August 7-14, 2006

Kitchener firm fined $40K for diesel fuel discharge

KITCHENER, ONT-A Kitchener company, Mal-Mal Enterprises, recently pleaded guilty to discharging diesel fuel into a watercourse and was fined $40,000 plus a victim fine surcharge. The firm, operating as Clintar Groundskeeping Services, has an above-ground fuel tank on its property; diesel fuel is pumped from the tank to other receptacles. On August 2, 2005, a Mal-Mal employee left the pump unattended while fuel was being transferred to a tank mounted on the back of a company pick-up truck. Some time later, a second employee found the fuel overflowing from the truck-mounted tank onto the bed of the truck and from there onto the surface of the company parking lot. The pump was turned off, but not before approximately 50 litres of diesel fuel had been spilled. The two employees drained the spilled diesel fuel from the bed of the truck into a stormwater catchbasin, and used degreaser and a power washer to clean the parking lot. The resulting mix of water, degreaser and fuel also drained into the catchbasin and flowed into Kitchener's storm sewer system and ultimately ran into Strasburg Creek. Municipal officials subsequently found a large number of dead fish in the creek, which is part of a provincially-designated Class 1 wetland. The Kitchener works department contained the spill, assessed the incident and carried out a cleanup, aided by a private environmental company. The city recovered the costs of its portion of the cleanup from Mal-Mal Enterprises. Because the diesel fuel discharge compromised the environmental integrity of the area, the Ministry of Environment charged the company following an investigation by the investigations and enforcement branch. Mal-Mal Enterprises pleaded guilty to one violation of section 30(1) of the Ontario Water Resources Act.

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