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Iqaluit woman to pay $55K for home heating fuel spill

Rannva Simonsen of Iqaluit has pleaded guilty to a charge under Nunavut's Environmental Protection Act for a 2011 fuel leak at her home that cost the Nunavut government almost $200,000 to clean up.

Oil leak at Rannva Simonsen's home in Apex cost territory almost $200K to clean up

A leak in a tank spilled 600 litres of oil at a home in Apex in 2011. (CBC)

Rannva Simonsen of Iqaluit has been ordered to pay the Government of Nunavut $55,000 after her home heating oil tank leaked fuel.

Government officials says it's the first time in Nunavut that a homeowner has been fined for a leaky fuel tank.

In January 2011, Simonsen's tank leaked about 600 litres of fuel. Oil from the leak flowed right up to the edge of Apex Creek, which flows into Koojessee Inlet. 

Crown prosecutor Myriam Girard argued the fuel could have hurt fish and mammals in the bay.

Rannva Simonsen of Iqaluit has pleaded guilty to a fuel leak at her home in Apex in 2011 that cost the Government of Nunavut $200,000 to clean up. (CBC)

The Nunavut government ordered Simonsen to clean up the spill but ended up carrying out the cleanup on its own, at a cost of almost $200,000.

Today, Simonsen pleaded guilty to a charge under Nunavut's Environmental Protection Act. The maximum fine is $300,000, but that's typically for companies, not individuals.

Girard asked for Simonsen to pay $60,000 in restitution as a general deterrent, saying, "There's a need for people in Iqaluit to know it can happen to you."

With Nunavut's harsh weather, Girard said fuel tanks can break at any moment, which is why homeowner diligence is important.

"In this case it turned out that her heating fuel tank was damaged or in a poor state of repair and just leaked." 

Justice Nancy Mossip said Simonsen is not a wealthy woman and the spill was not deliberate. She ruled Simonsen pay $55,000, which will go back to the Nunavut government, and a $500 court fine. 

Simonsen's insurance did not cover the spill. She will have two years to pay the $55,000 restitution and 30 days to pay the $500 fine.

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