Investigators with Environment Canada levied fines against companies based in Alberta and British Columbia in late July, in two separate incidents, for offenses under the Canada’s Fisheries Act.
The Canadian agency said that Panther Industries (Alberta) Inc. pleaded guilty on July 28 in Alberta Provincial Court to violations under the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and the Environmental Emergency Regulations related to a spill of hydrochloric acid into the environment and into water frequented by fish.
Environment Canada’s investigation found that on Dec. 9, 2012, 150,000 liters of HCI spilled through a broken sight glass on a storage tank system at the Panther Industries site in Edmonton, Alberta. An estimated 40,000 liters of HCI overflowed the secondary containment and, of that amount, some 5,000 liters entered a nearby creek resulting in a fish kill.
A valve between two CHI tanks had been left open, increasing the total amount spilled, and an acid cloud formed as a result of the spill, necessitating an evacuation of the surrounding area for public safety.
The company was ordered to pay $375,000 in penalties, including a $5,000 fine and $370,000 to be paid to the Environmental Damages Fund.
West Coast Reduction Ltd. in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been ordered to pay $90,000 in Vancouver Provincial Court after pleading guilty to an offense under Canada’s Fisheries Act.
The conviction stems from a spill of some 1,800 liters of canola oil into the Burrard Inlet, an incident that occurred as West Coast Reduction Ltd. was loading the vessel Bum Shin at the Port Metro Vancouver.
Canola oil is deleterious to fish and harmful to migratory birds.
Of the $90,000 penalty, $85,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund and $5,000 paid as a fine. The EDF follows the “polluter pays principle” to help ensure that those who cause environmental damage or harm to wildlife take responsibility for their actions.
The company ‘s name is also being added to the Environmental Offenders Registry, which contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offenses committed under certain federal environmental laws. The registry contains convictions recorded for offenses committed since June 18, 2009, when the Environmental Enforcement Act received Royal Assent.
The company reported the incident on Nov. 24, 2013, and the fine was levied on July 8, 2015, Environment Canada said in a news release on July 23.
The family owned and operated business of more than 70 years provides services to farms, feedlots, restaurants, butcher shops, supermarkets and processors of beef, pork, poultry and fish products intended for human consumption.