JR’s Well Drilling Ltd., Jeffrey Russell and Troy Peavoy were recently convicted of offences on the Ontario Water Resource Act (OWRA) and received fines totalling $74,500. The company is headquartered in Belwood, Ontario, approximately 100 km northwest of Toronto.

Background

At the relevant time, JR’s Well Drilling Ltd. was an incorporated business that constructed wells. Jeffrey Russell is the owner and sole director of the company. Troy Peavoy was employed as a well technician with the company.

Between July 2018 and June 2020, JR’s Well Drilling constructed wells on several properties across Ontario, including in Huntsville, Bracebridge, Parry Sound and the Township of McMurrich-Monteith. Troy Peavoy worked at the construction of two of the wells.

Several violations were identified in relation to the construction of the wells [RK(1] [EM2] under the OWRA:

  • Well water samples were not provided to well purchasers for visual examination following the construction of the wells, as required.
  • False or misleading information was provided in a well record, namely, incorrect depth measurements for the wells and intake pump.
  • Measurements were not obtained for well depths in the presence of the well purchasers, as required.
  • Copies of well records were not delivered to the well purchasers and owners of the land within 14 days, as required.
  • Documents were not delivered to well purchasers as required, namely, information packages about wells obtained from the ministry.

Further, in June 2020, Troy Peavoy constructed a well without a valid well technician’s license. Ministry records revealed that Mr. Peavoy’s license expired in March 2019 and was not successfully renewed.

The ministry’s Environmental Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges which resulted in the convictions.

Description of the Offences

The convictions against JR’s Well Drilling Ltd. were for On two separate occasions, failing to provide a well purchaser with a well water sample for visual examination on two separate occasions, including false or misleading information in a well record, and failing to measure the depth of a well in the presence of the well purchaser on four separate occasions. The company also failed
to deliver a copy of a well record to the well purchaser and the owner of the land on which the well is situated within 14 days after the well’s structural stage was complete.

The convictions against Jeffrey Russell were for failing to take all reasonable care to prevent the company from including false or misleading information in a well record as the As the director of a company. He also failed to deliver a copy of a well record to the well purchaser and the owner of the land on which the well is situated within 14 days after the well’s structural stage was complete
on two separate occasions.

The convictions against Troy Peavoy were as follows:

  • Failing to deliver a copy of a well record to the well purchaser and the owner of the land on which the well is situated within 14 days after the well’s structural stage was complete.
  • On two separate occasions, failing to provide a well purchaser with a well water sample for visual examination.
  • Failing to forward a copy of the well record to the ministry within 30 days after the date on which the well’s structural stage was complete.
  • On two separate occasions, failing to deliver to the well purchaser a copy of any information package about wells obtained from the ministry.
  • On two separate occasions, failing to measure the depth of a well in the presence of the well purchaser.
  • Constructing a well without a well technician’s license.

Penalties Imposed

JR’s Well Drilling Ltd. was convicted of eight violations under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA), fined $35,500 plus a victim fine surcharge (VFS) of $8,875, and given 12 months to pay.

Jeffrey Russell was convicted of three violations under the OWRA, fined $10,000 plus a VFS of $2,500, and given 12 months to pay.

Troy Peavoy was convicted of nine violations under the OWRA, fined $29,000 plus a VFS of $7,250, and given 12 months to pay.