Ontario considering Environment Hamilton's concerns about chemical plant in Stoney Creek

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Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) says it will consider concerns raised by Environment Hamilton about a recent air and noise permit application from a chemical manufacturing plant in Stoney Creek.

Bartek Ingredients Inc. — which calls itself the world's largest producer of common food additives malic acid and food-grade fumaric acid — applied for the permit on July 7.

If approved, the permit allow the company to work under a modified version of current environmental compliance approvals for air.

Shannon McGee, Bartek's spokesperson, wrote in an email that the company is "committed to responsible environmental stewardship, and to health and safety. As such, we are, and will remain in compliance on air emissions."

But after seeing the application, Lynda Lukasik, executive director of Environment Hamilton, said she has concerns.

She sent a letter to the MECP on Nov. 15, emphasizing how high the estimated emission levels of some substances were.

She also wrote a notice to community members about her concerns and how they can voice their own.

"Modelling shows that one pollutant is close to the maximum allowable level at 76 per cent — and that is suspended particulate matter. It is also worth noting that nitrogen oxides are at almost 60 per cent of the maximum level, as are fluorides. Sodium hydroxide is also notable at 44 per cent of the maximum allowable emission levels. Note that these are all modelled – not monitored – results," Lukasik wrote.

"The modelled levels are very close to the actual limit, warranting a call for actual monitoring to determine how high these levels really are."

She said that suspended particulate matter could include PM2.5, particulate matter that is 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller, which causes lung cancer.

Lukasik wants to ensure Bartek reports the actual levels of emission instead of projected values to make sure it doesn't exceed the limits.

She also requests in the letter to MECP that it inspect Bartek's air pollution control infrastructure, citing a leak into Lake Ontario discovered beside the factory.