November 7, 2005

Fish processing plant fined for violating water quality permit terms

FREDERICTON, NB-GEM Fisheries, a Saint-Simon area fish plant, recently pleaded guilty to two charges under the New Brunswick Clean Environment Act's water quality regulation and was fined a total of $4,000. Between January 28 and February 3, 2005, while the company was processing sea cucumber, the plant's treatment systems for contaminated process water malfunctioned. This resulted in the release of reddish-coloured process water containing some solid fish wastes into the Saint-Simon River. GEM's water quality approval requires the contaminated process water to be screened in both a dissolved air flotation system and an ultraviolet system when the plant is processing sea cucumbers. Neither of these systems was operational during this period. The company was also charged in connection with a similar offence that occurred between March 23 and 30, 2005. During this period, the company was again processing sea cucumbers and the plant's contaminated process water treatment system was not operational. This resulted in another release of reddish-coloured effluent into the Saint-Simon River and a noticeable odour in the area of the effluent pipe's outfall. A third charge of failing to comply with another condition of the company's approval, related to a February 2004 incident, was withdrawn by the Crown prosecutor.

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