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Waste management companies fined $87,000 for PCB spill

Charges stem from a 2012 incident near Saskatoon involving a tractor trailer leak.


SASKATOON — The Saskatchewan provincial court have fined two waste management firms penalties totalling $87,000 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act for an oil spill containing toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Custom Environmental Services Ltd. and Aevitas Inc. were charged following the discovery of a spill of approximately 100 litres of oil from a tractor trailer at a weigh scale near Saskatoon in February 2012.

PCBs are toxic industrial chemicals, which were used in the manufacturing of electrical equipment, heat exchangers, and hydraulic systems, often to keep the units from overheating. They’ve been shown to cause harm in aquatic ecosystems and in species that eat from them.

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 enforcement officers determined that an oil-like substance was leaking from the wooden floor of the trailer after an on-site inspection.

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. A lab analysis confirmed that the oil released contained concentrations of PCBs at approximately 200,000 times the minimum level subject to a prohibition.

Both companies will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry as a result of the conviction. The penalties will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF).

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