According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Brett Dankers Pumping LLC improperly applied liquid manure to an agricultural field, which ultimately caused a fish kill in Straight Valley Creek in Winona County earlier this year.
MPCA staff inspections confirmed that in April 2023, the company applied liquid manure at rates that overloaded the field’s ability to retain the waste. This caused the manure to drain into nearby ravines and a stream that empty into Straight Valley Creek, which is a designated trout water. An estimated 33 Brown Trout and 11 Blacknose Dace died as a result of the discharge. Brett Dankers Pumping is located in Goodhue, Minn.
In addition to paying the $15,100 civil penalty, the company completed a series of corrective actions:
- Immediately recovering as much of the remaining discharge as possible.
- Submitting an emergency response plan to the MPCA that describes how it will provide notifications and clean up any future spills, releases, or discharges during the application process to prevent and lessen the impact on the environment.
MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.