Scott Environmental Group Ltd. Fined $125,000 For Compliance ViolationsKINGSTON – On May 10, 2011, Scott Environmental Group Limited was fined $125,000 for failing to comply with conditions of a provisional Certificate of Approval by receiving unacceptable biosolid waste and accepting daily waste in greater quantities than permitted.
The Court heard that the company provides industrial and environmental services and is located in Kingston. It was discovered that on multiple occasions, the company had been receiving biosolids that exceeded the allowable metal limits as set out in the Environmental Protection Act. Additionally, on July 19, 2010, ministry staff attended the company site and confirmed that biosolids were being stored outside, contrary to ministry requirements to have all handling done indoors to control and reduce odours.
Also, on July 5, 2010 the company exceeded its limit of 100 tonnes of biosolids per day, contrary to its Certificate of Approval.
The company was charged following an investigation by the ministry’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch.
The company was fined a total of $125,000 plus victim fine surcharges and given 14 months to pay.
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Ministry fines Norterra
By Elliot Ferguson The Whig-Standard
Posted 4 months ago
A Kingston company was fined $125,000 Tuesday after pleading guilty to four environmental charges.
Scott Environmental Group pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to reject waste product containing unacceptable levels of heavy metals, one count of storing, loading and processing waste product outside, and one count of taking more than the maximum 100 tonnes amount of waste it is allowed to accept in a day.
In a joint submission, lawyers from the Ministry of the Environment and Scott Environmental agreed the company would pay the fines within the next 14 months.
The charges were laid after violations by the company's subsidiary, Norterra Organics, a company located in Joyceville that manufactures compost for commercial and residential use.
"This has been a very difficult journey," said Scott's attorney, Jeff Paine.
The charges result from five truckloads of biosolids Norterra accepted from Ottawa in early 2009, around the time Norterra opened, and about 1,600 tonnes of sludge the company removed from the Brockville sewage lagoons in mid-2010.
Paine said the charges were the result of Norterra staff misinterpreting the results of tests done on biosolids.
Concentrations of heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, mercury and molybdenum were found to be higher after water was removed from the biosolids.
Paine said the general manager at the time of the incidents is no longer with the company.
A chemist has been hired to monitor contaminant levels in the materials brought into the plant and compost being sold to the public.
"Mistakes were made, no question about that," Paine said.
"Changes have been made."
Most of the compost was sold to be spread on an Oshawa-area farm, but a handful of local residents also purchased the material.
The company was able to prevent the spreading of the biosolids in Oshawa and has expressed a willingness to help local residents clean up their properties, Paine said.
"It's a very, very serious charge. It affects peoples' health," said Ineke Garofalo, one of the residents who used the tainted compost.
Garofalo ordered a truckload of the compost and put a 15-cm deep layer on her garden.
"I was very upset because I garden organically. To hear there could be heavy metals in the garden really upset me," she said.
After she finished covering her garden, Garofalo had compost left over so she gave it to friends and family for their gardens.
Those gardens could also be contaminated now.
Garofalo said she has had good contact with the environment ministry and she said she was pleased the government pursued charges against the company.
"As the employer, you have to keep an eye on what your employees are doing," she said.