City sentenced under federal PCB regulations

  • Jan. 9, 2013 4:15 p.m.

The City will pay $50,000 after pleading guilty Tuesday to a charge under federal PCB regulations, stemming from a substance release that occurred sometime between May and October 2010 at an Electric Light and Power (EL&P) transformer station located at 3907 55 Ave.

The incident was confined to a small fenced site, and the substance was cleaned up in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines.

Initially, the City was charged with six violations under the regulations, five of which were withdrawn in court.

The penalty to be paid by the City will be used to further environmental protection or enhancement in the Red Deer area.

“While we do regret that this incident occurred, we are happy to hear that the penalty associated with this charge potentially results in money that can be fed back into our community, specifically for the environment,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

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. This work was necessary as a result of new federal legislation, which calls for the removal of PCBs at certain levels from all equipment.

Since October 2010, the City 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.

“Safety remains, as always, a priority for the City of Red Deer, and this incident reconfirms the importance of reviewing our safety and spill reporting procedures on a regular basis,” said Paul Goranson, director of development services.

As a result of the investigation, charge and order, the City is to create and implement standard operating procedures for the management of PCBs to ensure compliance in the future. A staff training program related to proper management of PCBs will also be put in place.

“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. We already proactively implemented many of the requirements of today’s order,” said Goranson.