Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada, 09 April 2009 -- (Marketwire) -- West Fraser Mills Ltd. today received a penalty totalling CAD 130,000 after pleading guilty in Kitimat Provincial Court to one count of depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, contrary to subsection 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act. Crown and defense counsels jointly filed an agreed statement of facts with the court.
The CAD 130,000 penalty to West Fraser includes fines of CAD 5000, a payment of CAD 65,000 to the University of Northern British Columbia for the purposes of conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat in northwestern British Columbia, and a payment of CAD 60,000 for deposit into the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund of British Columbia.
Environment Canada's enforcement officers conducted an investigation with the assistance of members from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment Conservation Officer Service of a spill at the Eurocan mill 21 June 2007. West Fraser owns and operates the Eurocan pulp mill located at Kitimat, British Columbia.
The investigation revealed that West Fraser had not been duly diligent in the maintenance of the effluent treatment systems, specifically the main effluent line, at the Eurocan mill. This resulted in a spill of untreated pulp mill effluent into an oxbow (a U-shaped bend in a river) connected to the Kitimat River, waters frequented by fish. Untreated pulp mill effluent has a number of characteristics, such as high pH and resin acids, that are lethal to fish and other aquatic life.
As a result of the investigation, charges were laid against West Fraser on 27 June 2008.
Environment Canada enforcement personnel investigate potential offences under a number of Acts and Regulations. These include the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; the Species at Risk Act (SARA); the pollution provisions of Canada's Fisheries Act; the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations; the Canada Wildlife Act and Regulations; and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). They help ensure that companies, government employees, and the public comply with legislation and regulations that protect Canada's environment.