June 14, 2004

Trailer park, operator fined $47K for sewage overflow charges

WINDSOR, ONT-Suncrest Mobile Home Park & Sales and its president, treasurer and secretary, Howard Geisler, were fined a total of $47,500 after pleading guilty to four charges relating to a release of sewage at the mobile home park. Under normal conditions, sewage and surface water runoff were drained to the northwest corner of the park property, pumped into a sewage lagoon and left to decompose naturally. In May and June 2002, a system backup caused sewage to flow into park residents' yards and in and around the park property. After weeks of complaints about the sewage and related odours failed to produce action by the company or its owner, concerned residents contacted the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry inspected the park site, collected sewage samples and observed that the sewage lagoon had been altered without approval. Suncrest pleaded guilty to charges under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) of discharging raw sewage into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and failing to notify MOE of a discharge of raw sewage into a watercourse that may impair water quality. The company was fined $20,000 and $5,000, respectively, for these violations. Geisler also pleaded guilty to the OWRA charge, plus two others: failing to take all reasonable care, as the director of the corporation, to prevent the corporation from causing or permitting the discharge of raw sewage, and failing to comply with a provincial officer's order. He was fined $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000, respectively, for these violations. A court order was issued as well, instructing Geisler and Suncrest to comply with a provincial officer's order governing operation of the sewage treatment plant until the Ministry issues a certificate of approval for a sewage treatment plant.
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