The presentation focuses on the manure produced by farm animals.
In particular, the presentation looks at how manure is regulated
and how violations of the acts governing nutrient management and
discharges to the environment are enforced.
Recent case law in the area shows a number of trends in
A discharge to into waters or a shoreline impairing the
quality of the water, is an offence under s. 30(1) of the OWRA and subject to a minimum fines
on a first offence of $25,000, for
corporations, and $5,000 for individuals. The fines imposed may,
however, be significantly higher. In R. v. van Boekel two corporations
were each fined $50,000 for discharging pig manure into two
different water courses.
R. v. van Boekel is also an example
of the risk of Directors and Officers (D&O) liability under the
OWRA.The director was fined $20,000
for failing to take reasonable care to prevent the discharge.
Section 116 of the OWRA states that D&O must take reasonable
care to prevent the corporation from: an unlawful discharge;
failing to notify the MOE of such a discharge; hindering a
provincial officer, including by providing false information;
failing to install, maintain, operate, etc. equipment required by
an approval; or contravening an order or direction under the
individuals - see e.g. R. v. Martin, 2013 CarswellOnt
Mr. Martin had arrangement to use the manure produced by O&E
Farm's 1,500 pigs. He pumped approximately 100,000 gallons from
an under barn storage tank to an earthen storage lagoon. The
following day, the operator of the farm learned that there was
manure in a nearby creek and, when he checked on the lagoon, he
found that most of the 100,000 gallons was gone. The investigation
found that a rodent, possibly a ground hog, had excavated a tunnel
in the side of the lagoon. The tunnel allowed pig manure to reach a
field tile and from there, a municipal ditch and the creek.
Mr. Martin failed to inspect the lagoon before pumping the manure.
He plead guilty to a violation of s. 30(1) of the OWRA and was
fined $15,000. The charges against the Farm were withdrawn.
In the field of manure management, engineers play a number of
important roles, including ensuring that manure lagoons are
properly constructed. In R. v. Gillette Farms, a dairy
farm hired a construction company to build a new earthen lagoon to
store liquid manure. The lagoon was built to the specifications
outlined in a sketch provided by a Director of Gillette Farms.
Unfortunately, the lagoon leaked into a nearby river.
The construction company plead guilty to discharging or causing or
permitting the discharge of the liquid manure to the river and was
fined $30,000 – $5,000 more than the minimum. The farm plead
guilty to constructing the manure lagoon without having it designed
by a professional engineer and failing to have it inspected by a
professional engineer upon completion. It was fined $5,000 for each
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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