Ellsin Environmental Ltd. will be allowed to double the quantity of tires it microwaves its Sault Ste. Marie plant without any further environmental assessment work.
A regulation made Friday by Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is expected to expedite the recycler's application to increase the tires it's allowed thermally treat from the current 10 tonnes a day to 20 tonnes a day.
The decision recognizes the "extensive" environmental assessment work already done by Ellsin.
Ellsin uses microwave radiation to cook tire waste, converting it to carbon black, scrap steel, syngas and oil.
"With increased capacity, the facility is expected to result in an investment of $10 million into the community and create 15 new full-time jobs," the decision states.
"Ellsin will still need to apply for amendments to their existing air and noise and waste environmental compliance approvals to increase their recycling capacity while continuing to maintain environmental protection."
The following conditions apply to the decision exempting the company from additional environmental assessment work:
- the facility must not use coal, oil or petroleum coke as a fuel for thermal treatment,
- the waste that is subject to thermal treatment must be tire waste, and
- maximum amount of tire waste thermally treated at the facility must not exceed 20 tonnes a day.
The province said any potential environmental effects from doubling production at the Yates Ave. facility in the city's west end would be similar to existing conditions there because no new infrastructure would be built and the facility's footprint will be the same.
"Requiring Ellsin to conduct additional environmental assessment work would repeat consultation and evaluation already completed under the environmental screening process," the decision states.
Eleven comments were received about the application.
Some were favourable.
Others raised concerns about:
- impacts on human health,
- reliance on previous environmental assessment work,
- production of updated data demonstrating the emissions and releases from this facility with the changes in processing volumes,
- impacts from the thermal treatment process, and
- cumulative effects of proximity to other facilities, including Algoma Steel Inc.
"Ellsin’s Sault Ste. Marie facility is located in a heavily industrialized area near Algoma Steel Inc. and its operation is regulated by several permits and approval," the ministry said.
"Ellsin’s emissions are expected to be much lower than the neighbouring Algoma Steel facility."