City of Regina sues Co-op Refineries Ltd. for oil spill, $4.5M in damages

The City of Regina is suing the Consumer's Co-Operative Refineries LTD. for over $4.5M in damages after a 2020 oil spill in the city's sewer system. Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

Two years ago, an oil spill at the Co-op Refinery contaminated Regina’s sewage system in 2020. Now the city is suing the refinery for over $4.5 million dollars in damages.

Regina mayor Sandra Masters says the city is running out of time to recoup its losses.

“The city has been negotiating with (Federated Co-operatives Limited) for the last couple of years, but there’s a statute of limitations on claims,” said Masters. “And so if we didn’t file, we would lose the opportunity to continue the claim against FCL.”

Read more: Oil spill leaks into Regina sewer system, city and Co-op Refinery don’t alert public: union

However, none of the allegations from the city’s statement of claim have been proven in court. According to those court documents, the City of Regina has paid EPCOR – Wastewater Service over $4.5 million dollars to remediate one of its lagoons.

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According to the documents filed by the city, wastewater was diverted there for days after the city’s wastewater staff detected a thick, tar-like substance on May 22, 2020. The city is also suing for damages incurred for increased water sampling and monitoring.

The monitoring, it says, was needed after Consumer’s Co-Operative Refineries LTD (CCRL) confirmed that it had indeed discharged hazardous wastewater into the city’s sewage system.

Read more: Co-op Refinery Complex to invest over $100M in annual turnaround, create 1,200 temporary jobs

Meanwhile, the Court of Queens bench says they have not received a statement of defense even though the claim was filed in early May 2022. But in a statement, a CCRL spokesperson said it’s working with its insurance providers on the issue and hopes to resolve it in the near future. It’s also working with the city to a satisfactory conclusion, according to the spokesperson.

“The insurance company has been part of the delay,” said Masters. “So, we have filed to ensure that we can protect the interests of the taxpayers and we’ll continue to work with FCL in terms of a settlement.”

Global News spoke to the city’s lawyer about the claim, who offered no further comments except to say the matter is now before the courts.

Click to play video: 'Regina city council wants better communication around toxic spills and leaks'
Regina city council wants better communication around toxic spills and leaks

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