the natural environment and for failing to ensure that noise emissions complied with its Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) contrary to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), according to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
Essroc’s Picton cement manufacturing facility is surrounded by residential and agricultural properties. The company operates under an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA), issued by Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, which regulates all air emissions from the site.
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 plant 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 20 percent, for periods of at least six consecutive minutes.
Essroc pleaded guilty to discharging particulate or dust into the environment on Nov. 12, 2011, Nov. 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 was fined $350,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $87,500 and was given 90 days to pay the fine.