Catalyst Paper, operating in Powell River, was fined $200,000 in British Columbia Provincial Court on December 8, 2015, after pleading guilty to offences under the Fisheries Act related to the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish.
The offences stem from two releases of untreated pulp and paper effluent. On September 4, 2012, 3,500,000 litres of effluent were released into the Malaspina Strait, located near the City of Powell River. Another release of 100,000 litres occurred on September 18, 2012. The investigation determined that the first release was due to a power loss and the second was due, in part, to a broken check valve.
In addition, on September 14, 2014, Catalyst Paper failed to collect samples from a deposit that contained deleterious substances above limits authorized under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations, which is also in contravention of the Fisheries Act.
Of the $200,000 fine, $185,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). The remaining $15,000 fine ($5,000 per count) will be directed to General Revenue. As a result of this conviction, the company's name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.