Ontario suspends environmental compliance approval for company

Benzene emissions at employer's site near Aamjiwnaang First Nation was above acceptable levels, says Ontario ministry

Ontario suspends environmental compliance approval for company

The Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks has suspended the environment compliance approval (ECA) of one employer for violations of benzene emissions.

Ineos Styrolution has been told to reduce benzene emissions at its site located near Aamjiwnaang First Nation settlement.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation had previously said citizens are getting sick and that there were high emissions of the cancer-causing substance from Ineos Styrolution, according to a report from The Canadian Press.

On Wednesday, the ministry officially suspended the employer’s ECA.

"This action will ensure the facility, currently shut down for maintenance, fully addresses the causes and sources of emissions," Gary Wheeler, spokesperson of the ministry, wrote in a statement late Wednesday, according to both CBC and The Canadian Press.

Now, the employer must ensure that its facility meets certain conditions, including suspending production operations at the facility, removing all benzene storage from the site, repairing leaky equipment, installing full vapour control on vessels containing benzene, and implementing a comprehensive benzene monitoring and community notification plan.

"We will continue to closely monitor the company’s progress with meeting the requirements of the provincial orders, as well as actions required by the amended ECA," the ministry wrote. 

"The company will be required to complete these actions and submit a startup plan to the ministry for review before they can resume their normal operations."

On Tuesday INEOS Styrolution said it has five "state of the art" and "official" monitors at its Sarnia site and in the area, according to the CBC report.

"We have reviewed all data for the period concerned and we can confirm that our monitors recorded no emissions outside our prescribed limits," the company said, according to the report.