Rio Tinto Alcan slapped with $500K fine for discharge of acidic water into Quebec river

Corporate logo of Rio Tinto Alcan on the front of their Montreal offices. Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

A Quebec court has ordered Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. to pay $500,000 after the company allowed the discharge of acidic water into the Saguenay River following the failure of a boiler at its SaguenArvida factory in Saguenay, Que., in 2019.

The company was fined after pleading guilty to one count of violating the Fisheries Act.

Environment Canada says the discharge happened on Sept. 17, 2019, after the company sprayed equipment with water to cool it down to allow for repair work.

The water from the sprinklers flowed into a drainage system that emptied into the Saguenay River.

Environment Canada says the company took steps to stop the flow, but 351.3 cubic metres of acidic water was discharged into the river.

The fine will be paid into the federal government’s environmental damages fund and will support environmental restoration and wildlife and habitat conservation projects.

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