Feb 28 2002

Kingston Whig-Standard

Farm operators face huge fines for polluting bay
by Arthur Milnes

Local News – A Napanee-area factory farm is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after being convicted yesterday under federal fisheries regulations.

Justice of the Peace Lorraine Watson found Hay Bay Genetics, its manager, Mark Davis, and company president, Ron Davis, each guilty of three counts of releasing effluent into Hay Bay and one count of failing to stop the release when ordered.

Under federal law, those convicted face maximum fines of $300,000 per person, per count.

Watson’s ruling came after a nine -day trial in the Ontario Court of Justice held in Napanee and Kingston that began in December 2000.

Federal prosecutor Dave Crowe told the court that inspectors discovered a problem after a private citizen complained in the summer of 1998.

Crowe said samples taken from an outflow at the factory farm, which could be seen travelling into Hay Bay, showed that the substance was deadly to rainbow trout. He said the company was then ordered to stop releasing the effluent into Hay Bay, to begin routine sampling and to develop a means to ensure that substances dangerous to fish would no longer end up in the bay. As of December of that year, Crowe said, the deposits – suspected to come from the manure produced at the hog operation – continued and charges under the Fisheries Act were laid.

The defence had argued there was no evidence before the court that materials entered the bay.

The company’s president and manager were described as lifelong farmers who have spent upwards of $700,000 to ensure environmental standards at Hay Bay Genetics were met and exceeded. Watson will pronounce sentence in May.