Businessman advised to follow water rules

Alberta Environment has issued an enforcement order against a Red Deer-area business owner, who is accused of drawing well water for commercial use without authorization.

Alberta Environment has issued an enforcement order against a Red Deer-area business owner, who is accused of drawing well water for commercial use without authorization.

Norman Chiles, of Chiles Development Corp. and Chiles Homes Ltd., has failed to supply the groundwater studies that are needed before Alberta Environment can issue a water well diversion licence under the Water Act, said department spokesperson Cara Van Marck.

Instead, she said Chiles was taking water out of numerous wells on the Chiles Business Park, north of Red Deer, without approval.

On Monday, Chiles said he had no comment, as he did not wish to “broadcast” his dispute with the province.

Under the provincial enforcement order, he must submit an inventory of existing wells on his property, as well as a comprehensive groundwater evaluation study by July 31.

Van Marck said Chiles first applied in 2001 to draw water out of an underground aquifer. At that time, Alberta Environment officials discovered Chiles had been drawing water illegally from wells on his property since 1992. She added department staff had tried working with the business owner to bring him into compliance ever since, but he has not always been co-operative.

Chiles has still not completed an environmental assessment on the health of the aquifer that Alberta Environment needs before determining how much water can be drawn, nor has he provided the province with locations of existing groundwater wells on his property.

“Recently, we heard he wasn’t going to provide us with any more information,” said Van Marck.

She added Chiles was given many chances to live up to provincial requirements, but didn’t, so the enforcement order had to be issued.

If he doesn’t comply, the next step could be prosecution. Alberta Environment can press charges and take him to court, where he could be fined.

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