Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun
A Surrey waste-disposal company that accepted more waste than its permit allowed — as well as unauthorized waste, including asbestos — topped Metro Vancouver’s list of environmental offenders last year.
Fraser Valley Disposal, now doing business as Bright Sky Disposal on 116th Avenue in the Bridgeview area, was fined a total of $58,500 for two counts and its director Fanny Liang a total of $1,500 for three counts after pleading guilty in Surrey provincial court.
Judge Michael Hicks noted the company had accepted excessive amounts of waste on 24 days — by up to 11 times its legal limit, according to Metro Vancouver’s calculations — as well as accepting a variety of unauthorized materials on 11 days, including asbestos, “which is of a particular concern as a hazardous material.”
The region is still seeking to prosecute Liang’s former husband and other company director, Denny Liang. The offences occurred from 2011 to 2013.
Metro Vancouver provided Postmedia with a detailed list of last year’s regional environmental polluters.
The list includes three major industrial operations each fined $1,000 for pollution infractions: Chevron Canada of Burnaby for discharge of the air contaminant, petroleum naphtha; Lafarge Canada cement plant in Richmond, for exceeding its permit allowance for the discharge of nitrogen oxides; and Fibreco Export of North Vancouver for discharge of wood pellet dust.
Delta Cedar Products was also fined a total of $1,500 for three violations of permit record keeping or reporting requirements related to hours operated, fuel use and products and raw materials.
Ray Robb, Metro Vancouver’s manager of environmental regulatory and enforcement services, said in an interview Wednesday that the region has about two dozen employees in the field working on education and compliance in the areas of air quality, and solid and liquid waste, which even extends to restaurant grease that can plug drainage pipes and cause overflows.
Four employees work exclusively to ensure compliance with the region’s Non-Road Diesel Bylaw, which took effect in 2012 as a way to minimize health risks from heavy equipment used on construction sites.
“Diesel is public enemy number 1,” he said.
Robb argued the bylaw is having an effect because some companies are known to ship their older equipment with reduced pollution controls outside the region to work while operating their newer, cleaner models within Metro Vancouver. A series of escalating fees encourages operators to retire older equipment that produces the most diesel fumes.
Two fines of $190 each were issued for violations under the diesel bylaw: PJ Contracting of Coquitlam for operation of an unregistered Tier 1 Hitachi EX300 Excavator in West Vancouver; and Boffo Developments of Burnaby, for an unregistered Tier 1 skid steer loader.
Pineland Peat Farms Ltd. of Delta was cited for operation of an unregistered Tier 0 crawler dozer, which the company is disputing.
IP Auto Services Ltd. of Surrey was also fined $250 for operating an unregistered automotive refinishing facility.
Robb explained that the region generally uses progressive enforcement, starting with education aimed at voluntary compliance before proceeding to harsher measures.
That could include an official warning, a notice of bylaw violation (maximum $500 fine), a ticket (maximum $1,000) or court prosecution (maximum $1 million).
“At the end of the day, we just want to see compliance,” Robb said.
Click here to read more stories from the Vancouver Sun,