January 2, 2006

Waterloo North Hydro fined $35K after power loss causes sewage discharge

KITCHENER, ONT-Waterloo North Hydro was convicted of a charge under the Ontario Water Resources Act and fined $35,000, plus a victim fine surcharge. In July 2002, Waterloo North Hydro installed new electrical service near a sewage lift station on Oriole Parkway in Elmira. While a construction crew was installing an anchor near the lift station, electrical service to the lift station and power to the pumps was accidentally cut. The telephone line was also severed, causing a shutdown of the lift station's alarm system. The next day, a routine inspection by Woolwich Township staff found that the lift station pumps were not operating and sewage was being discharged to a drainage ditch which empties into Canagagique Creek. Once the spill was discovered, immediate steps were taken to stop the discharge and clean up any damage caused by the discharge. As a precaution, Ministry of Environment staff notified communities downstream on the Grand River of the discharge. Waterloo North Hydro was convicted of causing the discharge of a material that may impair water quality, contrary to section 30(1) of the Ontario Water Resources Act.

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