September 6, 2004

Laboratory fined $5K for failing to notify authorities promptly of adverse water incident

ST CATHARINES, ONT-Failure to notify the Ontario Ministry of Environment immediately of an adverse water quality incident led to a $5,000 fine levied against E3 Laboratories, plus a victim fine surcharge. E3's accredited laboratory in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario provides drinking water testing services. On July 11, 2004, the laboratory sent the Ministry of Environment (MOE) an unconfirmed report that a sample of water from the Pelham water distribution system had tested positive for total coliform and E coli. Further testing of the sample confirmed the presence of total coliforms the following day. Regulation 170 under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA requires a confirmed adverse water quality incident to be reported immediately and orally to the MOE, the medical officer of health and the waterworks owner. However, the laboratory did not provide verbal notification to the relevant authorities until July 14, 2004. E3 was charged with contravening Section 16-6(3)(b) of Regulation 170 and pleaded guilty to the single offence. The company subsequently put in place procedures to prevent a recurrence of the events leading to the charge.
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