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Mushroom farms fined $650K for polluting BC creeks

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Two British Columbia mushroom farms with a history of contraventions have been fined for piping waste effluent into fish-bearing waters, after ignoring multiple warnings from environment officers to stop.

The owner of the two Abbotsford-based mushroom farms pleaded guilty under the Fisheries Act and was forced to pay $650,000.

Effluent deposited into the creeks was “acutely lethal” to fish and “brown”, according to environment officials.

H.Q. Mushroom Farm Ltd. and Delfresh Mushroom Farm Ltd. were both asked to change their waste disposal practices after visits from inspection officers; however, inspectors found no improvements when they returned to the farms on a later date.

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The two farms are owned by Huu Quang Quach, who was fined $1,500 in April 2016 after complaints about similar dumping practices. Additionally, H.Q. Mushroom Farm Ltd. received a $10,000 fine in 2008 for deposits into an unnamed tributary to Nathan Creek.

The owner had previously been fined by city officials for breaching the municipal Waterways Protection Bylaw.

Air quality issues have also been a concern for the farms, as local residents have often complained of foul odours emitting from the facilities. Local publication, The Bardner Barker, has detailed some of the issues that led to a cease and desist order.

The owner has also faced reprimands from WorkSafeBC in relation to safety practices on the mushroom farms.

The new fines will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. As a result of this conviction, the company names will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Related Professional Development Course

Learn about federal, provincial and municipal regulations governing water and wastewater, as well as best practices, by attending the CANECT course: “Water & Wastewater Regulation and Compliance 2022:”. This course is being held on April 27, 2022 in Vaughan, Ontario as part of the 28th annual CANECT Environmental Compliance and Due Diligence Training Event. Visit the CANECT website to learn more.

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