Prince George Citizen
Monday, 08 December 2008
Penalties imposed on Marsulex for 2006 sulphur-dioxide release
By PAUL STRICKLAND, Citizen staff
Marsulex Inc. was fined a total of $2,000 plus a 15-per-cent impact surcharge Monday after pleading guilty to two environmental counts in connection with the release of a concentrated plume of sulphur dioxide from its Prince George plant on Aug. 9, 2006….
On the morning of Aug. 9, 2006, Marsulex shut down its plant for routine maintenance….
During the start-up the winds changed, and the mixing of the gas in the lower atmosphere may have become poor. Its analyzer showed sulphur-dioxide concentration levels exceeded 1,653 parts per million for seven-and-a-half minutes…the plant discharged a dense bluish-white cloud of gas, a plume, from its stack. The plume travelled across the road and descended upon the Canadian Forest Products’ Rustad sawmill, court learned.
Marsulex had notified the Rustad mill by phone 10 minutes ahead of time that it was restarting its furnace. At least 18 Rustad workers were physically affected by the plume. Some received first-aid treatment on site. Nine workers were taken to Prince George Regional Hospital for further treatment and were discharged from hospital that day, according to the agreed statement of facts.
The affected workers described the plume as bluish-white or grey cloud with a strong smell. They described the adverse physical effects they experienced as watering eyes, burning lungs, difficulty breathing, blurred vision, skin burning and a strange taste in the mouth, court heard.
The physical effects described by the workers are generally consistent with those suffered by people exposed to sulphur-dioxide, court heard….(Full Story)
Comment by folc.ca: The article does mentions that four workers who allege that they experienced permanent damages to their health from the sulphur dioxide release filed a claim with WorkSafe – B.C., but nothing is mentioned whether anyone other than the “environment” received any sort of compensation.
More than three years after the fact, and no money for real people’s pains….but about $150,000 is to be paid to a bureaucracy, the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, that safeguards the environment. Is that not just absolutely wonderful?