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Imperial Oil charged

Andrew Livingstone
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 16, 2011

LLI GOLINE/NORMAN WELLS - The alleged release of a corrosive substance into the Mackenzie River at Imperial Oil's central processing facility in Norman Wells has landed the company in court on seven charges of contaminating the water system and failing to comply with its water licence.

Court documents revealed Imperial Oil Resources NWT Ltd. and Nalco Canada were summoned to court by an enforcement officer for Environment Canada for offences dating back to 2009. The court documents allege that between Oct. 3, 2009 and Nov. 3, 2009 Imperial Oil deposited or permitted the deposit of a corrosive inhibitor known as Nalco 7390 into the freshwater system upstream from the plant cooling heat exchangers - a summary offence under the Fisheries Act.

Imperial Oil and Nalco face charges under both the Fisheries Act and the Northwest Territories Water Act for the alleged dumping of the material into the water system, which is considered to be lethal to fish and fish habitat.

The two companies face three counts of violating Section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, which if found guilty could result in a fine of up to $300,000 for a summary conviction or up to $1 million for an indictable conviction and up to six months in prison.

The companies are also charged with four counts of violating Section 40(1)(a) of the NWT Waters Act for dumping waste, "in any other place under conditions in which the waste, or any other waste that results from the deposit of that waste, may enter any waters in a water management area." The maximum fine for violating this section of the act is $100,000 and/or jail time not exceeding one year.

Imperial Oil is also charged with failing to comply with its water licence under Section 40(2) of the territorial Waters Act.

The case was scheduled to be before a judge in Norman Wells on May 10.

Calls to the Crown prosecutor's office were not returned prior to press deadline.

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