UBC fined $1.2M for ammonia leak that killed fish in the Fraser River

Jun 25 2019, 6:45 pm

The Univesity of British Columbia (UBC) and a Toronto-based refrigeration company have been fined by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

The sentencing took place on June 21, for an ammonia-leak incident that took place in 2014.

On September 12, 2014, ECCC was contacted regarding an ammonia odour near Booming Ground Creek in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, a tributary of the Fraser River.

The source was found to be a refrigeration plant at UBC’s Thunderbird Arena. At the time, the university and CIMCO Refrigeration were completing repairs to the ice rink’s refrigeration system.

A mixture of water and ammonia was discharged into a storm drain which leaked into the creek. Officers and park rangers found the leak killed approximately 70 fish.

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As a result, CIMCO Refrigeration has been fined $800,000 after pleading guilty to “depositing a deleterious substance that may enter water frequented by fish.”

UBC has been fined $1.2 million for permitting the deposit, as well as “failing to report the incident in a timely matter.”

In addition, UBC has been ordered to conduct five years of electronic monitoring of storm-water quality at Booming Ground Creek.

Both organizations’ names will be added to the Environmental Offender’s Registry and the fines will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

UBC, however, has filed an appeal against the convictions.

The news comes just weeks after the school was ranked number one in the world for its efforts on climate change.