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

Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks says it will consider concerns raised by Environment Hamilton about a recent air and noise permit application from Bartek Ingredients Inc.

Bartek Ingredients Inc. permit lists projected levels of emissions, Environment Hamilton wants actual levels

Bartek Ingredients Inc. is applying for a permit to have more flexibility on limits set by Environmental Compliance Approvals for air. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

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.

Bartek's emission summary dispersion model shows estimates of air pollution emissions from the facility when operating at maximum capacity. ( Environment Hamilton)

"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.

Bartek's permit includes a section on noise, saying it hired a consultant who determined the factory would exceed the ministry's noise limits. Lukasik wants the ministry to ensure Bartek will implement a noise abatement action plan.

Lindsay Davidson, a spokesperson for the ministry, said MECP just started its technical review of the application, which it received on July 7.

"The ministry appreciates the detailed comments submitted by Environment Hamilton, and will consider these comments as we undertake the review," he wrote.

"The ministry's Hamilton district office regularly inspects facilities to confirm compliance with environmental compliance approvals and will ensure this site is inspected accordingly."

Locals who want to comment about the application have until Friday to do so.