The fully-loaded fuel truck slipped off a forest service road and landed in Lemon Creek in July 2013. File photo

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

An aviation fuel company has pleaded guilty to spilling fuel into a mountain stream in the Slocan Valley seven years ago and handed a hefty fine by a provincial court judge.

Calgary-based Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd pleaded guilty last Friday to one count of a deleterious deposit into waters frequented by fish, under the Fisheries Act.

The company made the plea in Nelson Provincial Court and has been fined $175,000.

The majority of the fine – $165,000 – will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund to be used for fish habitat conservation efforts in the Slocan Valley, according to a release from the province’s conservation officers service.

The maximum fine at the time of the offence was $300,000.

SEE: Lemon Creek spill: driver guilty, provincial government acquitted

SEE: Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

The ruling came after 35,000 litres of jet fuel was spilled into Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley, northwest of Nelson, BC, in 2013.

The spill contaminated the waterway that is a tributary of the Slocan River, led to residential evacuations and cost the trucking company approximately $5 million in clean-up costs.

The tanker truck full of fuel was destined for helicopters fighting a forest fire in the area.

The fuel truck driver, Danny Lasante, was earlier convicted of one count of introducing waste into environment causing pollution, contrary to section 6(4) under the Environmental Management Act and fined $20,000. Half of that fine is directed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and due in 2021.

The multi-jurisdictional investigation into the spill included the B.C. Conservation Officer Service and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The Province of B.C. was acquitted of all charges related to the spill.

SEE: More appeals in Lemon Creek fuel spill case

The spill cause widespread concern in the rural Slocan Valley that the fuel had contaminated local drinking water supplies.

Walter Popoff, a local politician, says the event hit the community hard.

“Initally it was a major impact,” says Popoff. “There were concerns about the water, effect on crops, health effects, so it had a major, major impact.

“But as we worked through it, most of the issues were resolved, and the concerns were addressed. We moved forward.”

The justice was served a month too late for one of the principal activists who pushed for criminal prosecutions in the case.

Marilyn Burgoon launched a rare private-prosecution, which was eventually taken over by the federal government.

Burgoon passed away in January.

SEE: Prominent Slocan Valley activist dies



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Hydro opens applications for COVID-19 Relief Fund to residential customers

Small business owners will be able to apply to the fund next week.

Northern B.C. charity rolling out COVID-19 relief funds soon

United Way of Northern BC say funding requests are outweighing the amount of donations received.

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read