On August 15, 2018, the Provincial Court of Alberta fined FortisAlberta Inc. $300,000, following the major electricity provider’s guilty plea for violating PCB Regulations and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
The charges stem from the company’s release of approximately 325 litres of oil containing 3.61 grams of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment during the spring of 2016, when it also failed to promptly notify an enforcement officer or other designated person of the release. According to the enforcement from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.
FortisAlberta reported that one of its transformers, located in the town of Hinton, had leaked oil containing PCBs. An investigation conducted by enforcement officers found that FortisAlberta discovered staining around the transformer on October 19, 2015, and that when the transformer failed on April 19, 2016, due to a lack of oil, a fresh oil release was found.
On April 22, 2016, FortisAlberta became aware that the transformer contained PCBs.
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In other environmental violation news in Alberta, the City of Edmonton is now facing seven charges over alleged pesticide releases that took place between May 11 and September 9, 2016. One of the counts falls under the province’s Pesticide Sales, Handling, Use and Application Regulation, while the other six relate to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
The province alleges that an individual with the City of Edmonton caused an adverse effect and failed to report the release to a director as soon as possible. The individual also allegedly released pesticide into the environment in an amount, concentration or level or at a rate of release that caused or may cause a significant adverse effect; and used, applied, supplied, handled, transported, displayed, stored or disposed of a pesticide in a manner or at a time or place that causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect contrary to regulations.
The first court appearance related to the pesticide leaks is set for September 28 in the Edmonton Law Courts building.