March 7, 2005

Timmins fined $38K for non-compliance with Ontario water, drinking water laws

Failure to comply with sampling and analysis requirements under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and notification provisions of the provincial Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 (SDWA) has cost the city of Timmins $38,000 in fines, plus a victim fine surcharge.

The city holds a certificate of approval (C of A) to operate a drinking water system serving approximately 43,000 residents in Timmins. During a routine inspection of the municipal water system in March 2003, Ministry of Environment (MOE) staff discovered that sampling and analysis requirements under the OWRA were not being carried out. as prescribed under the OWRA. The city was issued a provincial officer order requiring it come into compliance with the legislation by May 30, 2003. Charges were laid after the city failed to meet the compliance deadline.

The city of Timmins pleaded guilty to six charges under the OWRA:

failing to install a sufficient number of flow meters as required by the C of A and failing to meet sampling and analysis requirements, contrary to section 107(3) (fines of $5,000 and $3,000, respectively);

failing to comply with conditions of the provincial officer order, contrary to section 107(2) ($3,000 fine);

failing to ensure that water sampling and analysis requirements were carried out as prescribed in section 107(1) ($10,000 fine);

failing to verbally notify the MOE immediately concerning adverse water quality test results ($6,000 fine); and

failing to ensure that the responsibility for the overall operation of the facility was placed with a certified operator, contrary to section 107(1) ($8,000 fine).

In addition to six charges under the OWRA, Timmins pleaded guilty to one charge under section 140 (3) of the SDWA of failing to notify the MOE within seven days that the adverse water quality issue had been resolved. A $3,000 fine was levied for this offence.

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