CALGARY- Teck Resources Ltd. says it will pay $1.425 million after pleading guilty in a B.C. Provincial Court Thursday to three counts of violating the Fisheries Act.
The court ordered the Vancouver-based minin giant to pay the fine to the Environmental Damages Fund, which will be used for fish protection and conservation in the East Kootenay region of B.C.
Teck Resources has also been ordered to post information on the conviction to its website, and it will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry where it already appears for three other fishery act violations.
Thursday’s conviction relates to the 2014 discovery by federal enforcement officers that Teck was releasing effluent harmful to fish into Line Creek, a waterway designated as having high fisheries value.
The investigation found numerous dead fish in the Line Creek watershed, including bull trout which is identified as a species of special concern in the area, as a result of the discharge from Teck’s water treatment facility.
Teck said it launched an extensive investigation after the incident, and has implemented numerous measures to prevent a recurrence, including improved monitoring and incident response programs, additional process controls and creation of an effluent buffer pond.
The company said it took full responsibility for the fish deaths, which it believes was caused by high levels of nitrite, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and phosphorous unintentionally discharged into the water during commissioning of the facility.
Officers were alerted to the issue after reports of dead fish in ponds near Teck’s Line Creek coal operation, which sits 25 kilometres north of Sparwood in southeastern B.C.