Zellstoff Celgar Limited Partnership has been convicted and fined in connection with an effluent spill n 2008 from the company’s kraft pulp mill in Castlegar, B.C.
The company was fined a total of $150,000 by the provincial court, and ordered to post details about the conviction on its corporate website until July 31, 2013.
The judgement determined that over two days a total of 209 million litres of “deleterious effluent” was released into the Columbia River. It also stated that Zellstoff Celgar failed to comply with permit requirements following discharges in excess of their permitted limits.
According to a report on Castlegarnews.com, the judge noted that while there was no proof that Zellstoff-Celgar caused any harm to the environment during the spill, there was the potential for harm.
An Environment Canada press release regarding the sentencing referred to the spill as “depositing acutely lethal effluent into the Columbia River.”
The company may still appeal the court’s decision. Sellstoff Celgar is owned by Mercer International.
The conviction stems from an investigation launched on November 19, 2008, by Environment Canada with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment's Conservation Officer Service, following a spill from the Zellstoff Celgar pulp mill in Castlegar. The investigation led to one charge under the federal Fisheries Act, and a total of five charges under the provincial Environmental Management Act.
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation will receive $120,000 of the fine, and has said it will apply the funds to projects in the Columbia River watershed.