The P.E.I. government has charged a snowplow driver with failing to report an oil spill.

The driver works for a private company under contract with the province.

He was clearing snow from a seniors' home parking lot in Borden when an estimated 20 litres of hydraulic oil leaked onto the pavement and snow because of mechanical failure.

The driver did not clean up the mess, and the incident was reported by a resident.

"The release of a contaminant is something the department takes very serious," said Barry Jackson, environmental co-ordinator with the province.

"We investigate all instances of release of oil, whether it's a home heating tank or from a motor vehicle accident. There is going to be impacts still noticeable in the spring once things melt."

Jackson said the easiest way to deal with spills is to clean up the oil right away, rather than let it possibly spread further or soak in.

The plow operator was fined $275 and ordered to clean up and dispose of the oil-contaminated snow. If it's not cleaned up the driver could face more charges.