Contact: Sam Brungardt, 651-757-2249
St. Paul, Minn. ― Progressive Rail Inc., a short line railroad, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently entered into an agreement resolving alleged environmental violations at the company’s facility in Lakeville, where the Dakota County company has track and facilities for transferring bulk materials to and from rail cars and tanker trucks. Progressive Rail handles about one million gallons of oil and hazardous materials per month at its Lakeville facility.
Progressive Rail is paying a $75,000 civil penalty and is taking actions to come into compliance with Minnesota’s environmental laws and regulations. The corrective actions that Progressive Rail is taking include revising its Prevention and Response Plan for a worst-case discharge, including construction of a secondary containment system to limit environmental damage from spills that occur when bulk materials are transferred from rail cars to tanker trucks or vice versa, and investigating and potentially cleaning up contamination from past spills on the property.
Among the violations that the MPCA alleged Progressive Rail committed were:
- Failed to notify the MPCA immediately of a number of spills, including the release of about 30,000 gallons of animal tallow to land and a ditch in 2005, and a spill of ferric chloride solution to the pavement within 10 feet of a stormwater manhole in May of 2008.
- Failed to take reasonable steps to prevent spills of hazardous substances or oil in a place or manner that might pollute the land, waters or air or that might threaten the public’s safety or health. This included transferring or allowing to be transferred, ethanol, sulfuric acid solution, and ferric chloride solution over the railbed, cracked asphalt and within 10 feet of stormwater inlets instead of in a secondary containment area.
- Failed to have an industrial stormwater permit and a stormwater pollution-prevention plan.
- Allowed spilled materials to go into the stormwater conveyance system, which was connected to infiltration ponds, resulting in spilled materials being discharged directly into the soil.
A stipulation agreement is one of the tools the MPCA uses to bring regulated businesses into compliance with state and federal 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. If a regulated party fails to comply with the requirements of a stipulation agreement, it must pay a penalty for each day of failure.
For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions issued by the MPCA, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/pyri5fb.