January 19, 2004

Failure to report poor water test results nets $87,500 in fines for plant operator, lab, consultants

WINDSOR, ONT-Fines totaling $87,500 were levied against a water treatment plant operator, a water testing laboratory and a consulting engineering firm supervising operations at the Boblo Island water treatment plant on the Detroit River near Amherstburg. The case involved failure to notify the Ministry of Environment and the Medical Officer of Health of adverse water quality results at the facility. Fine Analysis Laboratories, which analyzed samples taken at the Boblo Island facility, was found guilty of failing to report the presence of clostridium, an indicator of adverse water quality. The company was fined $60,000 for violating regulation 459/00 under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA), which requires immediate notification of environment and health authorities when test results indicate the presence of bacteria. Written notification must also be provided by fax within 24 hours. The operator of the facility, 1078385 Ontario Limited (operating as Boblo Island Developments), was fined $7,500 after pleading guilty to a charge under the regulation of failing to report that turbidity levels in treated water had exceeded the maximum acceptable concentration. Chevalier Engineering Associates, which had been supervising the operation at the water plant, also pleaded guilty to the same two charges and was fined $20,000. The court was told that between September 26 and 29, 2000 the laboratory was aware that clostridium had been found in a treated water sample from Boblo Island plant. A Ministry of Environment inspection on September 19, 2000 found that the plant's operating log indicated that the turbidity of treated water exceeded the maximum acceptable concentration on several days. A 25% victim fine surcharge was added to each of the fines.
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