South Slave

Hay River business fined $150K over fuel leak into river


A Hay River company must pay $150,000 to an environmental damage fund after allowing a mixture of diesel and water to leak from a fuel truck into the nearby river.

The spill happened in October 2016. The diesel and water mix leaked onto land next to the Hay River over a period of 20 hours, leading some of the fuel to reach the river itself.

The company responsible was Hay River Mobile Home Park Ltd, a division of the Rowe's Group of Companies, which is based in the same town.

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The CBC, which first reported the fine, said an expert appointed by Rowe's had estimated between 3.3 litres and 79.1 litres of fuel reached the river. In a statement, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said the full amount of fuel discharged into the river was "undetermined."

The federal department noted the river is home to walleye, whitefish, northern pike, and other species of fish. Officials were notified when someone called the NWT's spill reporting hotline to report a "fuel sheen" on the river.

"Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with the laws and regulations ... which protect Canada’s natural environment," read the department's statement.

ECCC said a guilty plea had been entered on behalf of the company in court on Wednesday. The company's name, the department added, will be placed on a registry of "environmental offenders."

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