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June 7, 2004
Testing lab fined $20K for failing to report signs of adverse water quality
KINGSTON, ONT-Accutest Laboratories recently pleaded guilty to 17 charges under the drinking water protection regulation (Regulation 459/00) of the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and was fined a total of $20,000 for two of the charges. The company received a suspended sentence on the remaining 15 charges, and was levied a victim fine surcharge. The company, a nationally certified and accredited laboratory, provided analytical services to the town of Gananoque in support of a wide variety of testing, including the testing of drinking water. In July 2002, a Ministry of Environment (MOE) inspection of records from the town's water treatment plant revealed six incidents of fecal streptococci in treated water samples which had been submitted to Accutest for analysis. The OWRA requires testing labs to notify both the MOE and the owner of the drinking water system immediately when indicators of adverse water quality are detected in water. The company failed to fulfill this reporting requirement and was charged. Regulation 459/00 has since been repealed and replaced with Regulation 170/03 under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002.