Contact: Dan McLean, 651-297-1607
St. Paul, Minn. - Giles Properties Inc. of Elko and Friedges Excavating Inc. of Lakeville agreed to pay a $35,325 penalty to resolve violations of state stormwater rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced today. According to the agreement, the companies unlawfully discharged sediment-laden water from their Mystic Meadows Residential Development construction site in Farmington, Minn., into North Creek, a state-designated trout stream.
Sediment also reached Middle Creek and the Vermillion River, both of which are state-designated trout streams. Trout, and the gravel stream-bed habitats they need, are extremely sensitive to environmental pressures such as sediment in water.
In June 2005, the companies obtained a stormwater permit from the MPCA for their construction site. When Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District staff inspected the site in August, they observed sediment-laden water from an onsite stormwater pond being discharged directly into North Creek. The state's construction stormwater permit requires companies to send stormwater to a treatment basin where sediment can settle out before it is discharged to a nearby water body.
In addition, the companies failed to stabilize erodable soils on the site, did not provide complete records of inspections, and failed to cover stormwater drains on their site.
Sediment and other pollutants associated with stormwater can seriously degrade the quality of streams, lakes and rivers. The MPCA offers training and other educational materials to developers, contractors and local units of government so that they understand and can abide by stormwater regulations.
Levying penalties and fines is one of the MPCA's many tools used to encourage compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.