Alberta energy companies fined $1.5 million for unlawful deposit of chlorinated water into North Saskatchewan River

News release

March 19, 2021 – Edmonton, Alberta

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health, safety, and environment of Canadians. The Government enforces laws that protect Canada’s air, water, and natural environment, and we take this responsibility very seriously.

On March 18, 2021, Gibson Energy ULC and GEP ULC (operating in partnership as Gibson Energy Partnership) were sentenced in the Provincial Court of Alberta and ordered to pay a total fine of $1.5 million. The companies were found guilty of two counts of violating the Fisheries Act. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. In addition to the fine, the companies will be ordered to make a presentation to industry within Strathcona County about the danger of chlorinated water.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred between March 4 and 6, 2014, when employees discovered a leak from the fire suppression system, located at the Gibson Edmonton Terminal. Over the course of three days, chlorinated water entered an unnamed creek, which flows to the North Saskatchewan River. Analysis of the water at the release site and where it entered the North Saskatchewan River determined the levels of chlorine to be deleterious, or harmful, to fish.

On July 25, 2019, after a two-week trial, the court found Gibson Energy ULC and GEP ULC guilty of the following violations:

  • depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish, or in a place where the deleterious substance may enter water frequented by fish, in violation of subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act; and,
  • failing to, as soon as feasible, take all reasonable measures, consistent with public safety and with the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat, to prevent the deposit of a deleterious substance, or to counteract, mitigate or remedy any adverse effects that result from the occurrence, in violation of 38(6) of the Fisheries Act

As a result of this conviction, the company names will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Quick facts

  • The North Saskatchewan River contains over 23 different fish species, including Walleye, Northern Pike, and Lake Sturgeon.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.

  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to repair environmental damage or benefit the environment. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

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