A former director of a company was heavily fined in a Haileybury court last month for failing to comply with a provincial environment ministry order to properly maintain a contaminated site.
Grant Erlick was convicted of four violations under the Environmental Protection Act and fined $10,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $2,500.
At the time of the violations, Grant Erlick was a former officer and director of Mansteel New Liskeard at the time of the violations which took place from April 2018 and October 2019.
The site in question is the former Uniboard landfill, part of a 38-acre brownfield property on Lakeshore Road South in Haileybury in the City of Temiskaming Shores.
Mansteel purchased the shuttered forest products mill property in 2012.
The date of conviction was Oct. 7. The provincial government issued the news release on Nov. 5.
The convictions listed in the release include failing to install a flow measuring device for operation of a sewage works, failing to hire a professional engineer to oversee ordered work items, and failing to provide an operations manual and annual report for the leachate collection system.
Erlick has a year to pay the fine.
The property operated as a fibreboard and particleboard plant until it was permanently closed in 2005, but has been used for industrial activity for more than a century.
According to the ministry, the site contains an old wood waste landfill that generates leachate, a leachate collection and irrigation system, evaporation pond and an incomplete sewage works for the treatment of collected leachate, which included two pumping stations.
Upon acquiring the property in 2012, Mansteel took over responsibility for the management and monitoring of the landfill.
Mansteel is also required by a 2014 ministry decision to design, build, install, operate and maintain a sewage works for the collection, treatment and disposal of leachate. The company was supposed to install a leachate treatment system, provide monitoring reports and samples to the ministry, along with an action plan by a certain deadline.
They failed to do so, and in 2016 Mansteel pleaded guilty to two offences to failing to comply with a ministry order and were fined $9,000 with a victim fine surcharge of $2,250.
On December 1 and 15, 2017, ministry staff were at the site and observed a number of serious problems including a non-operational pumping station, leachate seeps emanating from areas near both pumping stations, leachate discharging from leaks in the piping of one pumping station, and insufficient freeboard at the evaporation pond.
On March 22, 2018, the ministry issued a Director's Order to Erlick, as a former director of Mansteel, as well as to Mansteel and the current company directors.
The Environmental Protection Act gives the ministry the authority to issue orders to former directors of a company, even when the individual does not have current management and control, as was the case with Erlick, the ministry said in its release.
Erlick appealed the 2018 order to the Environmental Review Tribunal, which was dismissed by the tribunal on July 2, 2019.
The environment ministry’s Environmental Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges which resulted in four convictions.
The ministry said other charges against the company and current directors are pending.