On January 25, 2016, Dalcon Enterprises Ltd., a general contractor, was convicted of two offences and fined $80,000 (plus the 25% victim fine surcharge). The fines were for the discharge of a contaminant that caused an adverse effect and for failing to report the discharge to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”), contrary to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).
Dalcon was contracted to carry out a water and sewer line replaced in the Town of Kemptville, Municipality of North Grenville. Dalcon provides civil and general contracting services. Another company had identified and marked the location of the utilities. The site of a two inch gas mainline was properly identified prior to Dalcon commencing its work.
On May 22, 2013 Dalcon was removing an old underground sewage concrete catch basis with an excavator. While removing the catch basin, the main gas line was punctured.
Enbridge gas was notified about the puncture. Emergency and repair crews were also notified and attended. As a precautionary measure, approximately 20 – 40 people were asked to leave their homes and businesses.
Enbridge notified the MOECC almost two hours after the incident, but Dalcon failed to report the puncture to the MOECC.
This case is another reminder of the importance of notifying the MOECC when a spill or discharge out of the normal course of events occurs. You must report a spill (section 92 of the EPA) to the Spills Action Centre. Similarly, when a discharge of a contaminant into the environment occurs out of the normal course of events, which causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect, this must also be reported (section 15 of the EPA).