May 7, 2007

Odours from pumping station lead to $65K fine for city of Ottawa

OTTAWA, ONT-The city of Ottawa recently pleaded guilty to a charge in connection with adverse odours from a sewage pumping station it owns and operates in Richmond, a village within the city's boundaries. The city was fined a total of $65,000. In the spring of 2005, Ottawa upgraded the pumping station to accept sewage from Munster Hamlet, another small Ottawa community about 12 kilometres from Richmond. The project included installation of an odour control system that uses a biofilter to destroy hydrogen sulfide odours. By the end of June 2005, residents living near the station were complaining to the Ministry of Environment (MOE) about septic odours, saying they were unable to use their outdoor properties because the odours were so bad. The problem continued for a number of weeks, with an MOE inspector confirming the odours on July 11, 2005 and confirming them as consistent with those associated with hydrogen sulfide. An investigation by the Ministry's investigations and enforcement branch led to a charge against the city of discharging a contaminant into the natural environment that caused adverse odours, contrary to section 14(1) of the Environmental Protection Act. The Court was told that, in failing to maintain the biofilter at the Richmond pumping station properly, the city of Ottawa had allowed odours to be discharged. The city later installed additional odour control equipment to address the issue.

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