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Three Mission sawmills fail environmental inspections over summer

Trio of mills on Nelson Street along Fraser River found operating without waste-discharge permits
Ministry of Environment photo showing a Coast Mountain Cedar Products’ sump that was collecting contaminated rainwater before pumping it towards the Fraser River.

A trio of Mission sawmills failed environmental inspections over the summer, resulting in a single fine for a repeat offender and warnings of escalating enforcement for the rest.

The sawmills – Madewell Cedar, Magnus Cedar Products, and Coast Mountain Cedar Products – all operate on the 7200 block of Nelson Street adjacent to the Fraser River.

Environmental protection officers conducted an inspection of Madewell Cedar on July 7.

The mill was formerly owned by North American Shake and Shingle, which sold the business to Madewell Cedar in 2015 but never transferred the waste-discharge permit to them.

Inspectors also found a sawdust cyclone – a piece of industrial equipment used air pollution control – was disconnected and located away from where contaminants were being discharged.

While the mill was not in operation while inspectors were present, a man on site, who said he no longer worked there, confirmed that it was active earlier in 2022, but he was unsure of the exact date.

Both infractions were previously documented by provincial regulators back in the fall of 2019.

Inspectors concluded the site has been allowing waste to be introduced to the environment for nearly three years and without authorization. A fine is being recommended.

North American Shake and Shingle, as the permit holder, was also issued a warning letter by the province.

Magnus Cedar Products and Coast Mountain Cedar Products were both inspected on Aug. 15, and found to be operating without a waste-discharge permit under the Environmental Management Act.

Provincial officers observed potential air contaminants being discharged from the Magnus Cedar Products’ sawdust cyclones, and cracks in Coast Mountain Cedar Products’ cyclones.

Both companies had contaminated rainwater on site being directed or pumped into the Fraser River, and Coast Mountain Cedar Products’ site had contaminated water leaking into the ground.

Both were issued warnings of potential fines if corrective measures were not taken, and notice of follow-up inspections to come.

Ministry of Environment photo showing contaminated water leaking into the ground Coast Mountain Cedar Products’ site.