Contact: CoriAhna Rude-Young, 651-757-2680
St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has reached an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Ames Construction, Inc. that resolves an alleged failure to comply with the construction stormwater permit issued for the Long Lake Bypass project. MnDOT and Ames Construction will pay a $20,000 civil penalty.
MnDOT hired Ames Construction, a Burnsville company, to undertake the bypass project that was designed to realign State Highway 12 from Wayzata Blvd. to Hennepin County Road 6. The company applied for a general stormwater permit, which is required to prevent water pollution from runoff associated with construction activity. When stormwater drains off a construction site, it carries sediment and other pollutants that harm lakes, streams and wetlands. Stormwater runoff is a leading source of water pollution.
During inspections in 2006, inspectors observed temporary and permanent on-site drainage systems with unstabilized ditch bottoms. This led to turbid discharges into Kenobi Pond. Inspectors also documented sediment discharge from the construction project into Long Lake, causing excessive turbid discharges and discoloration to the lake. The regulated parties also failed to maintain adequate erosion controls.
MnDOT and Ames Construction have completed all corrective actions associated with the permit violations.
Studies show that controlling erosion from construction sites significantly reduces the amount of sediment and other pollutants that discharge into rivers, lakes and wetlands. To keep Minnesota's valuable water resources clean, the MPCA requires pollution-prevention plans and issues permits to prevent stormwater pollution during and after construction. The agency also offers outreach and training to help companies comply with stormwater rules and regulations.
A stipulation agreement is one of the tools the MPCA uses to achieve 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 the 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, visit/newscenter/enforcement.html.