Water Treatment Operator fined $30,000 for Safe Drinking Water Act Violation

Schreiber ON (11/13/2020) – Court Location – Schreiber.

Description of Offence – The conviction relates to failing to immediately report an adverse drinking water test result to the ministry.

Date of Offence – During the period on or about March 3, 2017

Date of Conviction – October 14, 2020

Penalty Imposed – The Ontario Clean Water Agency was convicted of one violation under the Safe Drinking Water Act and was fined $30,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $7,500 with 90 days to pay the fine.

Background –

The Township of Schreiber owns the drinking water treatment plant located on Peary Street in the Township of Schreiber. The Ontario Clean Water Agency is the operating authority for the plant.

The Ontario Clean Water Agency is a corporation established under the Capital Investment Plan Act.
The Township of Schreiber’s raw water is obtained from a nearby lake and is treated by using gas chlorination and a filtration system that operates in parallel to remove particles from the water supply.

Five separate filters are equipped with an analyzer to continuously monitor filter effluent turbidity. Turbidity refers to the water’s level of cloudiness resulting from suspended particulates and is reported in terms of Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) measurement.

A turbidity adverse test result is prescribed as an incident of two turbidity readings exceeding 1.0 NTU for 15 minutes and must be immediately reported to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre.

On March 3, 2017, one of the system filters produced water exceeding 1.0 NTU for a period of 99 minutes. The adverse test result was not reported to the Spills Action Centre as required.

The ministry’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid one charge that resulted in one conviction.