August 7-14, 2006

Township fined $15K for failing to comply with water legislation requirements

LONDON, ONT-The township of Lucan Biddulph, in southwestern Ontario's Middlesex County, was fined a total of $15,000 after pleading guilty to two violations of the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and three violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The township owns and operates its water distribution system, serving about 2,200 residents, as well as the Granton well supply system, which serves about 300 residents. On July 22, 2004, a Ministry of Environment inspection of the Granton system, covering the operating period of August 1, 2003 to July 31, 2004, revealed several violations of the acts. The township had failed to ensure that all operators received the required number of training hours and that a 2003 compliance report was completed within the first quarter of 2004 as required under the system's certificate of approval (C of A). These constituted violations of the OWRA, sections 107(1) and 107(3), respectively. The township was also found to have contravened section 140(3) of the SDWA by failing to ensure that monthly raw water samples were taken and tested for turbidity and that daily distribution samples were taken and tested immediately for free chlorine residual. With respect to the third SDWA violation, the court was told that that daily samples of treated water had been tested for free chlorine residual and turbidity during the same period, and there were no adverse results. On January 26, 2005, a follow-up inspection of the Lucan system covering the June 1, 2003 to December 31, 2004 operating period revealed that daily distribution had not been taken and tested for free chlorine residual, contrary to section 140(3) of the SDWA. An investigation by the MOE's investigations and enforcement branch led to charges against the township. Lucan Biddulph was fined $3,000 and levied a victim fine surcharge for each offence.

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