Ontario Transport Ministry Fined for River Pollution
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation ordered to pay $95,000 for violating 2 counts of the federal Fisheries Act. The charges stem from a road washout in April 2008 just east of the community of Orrville on Highway 518, which sent an estimated 8000 tonnes of road materials spilling into the Seguin River system. The sediment plume extended 40 kilometers downstream into Georgian Bay, causing a significant negative impact on fish and fish habitat.
The high volume of sediment and materials, and the resulting plume, was determined to be the result of improper maintenance of a plugged and deteriorating culvert, and was triggered by the rise of melt waters, snow and ice. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation was responsible for this culvert, which has since been repaired.
The Saguin River system is home to a number of fish species, including Walleye, Pike and Bass, and is an important recreational fishery in the regio
In June 2013, the Ontario Court of Justice determined the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to be guilty on two counts under the Fisheries Act: one count of violating Section 35(1) for “the harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat”; and one count of violating Section 36(3) for “depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish.” The sentencing decision was deferred until August 22, 2013.
The court ordered the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to pay a total of $95,000, of which $75,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, and the remaining $20,000 is the court fine.