$600,000 Fine for Sediment Discharge

On May 15, 2017, 228057 Ontario Inc. (formerly Naylor Renewable Energy Inc.) pled guilty to three offences and was fined $600,000 plus the 25 per cent victim fine surcharge for discharging sediment-laden stormwater causing the impairment water quality, failing to notify the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”), and failing to utilize best practices for stormwater management, sediment and erosion control as required by the MOECC in contravention of the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) authorized the construction of a 10 megawatt solar farm located in Hamilton Township. 2280577 Ontario Inc. had primary responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of the items identified in the stormwater management, erosion and sediment control plan which was required by the REA. Construction of the solar farm started in 2013.

The MOECC responded to a compliant about the solar farm in late March 2014. While on site the MOECC noticed that the erosion and sediment control measures were inadequate and instructed 2280577 Ontario Inc. to implement a sediment control inspection program and report any discharges to the MOECC.

On April 2, 2014 the MOECC responded to another complaint and attended the solar farm to determine whether or not the mitigation measures had been successfully implemented. The MOECC again observed inadequate or improperly maintained sediment control measures that permitted the discharge of sediment-laden water to the nearby watercourses.

The MOECC’s investigation concluded that the discharge of the sediment-laden water from the solar farm caused the impairment of the headwaters of two creek tributaries: at a distance of approximately 2 km in the Brook Creek tributary and approximately 4 km in the tributary of Baltimore Creek.  The MOECC found that the discharge that occurred on April 2, 2014 and was not reported to the MOECC as required by the EPA.

The MOECC also found that 2280577 Ontario Inc. failed to comply with the Construction Plan Report submitted in support of the REA application and that best management practices had not been engaged, which resulted in a contravention of the REA.