June 12, 2006

Kawartha Lakes fined $25K for water treatment system violations, resident jailed for waste site offences

The city of Kawartha Lakes recently pleaded guilty to five violations of Ontario's Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) at four municipally owned and operated water treatment systems. Fines totalling $25,000 were imposed, plus victim fine surcharge. The infractions were found following Ministry of Environment (MOE) inspections of the Lindsay, Norland, Sturgeon Point and Highview Acres water treatment systems. The violations included:

*Absence of remote alarms on the turbidity analyzers at the Lindsay plant (to notify a certified operator of turbidity exceedances when the plant was not physically attended), contrary to section 140(3) of the SDWA;

*Failure to report turbidity exceedances at the Lindsay and Norland plants-each one a violation of section 18 of the SDWA;

*Failure to collect the requisite number of turbidity and other chemical analysis samples at the Sturgeon Point plant in 2004 and 2005, contrary to section 140(3) of the SDWA; and

*Failure to collect required raw water samples as set out in the Certificate of Approval for the Highview Acres plant for the first three quarters of 2003, contrary to section 107(3) of the OWRA.

The city was fined $5,000 for each violation. The MOE notes that since these charges were laid, the city water systems have shown considerable improvement.

In other compliance activities, Kawartha Lakes resident James Greensides was fined $10,000 and sentenced to a total of 45 days in jail after being convicted of four violations pertaining to an unapproved waste disposal site he operated on Highway 35 in Somerville Ward.

In December 2002, Greensides was convicted on charges related to both the operation of a waste disposal site without a Certificate of Approval (C of A), and non-compliance with a provincial officer order. At that time, he was issued a remediation order with a compliance deadline of June 15, 2003.

MOE inspections of the waste disposal site conducted after that date revealed that Greensides had not complied with several conditions of the order. He was charged following an investigation by the MOE's investigations and enforcement branch and subsequently convicted on three charges of failing to comply with a court order-each count for a different condition of the order-contrary to section 186(2) of the Environmental Protection Act (EP Act), plus one charge of operating a waste disposal site without a C of A, contrary to section 27(1)(b) of the EP Act.

Greensides was sentenced to 15 days in jail for each of the non-compliance convictions, and was fined $10,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, for operating the site without a C of A.

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