Sulfonate producer Chemtura Canada Inc. has been fined $150,000 after a pump failure at its Scarborough, Ontario facility discharged sulphuric acid into the environment.
The plant produces sulfonates and silicates used in lubes, industrial oil formulations and greases, according to an announcement from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
The ministry stated that the release of the sulphuric acid caused adverse impacts to the surrounding environment and community. People exposed to the mist reported health impacts.
Area businesses were shut down, people in the area were evacuated, and a number of schools in the area were impacted.
“Environmental protection legislation protects communities and the environment. Breaking these rules can result in serious penalties and is an offence the Ministry takes very seriously,” said Environment Minister Jim Bradley in the December 2012 announcement to media.
The company was fined $150,000 plus the victim fine surcharge of $37,500 and was given 90 days to pay the fine.
On May 14, 2012, Chemtura Canada made headlines when the company pled guilty to a 2010 spill at its Emira plant near Waterloo. The spill forced BLE-25 and acetone into the natural environment. BLE-25 contains diphenylamine (DPA) and is used as an antioxidant to manufacture rubber products.
The offence under the Environmental Protection Act left Chemtura with a $150,000 fine issued by the province.
The spill resulted in black particulate fallout in Elmira. At the time, company officials said the impact stretched about 1.5 kilometres in a southwest line from the site.
Chemtura Canada spent $1.7 million cleaning up the spill and paying for property damage. The company also implemented preventive measures, including addition of a dedicated operator to run the BLE-25 process.
At the time of the 2010 spill, Chemtura manager of environment health and safety, Dwight Este, exlained how the accident occurred.
“At a certain pressure, the system gives way and that’s when the material was released from a vent into the atmosphere,” Este said. “That’s the design of the system. It prevents the vessel from rupturing.”