Tamarack fined $80K for violating Water Act while withdrawing groundwater for drilling

·1 min read

The Alberta Energy Regulator has fined Tamarack Acquisition Corp. $80,000 after the company plead guilty to one charge under the Water Act for not recording the amount of water it was using for drilling.

"Tamarack received a temporary diversion licence from the AER to withdraw groundwater for well drilling operations near Veteran, Alberta, between January 2017 and April 2018," reads a news release from the AER. "As water was being withdrawn from the ground, Tamarack did not record how much water it was withdrawing. Instead, the company recorded this information after the fact, breaking a condition of the licence it received from the AER."

The regulator said the area in question is "home to many diverse wetlands, as well as birds and other wildlife."

It noted tthe wetlands in the area don't replenish quickly once water is removed.

Statement of facts

An agreed statement of facts says the incident took place sometime between Feb. 1 and April 8, 2017. It says the company acquired new assets and inherited personnel and procedures from previous owners.

"While Tamarack invested significant resources into reviewing procedures in preparation for these operations in early 2017, procedures related to water diversion were not adequately audited before operations began," reads the statement of facts.

It said the company immediately began to address the issues once discovered, including replacing "previous contractors and administrative personnel with a third-party water management provider."

It says systems improved after that occurred.

The penalty fine amounts to $2,000, with the remaining $78,000 to be used for what the AER calls "creative sentencing projects" that educate landowners and other stakeholders on what companies must do when using water for their operations.