Island man gets jail time for dumping human sewage on farm field

An Island man was sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay over $10,000 in compensation in provincial court Wednesday, for dumping untreated human sewage on a farm field in Wheatley River.

Winston Sentner sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay over $10,000 in restitution

Winston Sentner, former owner of a septic pumping business, pleaded guilty after he was charged last fall with trespassing and damage to private property. The damage to property consisted of Sentner dumping close to 2,500 litres of human sewage on his neighbour's land. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

An Island man was sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay over $10,000 in compensation in provincial court Wednesday, for dumping untreated human sewage on a farm field in Wheatley River. 

Winston Sentner, who formerly owned and operated a septic pumping business, pleaded guilty after he was charged last fall with trespassing and damage to private property. The damage to property consisted of Sentner dumping close to 2,500 litres of human sewage on his neighbour's land. Defence attorney Joel Wonnacott revealed in court that the sewage came from Sentner's residence. 

The court heard that provincial investigators had set up hidden cameras on and around the field last fall, after the land owner complained about somebody dumping sewage.

Those cameras captured photos of Sentner getting out of his sewage truck on Oct. 11, 2017 and releasing its contents on the field, then driving away.

Crown attorney Jeffery MacDonald told the court the field cannot be used to grow root crops, including potatoes, for human consumption for the foreseeable future. 

'Completely incomprehensible'

Sentner's lawyer told the court his client had been experiencing health problems at the time of the incident and he wasn't thinking clearly, calling his actions a "serious lapse in judgment." 

Judge Nancy Orr said it was "completely incomprehensible" that anyone with a certificate and business in the septic industry would not be aware that there are specific locations where sewage disposal is permitted.

"In a province where agriculture is a primary industry," Orr said. "It is beyond comprehension to think that anybody would ever contemplate there could be no issues with spreading raw human sewage on agricultural land." 

After Sentner serves his jail sentence, he'll be on probation for two years. He will not be permitted to operate any business involving septic tank pumping. 

Sentner will also serve an additional month in jail for an unrelated assault on a family member that occurred in April of this year. 

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