Construction company fined for Ontario Water Resources Act violations

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Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) announced that Thomas Cavanagh Construction Limited (TCCL) was fined $220,000 on July 21, 2017, for four offences under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA).  TCCL had been found guilty of these offences on June 9, 2017, which were related to discharging materials into a watercourse and failing to notify the Ministry contrary to the OWRA.

According to the MOECC, TCCL was hired on January 2, 2013, to install the stormwater infrastructure at the Blackstone community, in accordance with an approved design plan. The work commenced at the end of January 2013.

The community is located on a former agricultural site located in South Kanata, Ottawa. In close proximity to the site is the Monahan Drain, which is an agricultural drainage works that flows into the Jock River and has a catchment area that supports a warm water fish habitat. The headwaters of the Drain are located at the Blackstone community.

The MOECC says that on June 11, 2013, a Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) inspector conducted an inspection of the construction activities at the Blackstone community and observed excessive sediment discharge to the Drain. It was also noted that sediment and erosion control measures were ineffective, that the measures had not been properly maintained and were inconsistent with the approved plan. On that date, the RVCA inspector revoked the RVCA permit, and referred the matter to the Ministry.

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According to the MOECC, on June 13, 2013, Ministry staff and the RVCA inspector conducted a second inspection of the site and noted that, although there had been some improvements made from two days prior, some of the control measures were still ineffective and not in line with the approved sediment and erosion control measures plan.

TCCL had assumed responsibility by contract for controlling the discharge of sediments and reporting any discharges. However, the Ministry said it received no report from TCCL regarding the discharges that were observed on either dates.

Subsequently, the matter was referred to the Investigations and Enforcement Branch. Following an investigation, the defendant was charged.

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