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Energy companies fined $1.5M for chlorinated water leak that entered North Saskatchewan River

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An Alberta energy partnership faces a $1.5-million fine some seven years after chlorinated water leaked for three days from one of its fire suppression systems and eventually made its way into the North Saskatchewan River.

Gibson Energy ULC and GEP ULC (operating in partnership as Gibson Energy Partnership) were found guilty of two Fisheries Act violations during a two-week trial in July 2019.

The sentencing, however, only took place earlier in March 2021.

In 2014, investigators determined that between March 4 and 6, a chlorinated water leak occurred at the companies’ Gibson Edmonton Terminal and flowed into an unnamed creek. While it was later discovered by employees, the leak had time to flow out to the North Saskatchewan River, which contains 23 different fish species, including Walleye, Northern Pike and Lake Sturgeon.

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Water analysis at the point where the creek met the river showed that chlorine levels were still high enough to be harmful to fish.

The companies were found to not have taken all reasonable measures, consistent with public safety and the protection of fish, to prevent the leak or counteract it, in violation of 38(6) of the Fisheries Act. 

In addition to the $1.5-million fine, which will be directed to  Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, the companies will be ordered to make a presentation to industry within Strathcona County about the danger of chlorinated water.

As a result of the conviction, the company names will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

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