New odor regulation |  Sanimax fears having to close its doors

New odor regulation | Sanimax fears having to close its doors

The Sanimax factory in Montreal will have to close its doors if the Plante administration can apply stricter regulations on odors and emissions to the atmosphere, the company feared on Tuesday while Quebec is still under analysis.

Posted at 4:09pm


Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vézina La Presse

“As such, strict application of the regulations would result in the revocation of our permits and ending our operations in Montreal, with significant environmental, health and food impacts across Quebec. This is a very worrying situation,” Sanimax North America CEO Martial Hamel said on Tuesday.

He notes that, more generally, this regulation would have “major consequences for the Quebec food chain, where Sanimax plays a central role in the recovery and valorization of organic materials”.

Mr. Hamel says he is “still determined to implement the actions and investments presented to the City of Montreal.” “Last week we sent a meeting request to Mayor Valérie Plante to resolve the impasse and we’re still awaiting a response,” he said.

At the end of July, the city announced that it would tighten the screws on Sanimax, whose factory in Rivière-des-Prairies, which employs 300 people, continues to draw the ire of citizens because of disgusting smells. Under this regulation, the company would have to store animal material inside a building and can no longer store it outside, giving Sanimax 18 months to build a garage.

The “Atmospheric Emissions” ordinance, passed by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) in mid-June, also includes guidelines on hours of operation and compliance with an odor threshold, giving municipalities more than the power to suspend or revoke an operating permit if they do are of the opinion that the situation is not compliant. Mr Hamel had denounced at the trial that the approach fell short and reiterated that the solution lay in a “global plan” that he said he presented to the city in 2019, including building a garage.

Quebec analyzes, Montreal reacts

It is up to Quebec to decide whether or not to apply this rule: the government normally has 60 days to react, ie until mid-August.

“The decision has not been made yet. We’re still investigating the issue at the ministry,” Rosalie Tremblay-Cloutier, press secretary for Environment Secretary Benoit Charette, said Tuesday, stressing the need for Montreal and Sanimax to “find a land deal” that takes into account “population, environment, and the food chain.” .

The city claims to have acted in good faith from the start. “The company has not presented a complete plan in compliance with the regulations. Discussions instead focused on presenting options and ideas for expanding the plant and ignoring the regulations in force. In no case did the city have a complete plan linked to a commitment to reduce nuisance,” emphasizes press attaché Marikym Gaudreault.

“We do not want Sanimax to intensify the activities of its plant, which is located in the heart of a residential area while it does not meet air quality standards. […] What we want is for it to uphold the standards and reduce its harassment,” she continues.

Montreal reiterates that a government plan is urgently needed in Montreal to regulate Sanimax’s activities. Such a plan was announced back in April to reduce odors at the Sanimax plant in Lévis.