First Conviction under Federal Environmental Emergency Regulations

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In Dec. 2012, 150,000 litres of hydrochloric acid spilled through a broken sight glass on a storage tank system. Of the 150,000 litres spilled, an estimated 40,000 litres overflowed the secondary containment and about 5,000 litres entered a nearby creek, resulting in a fish kill. The investigation determined that a valve between two tanks had been left open, increasing the total amount spilled. In addition, an acid cloud formed as a result of the spill, requiring the evacuation of the surrounding area. A company pleaded guilty to violations of the Fisheries Act, CEPA, 1999 and the Environmental Emergency Regulations—the first conviction for an offence under these regulations. The company was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $370,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund [Panther Industries (Alberta) Inc., Govt. News Release, July 29, 2015].