Abbotsford mushroom farms fined after complaints about polluted water

City levies $1,500 in fines for breaching Waterways Protection Act as Ministry of Environment contacted about creek concerns.

H.Q. Mushroom Farm and Delfresh Mushrooms have been fined a combined $1

The owner of two Bradner mushroom farms has been fined $1,500 after complaints about pollution in two different area creeks this month, and the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have been called in to investigate, according to the City of Abbotsford.

Earlier this month, the city received a complaint about water conditions in Bradner Creek. Upon inspection, bylaw staff observed a pipe from Delfresh Mushrooms discharging into a ditch that flowed into nearby Bradner Creek south of the property on 58th Street.

That was deemed in violation of the city’s Waterways Protection Bylaw and a $500 fine was issued. The pipe was subsequently repaired, according to the city.

The city was later notified by the Ministry of Environment of another complaint at Beaver Creek near H.Q. Mushroom Farm Ltd., which operates on the opposite side of 58th Street from Delfresh. The same person owns the two farms, according to the city.

At H.Q. Mushrooms, staff found two bylaw infractions – an uncovered and unlined storage for waste materials “was leaching into a water system” leading to Beaver Creek, according to the city. Two $500 fines were issued on April 22.

Photos of the two creeks posted on a local website show a black sludgy substance in the water.

The city has tested the area’s water after corresponding with the Ministry of Environment.

Neither the Ministry of Environment nor Fisheries and Oceans Canada has responded to a request for comment. The News has also not been able to contact the farm’s owner.

This isn’t the first time H.Q. Mushroom Farm has fallen afoul of rules protecting waterways. In 2008, the provincial court ordered H.Q. to pay a $10,000 fine for several federal fisheries offences, according to a news release issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Another company, Avina Fresh Produce, was fined $5,000, and the two companies were ordered to pay $75,000 to the government “for the purpose of promoting the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat within the Nathan Creek watershed,” according to a news release issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The release said that Avina Fresh Mushrooms Inc. and H.Q. Mushroom Farm “carried out mushroom farming that caused harm and destruction of fish habitat in an unnamed tributary to Nathan Creek.”

The release said the companies “failed to comply with a condition of the Fisheries Act, to refrain from further depositing harmful substances such as mushroom growing waste and chemicals where these harmful substances may impact waters.”

Both Bradner and Beaver creeks flow into Nathan Creek.

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