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Nunavut fined $100K for high school diesel leak into Hudson Bay

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The Nunavut government has been fined $100,000 for a diesel fuel leak at a local high school that flowed into Hudson Bay, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The leak lasted for almost an entire day in spring of 2020, releasing approximately 18,400 litres of diesel fuel into Hudson Bay, federal officials reported.

The leak occurred in the mechanical room of Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik High School in Rankin Inlet. Later, environmental investigators determined that it was the result of human error in the manual transfer of fuel from a storage tank system regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Once discovered, the leak was reported through the Northwest Territories and Nunavut spill reporting website. The fine falls under subsection 2.1(1) of the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, which is designed to reduce the risk of contaminating soil and groundwater due to spills and leaks of petroleum products from storage tank systems. 

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Following the fuel leak, which Nunavut pleaded guilty to, the Nunavut Court of Justice issued several orders to prevent future incidents at the school. First, Nunavut officials must evaluate all buildings owned by Nunavut’s Community and Government Services Property and Asset Management Division that have federally regulated storage tank systems in order to identify all potential indoor and outdoor drains to the environment.

Additionally, Nunavut officials must provide a report to the federal government to demonstrate all mitigation measures taken.

Lastly, Nunavut officials must disclose the circumstances of the incident to Rankin Inlet residents to ensure community members are aware that they may have been adversely affected by the diesel release.

The $100,000 fine will go towards the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

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