City of Hamilton Charged with Water Pollution Offences
Today in Hamilton in provincial court the City of Hamilton appeared for the first time on charges brought by the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE). Ministry officials charged the city with offenses dating back to the summer of 1999 for violations of the Ontario Water Resources Act for discharges from the city-owned Rennie Street landfill. The discharges into the Red Hill Creek include PCB, ammonia, and pesticides.
The Ministry of Environment’s charges follow charges brought against the City by local environmental activist Lynda Lukasik in November of 1999 for pollution of the same water body from the same toxic landfill. The private charges are based on evidence of pollution discharges into Red Hill Creek collected by local citizens, McMaster University, and Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI) over a period of years. Red Hill Creek is the last remaining natural creek flowing directly into Hamilton Harbour. Ms. Lukasik is represented by Sierra Legal Defense Fund.
The accused is scheduled to appear again in provincial court on September 11 in response to both public and private charges.
Mark Mattson, Executive Director of EBI, welcomed the MOE’s decision to pursue a full investigation into the Red Hill Creek discharges and its decision to lay its own charge, based on their own evidence. “The time and resources expended by the MOE investigating the pollution, following the original evidence collected by community groups and EBI, sets an important precedent for how evidence of environmental crime should be acted upon by our environmental police.”