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The town of Beaverlodge has been fined $20,000 after more than 12,000 fish died as a result of an algal bloom which fed on the town’s sewage outflow.

In May 2006, a 10-kilometre stretch of the Beaverlodge river became contaminated with ammonia at levels toxic to fish.

Experts say the town was following provincial standards in filtering its sewage before flushing it into the river; however, the community failed to test the pH of the water downstream of their outfall, where levels of ammonia were so high that the water appeared neon green.

The community plead guilty to charges under the Fisheries Act and was sentenced last Wednesday.

Beaverlodge will pay 2,000 of the 20,000 fine to the Department of Fisheries and the remaining 18,000 to Environment Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

The town will also be required to install an aeration system at a cost of over one million dollars. Under the ruling, the system must be up and running no later than the end of January of next year.

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