With echoes of Walkerton, a water treatment plant operator in southwest Ontario has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for falsifying records.
According to the Toronto Star, Lloyd Jarvis and two other employees with the Municipality of West Elgin were found guilty and sentenced for failing to notify the Ministry of Environment and the medical health officer in a number of cases between 2004 and 2009 “when chlorine levels in the water supply fell below the minimum requirement of 0.05 mg per litre to be safe for human consumption.”
Lloyd was fined $15,000 as well as having to serve time in jail, while the other employees were fined $6,000 and $4,500 each. The municipality was also fined $129,000. Jarvis is banned from working in the water quality sector for life.
The West Elgin facility serves about 5,000 residents. In March 2010 ministry officials began investigating how the staff were keeping records and found that there were problems with the chlorine and that the log book had been altered.
The only other time a water treatment plant manager has been sentenced to jail was following the Walkerton disaster of 2000. The town’s water treatment plant manager Stan Koebel spent a year in jail for negligence in failing to maintain proper chlorine levels at the plant and for keeping false records.