BC pulp mill fined $900K for untreated effluent discharge into lake

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Williston Lake. Photo Credit: Regional District of Fraser Fort-George.

The British Columbia-based Mackenzie Pulp Mill Corporation has pleaded guilty in provincial court and been fined $900,000 for improperly treating wastewater effluent before discharging it into Williston Lake, an area with active fish populations that fills the basin of the upper Peace River.

In a statement about the conviction, the federal government said that Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers investigated incidents at Mackenzie Pulp Mill during July 2014 and September 2016, when effluent discharged from the bleached pulp mill was found to be harmful to fish habitat.

Mill officials in Mackenzie, B.C., pleaded guilty on April 19, 2018, to violating pollution-prevention provisions of the federal Fisheries Act. 

In addition to the fine, which the federal government plans to use for the conservation of fish or fish habitat in the Omineca region of British Columbia, the company was also ordered to complete an independent audit of its operations to prevent similar future incidents.

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As a result of the conviction, Mackenzie Pulp Mill’s name will be added to the federal Environmental Offenders Registry.

The mill was sold to new ownership in 2010 after closing its doors in 2008, just months after the bankruptcy of U.S. forest company Pope and Talbot.

Related Course

Attend the Managing Water & Wastewater Issues training course at CANECT to learn about the regulatory framework around managing and troubleshooting common water and wastewater issues. This course is being held May 10, 2018 at the CANECT Environmental compliance and due diligence training event in Vaughan, Ontario. Visit www.canect.net for more information.

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