Two Alberta construction companies have been convicted under the
Fisheries Act for rupturing municipal
water mains, discharging chlorinated drinking water into storm
sewers and fish habitat.
Treated municipal drinking water is harmful to fish, which is
why it cannot be used as is in aquariums. So is it a breach of the
Fisheries Act to discharge municipal drinking water into
storm sewers? And does it matter how much?
Norellco twice broke a high pressure water main by
using a backhoe within one metre of the pipe. As a result,
approximately 18,000 litres of chlorinated drinking water was
discharged into local sewer drains leading to the Sturgeon
A second break discharged a further estimated 16,000 litres
of chlorinated drinking water into the river. The company failed to
follow guidelines set out in the Alberta Occupational Health and
Safety Code. Tests showed the chlorinated water was deleterious to
The company will also participate in the 2015 Northern
Construction Safety Officers Conference to inform attendees about
the releases, the causes and how preventative measures can avoid
$180,000 of the total penalty will be credited toward the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) to promote the
proper management and protection of fish or fish habitat in
The Sturgeon River is home to a number of fish species,
including White Sucker, Northern Pike and Longnose Dace.
Builders was ordered to pay $285,000 after pleading guilty to one
count, for releasing approximately 12 million litres
of chlorinated water into the North Saskatchewan River
after striking a water main during a construction project.
Samples of the chlorinated water showed that it was harmful to
fish. The North Saskatchewan River has the highest diversity of
fish species of any river in Alberta, including burbot, mountain
whitefish, walleye, sauger, and other species.
The water main was hit by a sub-contractor working for Clark
Builders. Clark Builders, as construction managers of the project,
failed to obtain underground locations for the water main prior to
excavating foundation pilings for a pool building at the Royal Glenora
Of Clark Builders' total penalty, $15,000 was a fine, and
$270,000 was to be paid to the Environmental Damages Fund, to be
used to protect fish and/or fish habitat in the Province of
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