• Harvest Environmental Services Inc. v. Regional Waste Manager

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    Decision Date: June 23, 1998

    Panel: Toby Vigod

    Keywords: Pollution prevention order; Special Waste Regulation; on-site audit; hydrocarbon contamination; waste oil; solvents

    This was an application for a stay of a pollution prevention order issued to Harvest Environmental Services Inc., which operated a special waste storage and treatment facility in Kelowna. This order was issued on the grounds that Harvest had failed to comply with a number of requirements of its special waste permit and that an on-site audit of its operations had revealed non-compliance with the terms and requirements of a previous pollution prevention order issued to the company. The new order prevented Harvest from receiving any new shipments of special waste material and required the company to undertake an inventory reduction of all special wastes on site. Harvest asked for a stay on the grounds that it would go bankrupt if one were not granted. In addition, Harvest argued that if it were allowed to continue to operate, the harm to the environment would in fact be lessened because allowing it to do business would allow it to continue to finance the reduction of on-site wastes.

    The Board accepted Harvest’s submissions that it would suffer financial loss, possibly resulting in bankruptcy and the lay-off of its employees, if a stay of the order was not granted. However, the Board also found that the Regional Waste Manager had provided sufficient evidence to make a prima facie case that serious harm was occurring to the environment on the site of Harvest’s operations. The Board noted that if Harvest continued to import more waste, it ran the risk of being charged under the Waste Management Act and facing fines that could also put it out of business. The Board found that either way, Harvest faced financial difficulty. The Board was not convinced by Harvest’s argument that allowing it to continue to receive waste would help the environment because it would allow it to finance its on site reductions. As a result, the Board found that the potential serious harm to the environment outweighed the potential financial harm to Harvest. The stay was refused.