Teck Trail Operations was penalized $3.4 million in Rossland Provincial Court on Monday.
The fine relates to 13 accidental discharges that occurred between November 2013 and February 2015, according to the company’s news release.
Effluent with elevated levels of substances including copper, zinc, ammonia, chlorine and cadmium were released by outfall into the Columbia River, leading to five charges under the Fisheries and Environmental Management Acts.
A portion of the penalty will be designated for local environmental conservation funds.
In relation to the federal Fisheries Act charges, $3 million of the fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, confirmed Catherine Adair, Teck community relations leader.
“The judge recommended that these funds be directed to conservation and protection of fish habitat in the Lower Columbia region,” said Adair. “Which includes the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers from Nelson south.”
The remaining $400,000 is in relation to the provincial Environmental Management Act charges, explained Adair. She said $390,000 will be directed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, and used for projects that enhance biological diversity, fish, fish habitat and wildlife habitat in the Lower Columbia, which includes the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers from Nelson south.
The remaining $10,000 will go to general revenue, she added.
“Incidents of this kind are simply not acceptable,” Thompson Hickey, general manager of Trail operations, said in the release. “That is why we are working hard to improve our environmental standards.”
Specific corrective action was taken following reviews of each incident, Hickey added.
“We are also investing in additional measures that further enhance our operations and improve overall environmental performance.”
Teck is investing $8.1 million to improve effluent management, including a retention reservoir upstream at the CIV outfall to capture unplanned discharges.
Enhanced training and processes have also been implemented.
For detailed information about each incident, visit teck.com, click on Trail operations and the Trail Operations Effluent Management link.