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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read