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Eurocan pulp mill fined $130,00 for effluent spill


April 14, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

West Fraser Mills Ltd. (West Fraser) received a penalty totaling $130,000 after pleading guilty in provincial court…

West Fraser Mills Ltd. (West Fraser) received a penalty totaling $130,000 after pleading guilty in provincial court to one count of depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, contrary to subsection 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act. Crown and defence counsels jointly filed an agreed statement of facts with the court.

West Fraser’s Eurocan Pulp & Paper Co. mill in Kitimat produces unbleached linerboard and sack kraft.

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The $130,000 penalty to West Fraser includes fines of $5,000, a payment of $65,000 to the University of Northern British Columbia for the purposes of conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat in north-western British Columbia, and a payment of $60,000 for deposit into the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund of British Columbia.

Environment Canada’s enforcement officers conducted an investigation with the assistance of members from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment Conservation Officer Service of a spill at the Eurocan mill on June 21, 2007.

The investigation revealed that West Fraser had not been duly diligent in the maintenance of the effluent treatment systems, specifically the main effluent line, at the Eurocan mill.  This resulted in a spill of untreated pulp mill effluent into an oxbow (a U-shaped bend in a river) connected to the Kitimat River, waters frequented by fish. According to Environment Canada, untreated pulp mill effluent has a number of characteristics, such as high pH and resin acids, that are lethal to fish and other aquatic life.

As a result of the investigation, charges were laid against West Fraser on June 27, 2008.


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