Environment and Climate Change Canada reports that, on August 15, 2018, FortisAlberta Inc. (FortisAlberta) was ordered by the Provincial Court of Alberta to pay a fine of $300,000 after pleading guilty to one count of violating the PCB Regulations and one count of violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
The charges stem from the company’s release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment and its failure to promptly notify an enforcement officer or other designated person of the release. The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.
PCBs are toxic industrial chemical substances that are harmful to aquatic ecosystems and the species that feed primarily on aquatic organisms. PCBs are very persistent in the environment and in the living tissue of humans and animals. Scientific data suggests they are probable human carcinogens, and they are toxic to fish at low concentrations.
On May 12, 2016, FortisAlberta reported that one of their transformers, located in the town of Hinton, had leaked oil. An investigation conducted by enforcement officers found that FortisAlberta discovered the leak on October 19, 2015, but did not report it until May 12, 2016. Testing results showed that approximately 325 litres of oil containing PCBs were released into the environment.
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