RUSSELL — Cochrane’s Dairy will not appeal a $26,000 fine for dumping toxic substances into the Castor River.
Judge Catherine Kehoe also ruled on Aug. 21 that owner Barry Cochrane would be fined $6,500. With a victim tax surcharge of 30 per cent, the total fine comes to $42,250.
Cochrane’s Dairy — located in Russell, southeast of urban Ottawa — was charged in late 2013 by Environment Canada with five counts of dumping toxic waste water into the river and impacting trout, and was found guilty earlier this year.
But the only trout that were proven to be killed were those used in an Environment Canada test. A small school of trout were dropped into a fishtank with a high concentration of the waste water seized from Cochrane’s Dairy. The court was told that the substance — a mixture of milk and cleaning solutions — was “acutely lethal” as no survivors were found the next day.
“There is no question that it was toxic,” said Kehoe.
Cochrane’s Dairy pleaded ignorance when Environment Canada investigators alerted them to effluent pouring from a concrete pipe near the river in August 2012. To rectify the problem, the dairy began draining their tanks into a field by the river.
Barry Cochrane said he didn’t know his father had built underground pipes that would bring the waste water to the river. Cochrane thought it went into a septic system.
Cochrane’s lawyer, Robert Houston, said he originally wanted to resolve the matter with a $25,000 fine for the company, and a $5,000 fine for Barry Cochrane. Instead, the Crown wanted a $100,000 fine for the company and $25,000 for the owner.
Cochrane’s — which opened in the 1930s — is known for delivering milk in glass bottles. In the 1950s and 60s, it was delivering milk five days a week, but that had dropped to two days a week by 2012, and then to one day a week by early 2014. The business stopped processing milk earlier this year — blaming tough competition from national retailers and the increasing costs of hydro — and now delivers milk from another company.