Methanol Release Leads to $160,000 Fine & Four Months’ House Arrest

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A company manager told workers to release flammable wastewater onto the ground at the back of the company’s property. The next day, a welder inadvertently ignited the wastewater with a welding torch, causing a fire. No one was injured. But when investigators arrived at the site in response to an anonymous complaint, the manager denied that the release had occurred. The company was fined $160,000 under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for releasing wastewater containing methanol into the environment and providing false or misleading information to investigators. The manager also pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to four months’ house arrest [Western Biodiesel Inc. and Jason Freeman, Govt. News Release, Aug. 16, 2011].