Environment and Climate Change Canada reports that Canadian National Railway Company (CN) has pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of Alberta to offences under the federal and provincial environmental legislation, resulting in fines of more than $2,500,000.
On April 9, 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers responded to a report of an oil sheen on the North Saskatchewan River. With assistance from the City of Edmonton’s Drainage Services’ staff, Environment and Climate Change Canada officers traced the substance over eight kilometres through Edmonton’s storm drain system to an engine fuelling station at CN’s Bissell Yard.
A joint investigation with Alberta Environment and Parks determined that the oil-water separator and fuel storage system at Bissell Yard was not compliant with a number of requirements under the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, which caused an estimated 90 litres of diesel to be released to the storm sewer.
CN subsequently pleaded guilty, and it was sentenced for the following offences:
- Deposit of a deleterious substance to fish-bearing water or to a place where it may enter fish-bearing water, in violation of the federal Fisheries Act, resulting in a $2,000,000 penalty;
- Use of a centrifugal pump to transfer oil-contaminated water, in violation of the federal Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, resulting in a $150,000 penalty;
- Failure to keep an emergency plan readily available, in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, resulting in a $100,000 penalty;
- Failure to withdraw and remove single-walled underground steel piping, in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, resulting in a $250,000 penalty.
- Release of a substance that may cause a significant adverse effect and failure to all reasonable measures to remediate after a release to the environment, in violation of the provincial Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, resulting in a $125,000 total penalty.
In addition, CN was ordered to remove over two kilometres of single-walled underground piping, at a cost of approximately $750,000.
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