Town of Ponoka Pleads Guilty and is Fined $70,000 for Release of Wastewater to Battle River
PONOKA, Alta. -- December 7, 2011 -- The Town of Ponoka, Alberta, was fined $70,000 in Alberta Provincial Court after pleading guilty to one count under the Fisheries Act, related to the release of municipal wastewater into the Battle River. Environment Canada received a complaint regarding dead fish in the Battle River in June, 2009. An investigation found that the Town of Ponoka was releasing effluent from their wastewater lagoon into the Battle River. Sample analysis of the effluent determined that it was harmful to fish.
The Town of Ponoka has been ordered to pay a total penalty of $70,000, of which $3,750 is a fine under the Fisheries Act, and $66,250 is to be paid into the Environmental Damages Fund, to be used for the conservation and protection of fisheries and fish habitat in the Battle River, its tributaries and watershed.
As well, the court has ordered a number of public education requirements for the Town of Ponoka including a presentation at the upcoming Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association's Conference, publishing an article in the town newspaper, Ponoka News, and the posting of information on a number of websites. The public education information will include a summary of the incident, municipal wastewater and its impacts, and the requirement for compliance with the Fisheries Act.
The Town of Ponoka is required to work with Environment Canada and Alberta Environment to develop and deliver the presentation, the online documents, and the newspaper article.
The Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) is administered by Environment Canada to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.
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