April 4, 2005

Testing laboratory fined $5K for Safe Drinking Water Act offence

BARRIE, ONT-Caduceon Enterprises, operator of a network of analytical testing laboratories (two of them in Ottawa), was recently convicted of a charge under Ontario's Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and was fined $5,000, plus a victim fine surcharge. In August 2003, the town of Midland, which had contracted Caduceon Environmental Laboratories (Holly Lane) to analyze its drinking water samples, sent the company a list of its designated emergency contacts so that that the laboratory would be able to notify a town official immediately whenever an adverse water quality test result was obtained. Later that same month, a drinking water sample sent by Midland to Caduceon for analysis was found to have a heterotrophic plate count greater than 500 colony forming units, an indicator of an adverse water quality under Ontario regulation 170/03. Because the Caduceon analyst did not have the list of emergency contacts, he could not notify Midland officials because and instead left a voicemail message with the town's deputy fire chief. Midland officials did not find out about the adverse test result until two days after the occurrence. Both the analyst and Caduceon were subsequently charged. Last December, the analyst was fined $300 after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to provide an immediate notice of an adverse water test to the owner of the water works, contrary to Section 18(3) of the SDWA. Caduceon Enterprises was found guilty of the same offence after a two-day trial last month and was given 90 days to pay the fine. Since October 2003, the Ministry of Environment has inspected Caduceon Environmental Laboratories (Holly Lane) five times and has confirmed that policies and procedures are in place to prevent this type of recurrence.

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