Ministry provides update on oil spill, new investigation at Algoma Steel

This is a reader provided photo of the June 22 emission from the Steel Plant which is currently under investigation.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment has advised than an investigation has been launched examining emissions released into the air on June 22 as well as the oil spill at Algoma Steel.

Responding to our reporter’s inquiry last week for updates and as to why the plant isn’t facing the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines they could be under the Environmental Protection Act for the spill, the Ministry of Environment gave us the following answers.

Q1: Has the Ministry of Environment been notified of this excess emission (pink cloud) and is the ministry investigating?
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks takes all emissions and threats to the environment very seriously.

Algoma Steel reported an emissions incident to the ministry. The incident occurred on the evening of June 22. The ministry is following up with Algoma Steel to gather more information about the cause of the emissions to help us determine next steps.

Q2-3: Regarding the oil spill; now that the steel mill has notified the Ministry of how much oil they estimate was let into the river as well as how they believe it happened; is the ministry going to be laying charges? If the answer is no, can you please expand on “still under investigation”, what are they investigating? will charges ever be laid? 

The ministry has initiated an investigation to determine if prosecution is warranted. At this point, providing further comment about the ongoing investigation would be inappropriate.

Q4: What are the guidelines and legal requirements the Ministry of Environment has to follow that legislates when an infraction has been committed vs. when it has not?

The ministry reviews allegations of non-compliance against the elements of the offence (regulation and/or legislation) and considers the MECP Compliance Policy Applying Abatement and Enforcement Tools to determine where prosecution is warranted.

Should a prosecution be initiated, the court determines if the defendant should be convicted of the offence.

Q5: Has the ministry imposed any orders against the company (in relation to the oil spill) under section 97 of the Environmental Protection Act?

Algoma Steel voluntarily took action to contain and clean up the oil spill. Orders under section 97 of the Environmental Protection Act are typically issued when the responsible party for the pollution fails to take appropriate action. In the case of the recent oil spill at Algoma Steel, a section 97 order would not be appropriate.

Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to bring you more information about the pollution coming from Algoma Steel into both our air and our water.


  1. old man i do not belief that for a second my, family all smoke a pack a day at least BUT… only the one’s who lived near then steel plant got cancer. so i dont think theey are really being truth ful about there acitivies.

  2. the steel plant has always had a good working relationship with the Ministry of Environment, and reports all spills, air or water that leave the plant. they never try to cover thing’s up

    • ask why they removed all of those meters we had placed all over our city that tested our air? do you see any of them anywhere testing our air quality to warn us when it is dangerous for us with asthma or other allergies? this is an out in our face one cover up if you ask me or anyone that noticed years ago of them being all removed because they all read in the red all the time from the toxic air coming from the plant? pay offs and cover ups are pretty well known by too many in our city.?

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