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Brantford cat litter manufacturer fined over $90,000

Local NewsBrantford cat litter manufacturer fined over $90,000

Brantford cat litter manufacturer Normerica Inc. (now Minerals Technologies) was convicted in April for violating the province’s Environmental Protection Act.

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks said the Morton Avenue plant failed to report a 200-litre pollutant spill to the Ministry when the offence occurred in August of 2019.

Normerica Inc. will now have one year to pay the $75,000 fine, plus a victim fine surcharge of $18,750 for spilling the product Clean Burst, a fragrance used in cat litter.

The incident in 2019 occurred prior to the acquisition of Normerica by Minerals Technologies.

“We cooperated with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks which investigated the spill and determined that there were no adverse impacts to water from the spill, and we have agreed to pay the fine. Minerals Technologies is committed to safe and responsible environmental practices under its ownership,” said Jennifer Albert, Director, Corporate Communications for Minerals Technologies.

The spill occurred on “or around” August 10, 2019 and was allegedly caused by a drum of Clean Burst being punctured on a loading dock.

A member of the community reported an odour described as a “cleaning product scent” to the ministry on August 14, 2019. The smell caused irritation of the eyes and throat while in the plant’s vicinity.

When ministry staff contacted the Normerica Plant Manager the next day to advise of the odour, they were told that the company had not “run anything scent-wise” the previous day.

Nearby businesses continued to contact both the ministry and Normerica for the following days to report an odour similar to Irish Spring soap.

The Plant Manager said they investigated again and determined it was unlikely to have been caused by the plant’s operations.

Fast forward to September 11, 2019 when a nearby business reported a foamy substance with a soapy odour emerging from a sewer drain on their property.

When ministry staff visited, it was determined that the odour was the same as the original complaints made in August. In addition to the smell, the ministry staff observed a catch basin

and ditch on Normerica’s property with the same foam reported earlier.

“Laboratory analysis of three samples obtained by the ministry on September 11, 2019, from the storm sewer outfall and the catch basin on plant property confirmed the presence of components of Clean Burst in all three samples,” the ministry reported.

That same day, Normerica’s Plant Manager advised an Inspector with the City of Brantford about the August 10 spill and only then did it get reported it to the Spills Action Centre after a month.

“A search of ministry records confirmed that no spill was reported from Normerica’s plant between August 10, 2019, and September 10, 2019.”

Clean Burst is classified as a Combustible Liquid that may cause allergic skin reaction, irritation or asthma-like symptoms after inhalation, eye irritation from eye contact, and nausea and vomiting following ingestion.

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