August 8, 2005

No charges planned following lagoon leak, facility's permit revoked

HALIFAX, NS-Nova Scotia's Department of Environment and Labour has decided not to file charges relating to a July 2004 leak at a septage treatment lagoon in Middle River, Victoria County. The department has, however, revoked the facility's operating approval. Its decision not to prosecute was based on an investigation conducted after a complaint was received in August 2004, as well as on consultation with the public prosecution office in Sydney. The department took into account the fact that the leak caused no apparent adverse effects and that the operator, Island Vacuum Services, took immediate remedial action to address the leak and had exercised due diligence, as required by Section 160 of the Environment Act, before the leak occurred. Nevertheless, the department revoked the facility's approval in November 2004. "The operators had conducted themselves in good faith before and after the leak. However, we determined after the incident that the facility cannot be operated to appropriate standards and acted accordingly," Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash explained. The requirements for the closure of the facility will be determined by an environmental site assessment scheduled for completion this summer.

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