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In Blatz v. Impact Energy Inc., the Alberta Court of Queen’s bench found a gas drilling company liable for contaminating a well on the landowners’ property. As a result, the landowners had to drill a new well and also suffered weeks of health problems, such as diarrhea, mouth sores, and bladder infections. The plaintiffs claimed that they were forced to sell their cattle as a result.

The Court ordered the gas drilling company to pay for the construction of the new well, $30,000. One family member was awarded $4000 for lost wages, for the time he spent dealing with the contamination; seven others were each awarded $1000 for the health problems they had suffered. This case powerfully illustrates the extremely modest amounts that are generally awarded for nuisance, no matter how serious. It is not clear whether the “successful” plaintiffs will be ahead financially, taking into account the net costs to them of their own lawyers and the trial.

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