October 17, 2005

Arnprior fined $50K in connection with raw sewage release

RENFREW, ONT-The township of Arnprior was fined $50,000 after pleading guilty to violations under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and the Environmental Protection Act (EP Act). Arnprior's water pollution control (WPC) plant treats raw municipal sewage from the town, a portion of which is pumped across the Madawaska River to the plant through a sewage forcemain laid across the bottom of the river. In June 2003, public works employees noticed a reduction in flows entering the facility, but were unable to determine where sewage was going. By early July 2003, there was no sewage flow coming from the forcemain into the WPC plant, even though all pumps were operating. Plant staff concluded that there was a break in the sewage forcemain and notified the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and the Renfrew County District Health Unit. The MOE issued the town a provincial officer's order requiring immediate control measures to minimize and eliminate the raw sewage discharge into the Madawaska River. A subsequent investigation by the MOE's investigations and enforcement branch determined that raw sewage had been discharged from the forcemain into the river between June 15 and July 14, 2003. On October 7, 2005, the town pleaded guilty to a charge of discharging sewage into the Madawaska River, in violation of section 30 of the OWRA, and was fined $40,000. It also pleaded guilty to failing to do everything practicable to prevent, eliminate and ameliorate the adverse effect, contrary to section 93(1) of the EP Act, and was fined another $10,000. Victim fine surcharges were added to both fines.

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