June 12, 2006

Laboratory pays $54K fine for violations of Safe Drinking Water Act

LONDON, ONT-Maxxam Analytics was fined a total of $54,000 after pleading guilty to four violations of section 140(1) of Ontario's Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) pertaining to reporting of adverse water quality results. At the time of the offences, the accredited, licensed laboratory based in London, Ont was analyzing drinking water samples for the operating authorities for the Strathroy and North Middlesex water distribution systems. In January 2005, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) was advised of two adverse water quality results for nitrates for the Strathroy system that were documented in Maxxam's 2004 annual analysis report and confirmed in December 2004. The adverse results had not been reported to the ministry, the local medical officer of health and the system's operating authority, as required under the act. Subsequently, in March 2005, an annual inspection of the North Middlesex system by the MOE, revealed that an adverse water quality result for lead, confirmed in December 2004, had not been reported by Maxxam to the required agencies. Following investigations by the ministry's investigations and enforcement branch. Maxxam pleaded guilty to: failing to report adverse nitrate results to the MOE and the local medical officer of health; failing to report adverse nitrate results to a water distribution system's operating authority; failing to report an adverse water quality result for lead to the ministry and the local Medical Officer of Health; and failing to report an adverse water quality result for lead to a water distribution system's operating authority. The company was fined $14,000 for each of the first three counts, and $12,000 for the fourth count. A victim fine surcharge was levied as well.

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