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

‘Big brother’ style TV show continues to film in West Kelowna amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Water quality advisory rescinded for Lakeview water system in West Kelowna

The water quality advisory was required March 25 due to turbidity levels in Rose Valley Reservoir

‘Share the road’: More cyclists hitting Kelowna streets amid COVID-19 pandemic

Increased bicycle, pedestrian traffic due to shifting seasons and social distancing

RCMP investigate Kelowna grass fire

Police are looking to speak with two men following a grass fire on March 25

Unemployment up, Kelowna loses 2,000 jobs in March: StatCan

March unemployment rate 5.9 per cent, highest in Kelowna since January 2018

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

Serious assault leaves Osoyoos woman in critical condition: RCMP

A 60-year-old Osoyoos woman suffers life threatening injuries following assault inside home

COVID-19: Vernon pet grooming store closed temporarily after symptoms shown

Wet Spot Grooming and Pet Care to announce return Easter Monday

Easter weekend brightened up by Okanagan business

Social distancing might have you down, so one business is spreading cheer

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

Most Read