Nova Chemicals (Canada) Ltd. has been fined US$550,000, along with a victim fine surcharge, after pleading guilty to discharging benzene to the air from its facility at Sarnia, Ontario that caused an adverse effect.
On September 7, 2005, the company emergency personnel were notified that a hydrocarbon leak had occurred at the Sarnia site. The emergency personnel were directed to take air monitoring readings in the area and elevated benzene levels were recorded. The company attempted to depressurize, contain and stop the leak, but was not able to repair the equipment until the next morning.
The leak had an adverse effect on neighboring industries and the Aamjiwnaang First Nation evacuated its buildings when benzene was detected in those buildings. The company was charged following an investigation by the Ministry of the Environment's Investigations and Enforcement Branch.