Annacis plant fined for cloud of pollution
A steel galvanizing plant on Annacis Island in Delta has been fined $52,500 for an air pollution incident there two years ago.
Silver City Galvanizing Inc. discharged gases and fine particles from its hot dip galvanizing operation on Jan. 7 and 8, 2010 that caused physical discomfort or interfered with visibility.
Metro Vancouver air quality managers investigated after workers at a nearby business reported a noxious "cloud" coming from Silver City's operation.
"They said it caused them to experience burning and stinging sensations, irritation to their eyes and a foul taste in the mouth," said Metro air quality division director Ray Robb.
The company, which had been operating without an air emissions permit, admitted it discharged unknown quantities of contaminants, which consisted of particles of sodium hydroxide, sulphuric acid and zinc ammonium chloride solutions; solid zinc and zinc compounds; as well as gases of ammonia and hydrochloric acid.
Inhaling high concentrations of zinc oxide particles that are emitted in a mist from hot dip galvanizing – where steel is bathed in molten zinc to protect it from corrosion – may cause metal fume fever, a flu-like illness.
In this case, Robb said no one got sick.
The company pleaded guilty in late December to two counts of discharging air contaminants in violation of Metro bylaws.
Silver City Galvanizing spent $294,000 in 2010 and 2011 to upgrade its pollution control systems and obtain a Metro permit.
"We're pleased that the judge felt it was important to send a strong message on an offence of this nature," Robb said. "We hope others heed this message."