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Property Owner Fined $10,000 for Environmental Protection Act Violations

Court Bulletin

Property Owner Fined $10,000 for Environmental Protection Act Violations

Convicted - Andrew Martin

Court Location - Kitchener Court

Description of Offence - The conviction relates to permitting the discharge of silage seepage into or in a roadside ditch that ultimately flowed into Boomer Creek, which may have impaired the quality of the waters.

Date of Offence - On or about August 3, 2017.

Date of Conviction - December 4, 2019

Penalty Imposed - The defendant was convicted of one violation under the Ontario Water Resources Act and was fined $10,000 plus victim fine surcharge of $1,500 with 120 days to pay.

Background:

  • Andrew Martin is the owner of a rural agricultural property on Manser Road in Waterloo. During the period when the violation occurred, Mr. Martin was growing crops on-site to produce silage to feed cattle.
  • In August 2017 the ministry was notified of a fish kill and the presence of a black sludge in Boomer Creek in the Township of Wellesley. Officers and members of the public observed dead fish, sludge and there was a rotting odour. Water samples were taken for laboratory analysis.
  • Officers traced the source of the black sludge to Mr. Martin's farm, and upon site inspection observed seepage leaking from a silo and into barn floor drains. The drain output was later traced to a field drain that eventually flowed into Boomer Creek.
  • According to evidence , Mr. Martin had deposited fresh cut plants into the on-site silo on July 28 and 29, 2017 without being field wilted to allow for drainage of excess moisture.
  • The discharge was stopped on August 3, 2017.
  • Laboratory testing results indicated that the discharge initiated a series of responses within the waters, that allowed for accelerated plant growth resulting in an algal bloom. This impaired the habitat for fish, invertebrates and other aquatic life in the creek.   
  • The ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges resulting in the conviction.

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