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3rd November 2015
Monday, Nov 02, 2015 12:43 pm
By: Jessi Gowan

An enforcement order has been issued to Cochrane Lake’s waterworks operator after the company failed to file a renewal prior to the expiry of its approval in July 2015.

“This is an administrative issue, rather than water quality,” said Jamie Hanlon, communications representative with Alberta Environment and Parks. “Local residents shouldn’t be concerned about water issues, and conditions of the (enforcement) order will require them to meet all conditions that were present at approval.”

The approval for the waterworks system at Cochrane Lake was transferred to Horse Creek Water Services Inc. in January 2015, and according to Hanlon, an application to renew the approval was not submitted. He said the original approval, which was issued in 2004, had already been extended to accommodate the transfer.

“Under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, facilities like this can’t be operated without valid approval,” Hanlon said. “We have issued an order to the operator, and our understanding is that they will comply with all elements of the order.”

According to Hanlon, the enforcement order stipulates a number of conditions that must be met in terms of facility operation, and requires a third party evaluation and assessment of all operations. In terms of elements of operation, Hanlon said, the requirements of the order is “pretty much verbatim” from the approval that had been in place until July.

Under the order, Hanlon added, Horse Creek Water Services Inc. has until March 2016 to submit a new application for approval.

“From our end, operational business will continue as usual, and they will need to advise us of any aberrations as they occur and continue the same monitoring as they would normally do,” Hanlon said. “We are in regular contact with the operator to ensure the quality is maintained continuously.”
General Manager of Horse Creek Water Services Inc. Doug Swartout declined an interview request with Rocky View Weekly, stated “I have no comment, I will say nothing, and we’re done,” and abruptly hung up the phone.

“This is not something we regularly deal with, but it does occur from time to time, if an approval is not met,” Hanlon said. “It’s an offense to operate without a permit, and we are simply doing due diligence of what we need to do as a regulatory body in this case.”

According to the press release issued by Alberta Environment and Parks, enforcement orders ensure that “immediate action” is taken to remedy a situation where there is an unauthorized activity - one of many tools used by the government to ensure all Albertans can continue to enjoy a “safe and healthy” environment.

Water services should continue as usual for residents, added Hanlon, as the issue is merely administrative at this time.