Maple Leaf Foods Inc., carrying on business as Rothsay, has been fined a total of $682,500 after pleading guilty to charges under Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA), Ontario Regulation 347 and the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA).
Rothsay recycles animal and poultry by-products, including bones, trim, fat, and offal into a broad range of commercial tallow and protein products at its plant in the City of Hamilton. The court heard that, on numerous dates during 2001, 2003 and 2004, odours emanating from various sources at the company led to complainants reporting nausea, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, terminated social events and inability to enjoy outdoor property.
The court also heard that on three occasions the company failed to provide to the ministry shipping manifests for the transportation of wastes generated at its plant, as required by regulations under the Environmental Protection Act. In addition, it further failed to comply with its Certificate of Approval, provincial officer’s orders and orders of the Environmental Review Tribunal in a number of respects relating to storm water studies, lagoon decommissioning, liquid levels in lagoons, sampling and analysis of effluent, and maintenance of effluent quality. Inspections by the ministry and public complaints resulted in investigations by the ministry’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch, which led to charges being laid against the company.
Rothsay pleaded guilty to the following 18 counts:
– Odour Causing Adverse Effects, in 2001, 2003 and 2004 (one count covering seven separate occasions);
– Failing to Return Copy One of the Manifest to the Ministry (three counts)
– Failing to submit storm water study;
– Failing to comply with a provincial officer’s order to decommission Lagoons 1 and 3;
– Failing to maintain minimum freeboard in their lagoons (three counts);
– Failing to analyze for required parameters;
– Failing to take grab sample at their clear well;
– Discharging effluent containing excessive Total Suspended Solids;
– Discharging effluent containing excessive Unionized Ammonia (three counts);
– Discharging effluent containing excessive Total Residual Chlorine in effluent;
– Discharging effluent containing excessive Biochemical Oxygen Demand (two counts).
The company was fined $450,000 for the odours emissions charge and $232,500 for the remaining 17 charges totaling $682,500, plus victim fine surcharge. The court was also told that the company has taken steps to address the numerous odour complaints received by the ministry as well as the matters involved in the other charges.
Justice of the Peace Wendy Casey heard the pleas and sentencing submissions in the Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton, Ontario. Odour complaints from the summer of 2005 are currently under investigation.
For more information visit www.ene.gov.on.ca or contact: John Steele, Communications Branch, 416-314-6666