Husky Oil Operations Limited pleaded guilty to contravening the Fisheries Act for dumping waste water from its Westhazel pipeline.
On April 29, 2022, the company was fined $600,000 in the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan for contravening subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act. The company pleaded guilty to one count of depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.
Westhazel pipeline leak
The charge is in relation to the 2018 release of approximately 2.8 million litres of process water from the Westhazel pipeline into the environment. Process water is a by-product of oil and gas production and typically high in salt content.
In July 2018, ECCC environmental enforcement officers responded to a notification of a rupture in the Westhazel pipeline, leading to an ongoing release of process water. The process water travelled approximately 450 metres over land and entered the Englishman River, near Turtleford, Saskatchewan, a fish-bearing tributary of the North Saskatchewan River.
While at the incident site, environmental enforcement officers inspected the area, gathering samples and other information pertaining to the spill. They observed dead vegetation along a 450-metre path from the point of release to the river. Laboratory analysis of the samples determined that the process water was deleterious or harmful to fish.
As a result of the conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by ECCC. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that restore the natural environment and conserve wildlife. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred.
The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.