Sask. First Nation’s group fined for leaking sewage into lake

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A First Nation’s group was fined $10,000 for leaking sewage into Black Lake and ordered to write an article about what occurred for distribution to northern print media outlets.

The ruling against Black Lake Denesuline First Nation was handed down April 16 in La Ronge Provincial Court. They were also ordered to develop an up-to-date emergency plan, as well as develop and implement a preventative maintenance plan for their water and wastewater treatment systems.

Environment and Climate Change Canada started an investigation in February 2016 after they were notified by provincial authorities of an ongoing sewage release at Black Lake Denesuline First Nation in Northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin region.

Federal enforcement officers determined that Black Lake Denesuline First Nation failed to notify officials that approximately 86,000 litres of sewage was released into the lake. Black Lake provides drinking water to the community of Black Lake Denesuline First Nation, and contains a number of fish species including walleye, yellow perch, northern pike and arctic grayling.

Under the Fisheries Act, all persons having the charge, management or control of a deleterious substance, or of activities that result in a deposit of a deleterious substance into fish-bearing water, must immediately notify officials of an unauthorized deposit if its detrimental to fish or fish habitat.

Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist