The polluter-pay principle ensures those who are responsible for spills are also responsible for cleaning them up and is designed to keep the cost of response off of taxpayers.
- The Spill Cost Recovery Regulation under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) outlines the process and parameters for recovering costs for responding to spills.
- Any individual or company responsible for a hazardous material spill must pay for the clean‐up.
- The spiller is responsible for all costs associated with clean up, including any costs incurred by the Province (such as equipment, contractors, staff time, etc.).
- The Environmental Management Act sets out the penalties for a number of offences under the act that would vary depending on the nature, duration, and impact of a spill.
- EMA may allow for fines up to $200,000 or up to six months in jail for each count.
- Penalties can escalate up to $3 million and 3 years in jail if the damage is malicious.
- The court may also impose additional penalties outside these maximums under certain circumstances. These penalties can include financial restoration or compensation and community service.
- The spiller may also face charges under federal legislation.
- Any hazardous material spill or environmental emergency is required to be reported to Emergency Management BC’s Emergency Co-ordination Centre by calling 1 800 663‐3456.
- The Spill Reporting Regulation, also under EMA, requires the person in possession, charge or control of a spilled substance to take all reasonable and practical action to stop, contain and minimize the effects of the spill.