City of Regina sues Co-Op Refinery for over $4.5 million

The City of Regina is tired of waiting for the Co-op Refinery Complex to pay for damage to the city’s sewage treatment plant and sewer system.

The city is suing the refinery for more than $4.5 million to cover the costs of handling what it calls « an extraordinary and serious contamination event unlike any previous incident. » None of the claims in the lawsuit have been tested in court.

The lawsuit follows an incident in May 2020 when the refinery allegedly triggered a « catastrophic release » of oil-laden wastewater directly into the city’s sewage system.

Check out the city’s statement here:

The lawsuit says the refinery had several smaller releases before this event, some of which were « chronic and continuous » in 2019 and 2020. It says the refinery told the city at least five times that it would deal with the problem.

Then came the « catastrophic » event which saw oil and grease from the plant 40 times higher than the allowable limits flowing to the city-owned sewage treatment plant. After the spill clogged equipment at the McCarthy Boulevard Pumping Station, which supplies sewage to the city’s sewage treatment plant, city workers alerted station staff, the city said. These workers successfully diverted the contaminated water to a storage lagoon at the sewage treatment plant, preventing major damage to the facility.

The lawsuit also alleges that after the city ordered the refinery to stop discharging contaminated water, the refinery began to do so again 24 hours later.

The claim alleges that there were significant issues with the refinery’s retention basin, including oil buildup on the sides and bottom of the basin, lower than normal sewage levels and a malfunctioning diesel pump. positioned that had not been used for a long time. time malfunction during the event.

City seeks punitive damages

The city’s statement indicates that after two years, the refinery « neglected and/or refused to pay » the costs incurred by the event.

The city and the refinery have had an agreement in place since 1988 that dictates the management of the facility’s wastewater and defines each party’s responsibilities. It includes a requirement that the refinery pre-treat its wastewater before it reaches the sewer system and that the refinery has sufficient storage capacity to prevent the release of wastewater for up to 48 hours when the city demands it.

The lawsuit says the cost of cleaning up the lagoon that stored the contaminated water was more than $4.5 million. The sewage treatment plant uses a biological treatment process, so it cannot treat oil-contaminated wastewater. As a result, the leaking water had to be drained and taken to a hazardous materials disposal facility.

The city also says it has had to increase its wastewater monitoring and testing, including installing a monitoring station immediately downstream of the refinery, and has hired full-time staff to do this work.

The claim notes that the city is also seeking punitive damages.

Both parties declined interview requests.

In a statement, Co-Op said it continues to work with its insurers to resolve the issue.

A statement from the City of Regina said it is « committed to providing excellent wastewater treatment to ensure environmental protection » and the statement details the city’s position on the matter.


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