City charged under environmental regulations

Court date set for next month

  • Oct. 17, 2012 2:57 p.m.

Charges have been laid against the City of Red Deer following an investigation by Environment Canada, related to a substance release between May and October 2010 at an Electric Light and Power (EL&P) transformer station.

The release, which exceeded the allowable 2 mg/kg, occurred as a result of work being conducted to remove transformer coolant containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) between the levels of 50 and 500 ppm at all City transformers. This work was necessary as a result of new federal legislation, which calls for the removal of PCBs at certain levels from all equipment.

After the City notified Alberta Environment of the release, an investigation began to determine whether the City was in compliance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

“We are committed to the environment and working to ensure we minimize our impact in all cases. This incident was confined to a small site and was therefore not felt to be a public safety concern. Unfortunately, in this case, we were not in compliance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and as a result we have been ticketed with six violations under the act,” said Paul Goranson, director of Development Services.

The charges relate specifically to release, improper storage, and failure to timely report and remedy.

According to the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, releases must be reported to Alberta Environment at the first available opportunity as soon as the person responsible knows or should know about the release. The City was made aware of the spill on Oct. 21, 2010, and the spill was reported to Alberta Environment on Oct. 25, 2010.

The pending charges relate specifically to release, improper storage, failure to timely report and remedy.

Since October 2010, the City has worked closely with Alberta Environment and Environment Canada to provide all necessary information, documentation and those interviews needed to allow them to conduct their investigation, said Goranson.

“Since the incident, we have reviewed our spill reporting and safety requirements to ensure our procedures and standards meet or exceed those set out in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.”

The charges are scheduled to be heard in court on Nov. 6.

– Fawcett

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