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

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Kimberley Food Recovery Depot continues to operate

The Kimberley Food Recovery Depot continues to do its good work despite… Continue reading

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read