Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued hefty fines to the University of British Columbia and CIMCO Refrigeration for releasing ammonia-laden water into a tributary of the Fraser River in Vancouver. According to a written statement, UBC was fined $1.2 million and CIMCO $800,000 stemming from a complaint about an ammonia odour at an outfall ditch connected to Booming Ground Creek in Pacific Spirit Regional Park on Sept. 12, 2014. The ministry says UBC and CIMCO were fixing the refrigeration system at Thunderbird Arena at the university's Vancouver campus when they purged residual ammonia vapours from the system into a storm drain that flowed into a ditch and then the creek.
Nicole Hancock, the executive director of the Safe Drinking Water Foundation, said systems exist that would take care of all contaminants and produce water that "would taste and smell great."
"I think that they should build a high quality treatment plant for a fraction of the cost," said Hancock. "We think that it would cost them less than $500,000. That's less than one-sixth of the cost."
"I don't think they've looked into these options," said Heney. "I don't think they want this town to stay here."