Bacteria levels in Bow Island drinking water were unacceptable and the town has been fined $10,000 for failing to monitor water quality. (Advocate file photo).

Alberta town fined, failed to report malfunctions in water distribution system

BOW ISLAND, Alta. — A municipality in southern Alberta and a former worker have pleaded guilty to charges linked to monitoring the safety of the community’s water distribution system.

The Town of Bow Island was charged under provincial environment laws for failing to take samples of drinking water that are used to determine if it is free of bacteria.

It was also charged with providing false or misleading information and failing to report structural or equipment malfunctions.

The town pleaded guilty in provincial court to the failing to report charge.

It has been fined $10,000 and placed under a 2 1/2-year probation order that will check the town’s compliance with monitoring and reporting requirements.

Former town employee Ryan Sanderson pleaded guilty to one count of providing false or misleading information and has been sentenced to six months in jail to be served in the community.

The statement of facts in the case indicates that Alberta Environment determined that the town’s Drinking Water Safety Plan and Operations Program had not been updated for years.

It found that 132 chlorine samples were missed between 2014 and 2017, some monthly reports were not made in 2015 and that the annual report for part of 2016 included test results that had been copied from previous tests.

The Crown says the town put systems in place in 2018 to confirm it is meeting regulatory obligations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2020.

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