March 8, 2004

Firms fined $3,500 for altering sewage systems without C of A amendment

ST CATHARINES, ONT- Cochren Contractors and Engineers, along with Septech Environmental were fined a total of $3,500 plus a 25% victim surcharge after each firm pleaded guilty to a charge of non-compliance with the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA). Peller Estates Winery, which operates a winery, restaurant and banquet facility in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, retained Cochren and Septech when a sanitary sewage system malfunctioned at the winery property. The companies diverted sanitary sewage from a sanitary sewage system on the winery property to an industrial sewage system on the same property. A certificate of approval (C of A) for each of the sewage systems was issued by the Ministry of Environment (MOE). Alterations to the sewage systems require an amendment to the C of As; however, no such amendment was obtained before the work was done.

Altering a sewage system without an amended C of A is a violation of Section 53(1) of the OWRA. Septech and Cochren each pleaded guilty to one count of altering a sewage system without approval and were fined $1,500 and $2,000, respectively. Both parties have been given six months to pay their fines.

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