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BC Hydro facing a federal order and possible fines for Site C sediment and erosion problems

Construction of a cofferdam at the location of the Site C dam in September of this year. Photo by BC Hydro
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Hydro is facing a federal order that could take effect Friday, along with potential fines of up to $400,000 due to erosion and sediment problems at the construction site of the Site C dam.

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has issued Hydro with a “notice of intent” of an enforcement action unless the Crown corporation assures the CEAA that the issues are being addressed.

According to Agency documents, senior enforcement officer Nicolas Courville stated that the project was inspected between November 29th and December 2nd, 2016, at the Moberly River construction bridge, the right bank drainage tunnel, and the right bank cofferdam.

The inspection documents detail problems such as: large faces of exposed soil leading into a ravine with little or no effort to stop erosion; extremely turbid water; sediment from landslides dumped directly into the Moberly River; sediment fences that weren’t working; construction of a causeway over the Moberly River with no culverts or drainage structures in flood channels; sediment entering the Peace River because of a washed-out culvert; and significant ditch erosion.

The inspection found that there were “no erosion and sediment contingency supplies located within the laydown or work areas” of the sites as required by the three Environmental Protection Plans. Hydro referred inspectors to a central contingency supplies site, but documents say that the site deemed inadequate for one of the sites, let alone all three.

Based on Hydro’s response, the federal agency may issue, rescind, or amend the order. The order carries potential maximum fines of $200,000 on the first offence, and $400,000 on subsequent offences. The fines can be levied for every day that Hydro is non-compliant with the project’s environmental conditions.

Hydro released a copy of its letter late yesterday, but Ottawa’s response has not yet been made public.

Story courtesy The Vancouver Sun: http://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/bc-hydro-facing-federal-order-heavy-fines-for-site-c-sediment-and-erosion-problems.

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