Hog farm ordered to pay $50,000 for manure release

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Shooter’s Hill Livestock Inc., represented by owner Simon Goodwin, pleaded guilty on November 25, 2015 in Leduc Provincial Court and was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 for allowing the deposit of a deleterious substance (liquid hog manure) into water frequented by fish, which is an offence under the Fisheries Act.

On May 10, 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada was notified by the Alberta provincial environmental call centre of a release of hog manure into Conjuring Creek near Calmar, Alberta. An order to stop the release was issued by a provincial Inspector from the Natural Resources Conservation Board. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers attended the scene and observed liquid hog manure entering the creek. Numerous dead fish were found in the creek downstream to the point where it enters the North Saskatchewan River. Samples were collected and an investigation was initiated.

The investigation determined that the release of liquid hog manure occurred when Mr. Goodwin pumped it from one lagoon into another. The second lagoon overflowed through a culvert, allowing the liquid hog manure to flow over land before depositing into the creek. Fish tissue analyses determined that the cause of fish mortality was consistent with exposure to liquid pig manure.

While treated manure is a valuable fertilizer, untreated hog manure typically has at least 100 times the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of untreated domestic wastewater. Furthermore, hog manure has high concentrations of plant nutrients that can stimulate aquatic plant growth and impact water quality. It also “provides high levels of nitrogen, which can, in turn, increase nitrate concentrations of shallow groundwater,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). As a result of the conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offender’s Registry.

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