Court overturns septic company’s punishment for alleged dumping
A Court of Queen’s Bench judge recently quashed the City of Prince Albert’s attempt to punish a company that allegedly dumped solid waste directly into the sewer system.
The city had denied C & D Septic access to two city facilities after it hired a private investigator to conduct surveillance on the company, which cleans septic tanks, in 2017.
The city was suspicious C & D was illegally dumping septic waste into Prince Albert’s sanitary sewer system, according to a written decision by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gary Meschishnick. The allegations against C & D have not been proven in court.
The city had also notified residents who aren’t connected to the sewer system that they would no longer be entitled to reimbursement if they hired C & D to empty their septic tanks. C & D appealed the city ’s decisions on the grounds they were unreasonable, there was no fair process and the city acted in bad faith.
In his June 21 decision, Meschishnick wrote it was clear the city made the decisions without notice to the company.
“It is also clear from the evidence that septic-tank cleaning and disposal of septage is the core service provided by C & D,” he wrote.
“While C & D did not provide any detailed evidence of the financial consequences it has suffered as a result of the City’s decisions, C & D did say that it has lost customers who benefit from the septichauling rebate program and those who have ties to the City.”
Meschishnick noted the city argued its decisions were interim in nature and not final. “Its counsel advanced the argument that the decisions were interim in nature, suggesting that the evidence that C & D was violating the bylaw, not paying the fees for using the facilities and, more importantly, that its actions were threatening public health and risking damage to the city’s infrastructure called for immediate action,” he wrote.
Meschishnick ruled in favour of C & D, quashing both the decision to deny C & D access to the landfill and waste water treatment facility and to deny residents reimbursement under the septic-hauling rebate program if they employ C & D.
Meschishnick ordered the city to provide notice to C & D laying out its concerns, which would include the evidence the city is relying upon as well as potential punishments.
The StarPhoenix reached out to both the City of Prince Albert and C & D for comment and did not receive a comment from C & D by press time.
In a written statement provided to the StarPhoenix, Prince Albert city manager Jim Toye said the city believes it “conducted itself fairly and appropriately with C & D Septic Ltd. in all of the circumstances and are studying the decision.
“As bylaw enforcement charges are outstanding against C & D Septic Ltd and scheduled for trial in
C & D did say that it has lost customers who benefit from the septic hauling rebate program and those who have ties to the City.
October, the city will reserve further comment at this time.”
The Prince Albert Police Service’s bylaw enforcement unit charged C & D with five violations, and C & D has pleaded not guilty.