Peace River Hydro Partners ordered to pay $1.1 million for deposit of contaminated drainage water into the Peace River

August 2, 2023 – Fort St. John, British Columbia – Environment and Climate Change Canada

On July 31, 2023, Peace River Hydro Partners pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of British Columbia in Fort St. John to one charge of depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, in contravention of the federal Fisheries Act. It was fined $1.1 million, which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund to support projects that have a positive impact on Canada’s natural environment.

The charge stemmed from an investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers into the discharge of 3,300 m3 of contaminated drainage water into the Peace River on September 9 and 10, 2018. The investigation determined that, during a high rainfall event, the water management infrastructure at the Site C Clean Energy Project near Fort St. John, British Columbia, had insufficient available capacity to treat the additional drainage, and a mix of treated and untreated drainage was released into the Peace River. The contaminated drainage water had a low pH (acidic) and a high concentration of metals. A sample of the drainage water collected on September 9, 2018, determined that it contained a concentration of aluminum that was acutely lethal to fish. This unauthorized release was contrary to subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

As a result of this conviction, Peace River Hydro Partners 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.

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