Raw sewage release leads to $200,000 penalty for Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission

July 14, 2014 - Gibbons, Alberta - Environment Canada

On July 10, 2014, the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission (ACRWC) pleaded guilty in Alberta Provincial Court to one count of an offence under the Fisheries Act, related to a release of untreated sewage into the Sturgeon River. The ACRWC was sentenced to a $200,000 penalty.

On August 10, 2012, Environment Canada received notification that a pumping station in Gibbons had failed, and was releasing raw sewage into the Sturgeon River, which is fish-bearing.

Enforcement officers immediately responded to the scene and collected samples of the raw sewage bypassing the pumping station into the Sturgeon River. Subsequent sample analysis confirmed that the discharge was deleterious to fish. The ensuing investigation revealed that the ACRWC did not have the appropriate procedures in place to prevent the discharge. It is estimated that 500,000 litres of untreated sewage was discharged into the river over a period of approximately 12 hours.

Quick Facts

  • The penalty will be paid into the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) to promote the proper management and protection of fish or fish habitat in and around the area impacted.
  • The EDF is administered by Environment Canada to direct funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to projects that will benefit for our natural environment.
  • Community groups and other organizations can apply for funding from the EDF for restoration and other environmental protection projects.

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