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Is spilling drinking water an offence?

Clark Builders, construction managers for a new pool building at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton in 2009, hired a subcontractor to dig the foundation pilings.  Clark had failed to locate underground water mains before digging began, and the subcontractor  hit a water main.  This released around 12 million litres of chlorinated water into the North Saskatchewan River, waters known to have the greatest diversity of fish species of any river in Alberta.  The chlorinated water was analysed and found to be harmful to fish.

Following a guilty plea to one count under the Fisheries Act, the company was ordered to pay a penalty of $285,000.  Of this, $15,000 represents a fine, while $270,000 will be paid to the Environmental Damages Fund (administered by Environment Canada) where it will be used to conserve and protect fish and fish habitat in Alberta.

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