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Ontario fines Suncor Energy $475,000 for Environmental Protection Act violations

Christian Fernsby |
Suncor Energy Inc. was convicted of one violation under the Environmental Protection Act and was fined $475,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $118,750, with 90 days to pay the fine.

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In addition, a probation order was issued to Suncor Energy Inc. to send payment of $200,000 to the Aamjiwnaang First Nations within 24 hours to be used for environmental purposes.

Suncor operates a refinery in Sarnia that processes crude oil and is located directly adjacent to the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reserve lands. On March 15, 2018, Suncor experienced a partial emergency shutdown on-site, which eventually resulted in Total Reduced Sulphur compounds being discharged into the atmosphere.

Total Reduced Sulphur compounds are composed of hydrogen sulphide and other sulphur containing compounds which have a strong nauseous rotten egg odour that can be detected by humans at very low concentrations.

The ministry instructed Suncor to take air samples. Modelling of the air samples confirmed the presence of total reduced sulphur compounds at levels slightly above the Ministry's standard.

The event affected the Aamjiwnaang First Nation residential community and resulted in approximately 12 odour complaints with callers complaining of a strong rotten egg odour and the need to stay indoors, and reported symptoms such as burning eyes and headache.

The ministry's Environmental Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges which resulted in one conviction.

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