September 22, 2003

City of Moncton pleads guilty in landfill case
by Environment Canada

The municipality of the City of Moncton has pleaded guilty to federal environmental charges related to a decommissioned landfill.

A provincial court judge ordered the City to pay a fine of $10,000, to contribute $20,000 to the Jonathan Creek Restoration Committee, and to contribute $5,000 to the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund. As well, the judge ordered the municipality to arrange and pay for all work needed to ensure that the landfill meets requirements of the federal Fisheries Act. It is estimated that remediation costs could be as high as $700,000.

The City must monitor the landfill and report regularly to Environment Canada on test results. If there are any continuing or new problems, the municipality must then immediately address them.

Enforcement Officers of Environment Canada’s Atlantic Region laid charges last February¬†under Section 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act relating to toxic substances allegedly being discharged from a decommissioned landfill owned by the City of Moncton. This is the first time that a municipality has been prosecuted by Environment Canada for landfill problems. The charges alleged that toxic substances samples from the decommissioned City of Moncton landfill were acutely lethal to fish, and that the toxic substances entered Jonathan Creek and the Petitcodiac River. In addition, the landfill closure plan selected by the municipality did not comply with the Fisheries Act.

Charges were laid against the City of Moncton; the Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Moncton; an engineering consulting firm and an employee of the consulting firm. Charges against the Commissioner of Public Works have been dropped. The charges against the engineering firm and the employee are proceeding in provincial court.

Environment Canada’s investigation was initiated because of evidence provided by Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, a local Moncton environmental group. Environment Canada’s Office of Enforcement then conducted its own detailed investigation, during which search warrants were executed on the landfill site, Moncton City Hall, and the offices of the engineering consulting firm.

The money awarded to the Environmental Damages Fund because of this successful prosecution will be used to fund local environmental projects. The Fund is one of the tools that helps environmental law enforcers ensure that polluters take responsibility for their actions, and gives courts a way to guarantee that money from pollution fines and settlements is directly invested to repair the actual harm done by the pollution.

Environment Canada’s Environmental Protection Enforcement staff investigates potential pollution offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA 1999) and the federal Fisheries Act. They help ensure that companies, government employees, and the public comply with legislation and regulations that protect Atlantic Canada’s environment.

For further information, contact:

Dave Aggett Enforcement Division Environment Canada, Atlantic Region (902) 426-1925