Ontario dairy farmer fined for violation following manure overflow
March 28, 2023 by Manure Manager
The Ontario government has announced that Alette Holstein Ltd. was convicted of one violation under the Ontario Water Resources Act and was fined CAD $50,000, plus a victim surcharge of $12,500 and given one year to pay. Although Alette was convicted in January, the conviction was formally announced by the province in March.
Alette Holsteins operates in Mount Forest in the southern Ontario area of Wellington County. The operation produces liquid manure which drains from the barns to two open storage tanks. The cows cows are provided water in troughs or containers (called waterers) with automatic valves controlled by ball floats.
Between Sept. 11 and 12, 2019, an automatic valve on a cattle waterer broke causing water to run until staff returned to the farm. The flow of water overwhelmed the manure collection system and washed liquid manure out of the barn flowing overland to a roadside ditch on Sideroad 2 East. The diluted liquid manure flowed in the ditch until it reached a catch basin where the manure then flowed into Bethel Creek by way of a field drain.
When staff arrived at the farm, they contained and stopped the flow of manure from the barn and replaced the broken value. On Sept. 17, 2019, ministry staff observed numerous dead fish in Bethel Creek where it flows under Concession 6. Based on samples taken by the ministry and observations, it was determined that the discharge of manure did or may have impaired the quality of water in the road ditch and/or Bethel Creek.
The ministry’s Environmental Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges, which resulted in one conviction.