Styrolutions wants more time to remove benzene from Sarnia site


INEOS Styrolution is asking for more time to remove benzene from its Sarnia site, saying saying safety not speed is important.

May 1 – 15 days after high levels of benzene in the air sickened members of the the Aamjiwnaang First Nation – the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, pulled the company’s Environmental Compliance Approval certificate shutting the styrene plant down.

The order required the removal of all benzene storage from the site, repairs on leaky equipment and the installation of full vapour control on anything containing benzene. The ministry also wanted a comprehensive benzene monitoring and community notification plan.

Those orders for installation full vapour control equipment were later mirrored by the federal government which announced an interim order May 17 requiring all benzene storage tanks to have full vapour control.

“ECCC has ordered us to empty all benzene from our tanks. This is not a routine procedure and requires meticulous planning. We must establish rigorous protocols, which need approval from multiple regulatory bodies.” said Brian Lucas, Representative, INEOS Styrolution said in a news release. “While we understand ECCC’s urgency, we are clear: safety, not speed, must be the primary consideration.”

INEOS Styrolution asked the federal government for “sufficient time” to do it.

“Recognizing the potential for emissions during tank cleaning, INEOS Styrolution has agreed with MECP to delay these activities until after the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s community event on June 22-23, 2024.

“We made this decision to be considerate of the AFN community and avoid any possible interruptions or safety concerns during their event. We are asking ECCC to grant the same consideration,” said Lucas.

Federal officials were not immediately available for comment.


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