Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-855-5001
Brainerd , Minn. -- The Clear Lake/Clearwater Joint Sewer Authority has agreed to pay a $16,000 penalty for alleged wastewater violations. The violations occurred at the sewer authority's wastewater treatment facility, which is shared by the cities of Clear Lake and Clearwater.
According to the agreement, wastewater discharge limits for various substances, such as fecal coliform and chlorine, were exceeded nearly 40 times between January 2005 and February 2007. The facility discharges its treated wastewater to the Mississippi River at a point that is on the state's list of impaired waters because it does not meet standards for aquatic life and recreation. In addition to paying the $16,000 civil penalty, the sewer authority is required to submit a revised facility plan for proposed upgrades to the wastewater plant.
The MPCA provides training on a number of topics for wastewater treatment plant operators. People who operate wastewater treatment facilities must be certified to ensure they have a thorough understanding of a system's basic operation and maintenance.
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. For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, refer to the agency Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html.