Armstrong farm fined $17,000 for incidents near the Hullcar aquifer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Armstrong farm fined $17,000 for incidents near the Hullcar aquifer

Grace-Mar Farms were fined $17,000 in 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Al Price

SPALLUMCHEEN - A former Armstrong farmer has been fined $17,000 by the province for spreading agricultural waste and allowing waste from a sewage lagoon to spill onto land near the Hullcar aquifer.

Grace-Mar Farms near Armstrong received a $12,500 fine for spreading agricultural waste on three separate occasions and a $4,500 fine for allowing a sewage lagoon to spill. Both events took place in 2017. The incidents occurred near the Hullcar aquifer, a drinking water supply already high in levels of nitrates, which have caused considerable concern for residents in the area. Both fines were in relation to nitrate sources close to the aquifer.

Details of the infractions recently released in the governments Quarterly Environmental Enforcement Summary show the sewage lagoon incident occurred in February 2017, although the farm only received the fine last December.

The report states the $4,500 fine was issued due to a spill of agricultural waste from a sewage lagoon.

"A spill of agricultural waste occurred, resulting in a release of waste into a low-lying area above the Hullcar aquifer. The spill was due to snow accumulation on a lagoon and an ice barrier which melted with warmer temperatures," states the report.

John Kampman, who owned Grace-Mar Farms at the time of the spill, admitted to the infraction.

"I paid my fine, it was fair," Kampman said. "That’s what happens, there was an accident that happened and I paid the fine.”

Kampman, who also owns a farm in Chilliwack, said he sold the farm May 1 but wouldn't disclose the new owner.

The $12,500 fine was issued sometime between July and September 2017, for incidents that took place earlier in 2017. The report states the farm spread agricultural waste on its land on three separate occasions breaking a Pollution Abatement Order and the Agricultural Waste Control Regulation.

Kampman said the sale of the farm had nothing to do with the fines or the infractions.

In 2016 the province issued draft pollution abatement orders to several farms in the Hullcar area over concerns they were contributing to elevated nitrate levels in the local water supply.

Find past stories on the Hullcar aquifer here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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