The court case against the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and a former manager of wastewater wrapped up in Barrie Provincial Court on Thursday, with the municipality pleading guilty to a single charge of breaching the conditions of the Environmental Compliance Approval for its water pollution control plant.
Charges had been laid in December 2018, alleging improper sampling of the effluent leaving the plant, failure to maintain the plant to a standard that would prevent levels of ammonia nitrogen from exceeding the allowable limits, and failure to report the error to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks within seven days.
Those charges stemmed from an incident in December 2016 at the wastewater treatment plant off Dissette Street, when the ammonia nitrogen levels were found to exceed 2.5 milligrams per litre.
Both the town and former wastewater manager Brad Sullivan each initially faced three charges in the case.
All charges against Sullivan were dropped after the town pleaded guilty to a single charge.
The town was also fined $65,000.
Calling it an “operational occurrence” that led to a single high reading at the plant in 2016, a press release issued by the municipality noted that, “town staff were monitoring the situation and worked around the clock to correct the operation” at the time.
“Total ammonia nitrogen dissipates quickly into the air and, at the level found, would not have reached any body of water or presented any risk to the environment," the town added in its release. "There have been no exceedances since 2016.”
And at no time, said the statement, was drinking water at risk.
“Processes and protocols are in place to make sure we follow Ministry of Environment guidelines and rules," said Mayor Rob Keffer when reached for comment. "We are pleased the charges against (Sullivan) were dropped.”
- With files from Jessica Owen