Two Abbotsford mushroom farms owned by the same man have been ordered to pay $650,000 in fines for polluting local creeks.
H.Q. Mushroom Farm received fines totalling $385,000 for two counts of depositing a deleterious substance in October 2015 and April 2016.
Delfresh Mushroom Farm has been fined $265,000 for the same two counts in August and November 2018.
The ruling was made Monday (April 4) in Abbotsford provincial court.
The court also ordered Delfresh to provide a report to the federal environment ministry detailing the steps it is taking to fix the issues.
The two farms are owned by Huu Quang Quach.
Quach was fined $1,500 in April 2016 after complaints were received about pollution in two different creeks in the Bradner area, where the two farms are located.
Effluent that was being deposited in the creeks was “acutely lethal” to fish, according to environment officials.
The Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada were called to investigate after city bylaw staff checked on water conditions in Bradner Creek.
According to news reports at that time, staff observed a pipe from Delfresh Mushrooms discharging into a ditch that flowed into Bradner Creek south of the property on 58th Street.
That was deemed in violation of the city’s Waterways Protection Bylaw, and a $500 fine was issued. The pipe was subsequently repaired, according to the city.
The city was later notified by the Ministry of Environment of another complaint at Beaver Creek near H.Q. Mushroom Farm Ltd., which operates on the opposite side of 58th Street from Delfresh.
At H.Q. Mushrooms, staff found two bylaw infractions – an uncovered and unlined storage for waste materials “was leaching into a water system” leading to Beaver Creek, according to the city. Two $500 fines were issued.
The city ended up levying 15 separate fines totalling $7,600 against the two operations and putting in place a stop-work order.
The Abbotsford News revealed in September 2016 that the two mushrooms farms had been reprimanded by WorkSafeBC in the previous year and a half for safety issues.
H.Q. had also been issued a $8,380 fine in 2014 for safety issues.
And in 2008, the provincial court ordered H.Q. to pay a $10,000 fine for several federal fisheries offences, according to a news release issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada at that time.