Wellington North dairy farm fined $62,505 for manure leak

Alette Holsteins convicted in Guelph court for allowing liquid manure to wash into Bethel Creek

WELLINGTON NORTH – A Mount Forest-area dairy farm was convicted in a Guelph court earlier this year and ordered to pay $62,505 after liquid manure from the farm washed into a ditch, and eventually into Bethel Creek.

According to a March 6 press release from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, an automatic valve on a water container for cattle broke at Alette Holsteins in Sept. 2019, flooding the farm’s manure collection system.

Liquid manure flowed from the Concession 6 farm and into a ditch on Sideroad 2 East until reaching a catch basin and emptying into Bethel Creek through a field drain, according to the province.

“When staff arrived at the farm, they contained and stopped the flow of manure from the barn and replaced the broken valve,” states the release.

According to court documents, several charges were laid against Alette Holsteins owner Brad Ghent and his business last February under the Ontario Water Resources Act.

Through water samples and observations, provincial investigators determined the discharge of manure may have affected water quality in the creek.

In 2019, the release notes, ministry staff “observed numerous dead fish in Bethel Creek where it flows under Concession 6.”

Justice Thomas Stinson convicted the farm operation of a single charge under the water resources legislation and ordered a $50,000 fine and a $12,500 victim surcharge be paid.

Other charges were withdrawn.

According to court documents, the full fine amount was paid on Feb. 7.