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News release

December 21, 2023


Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887,

Cold Spring Brewing Company fined $16,721 for wastewater and stormwater violations

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Cold Spring Brewing Company in Cold Spring, Minnesota, allowed an estimated 2,000 gallons of industrial wastewater and stormwater to run into nearby Brewery Creek last winter and failed to notify state officials or recover the release. Brewery Creek is not included on the state’s impaired waters list, but the release created the potential for harming aquatic life by reducing available oxygen and adding phosphorus.

MPCA staff confirmed other violations including:

  • Failing to collect and submit stormwater monitoring data.
  • Failing to maintain a required three feet of freeboard (or available space) at the top of its wastewater ponds. Freeboard is important to protect against unexpected heavy rain or spring melting that could otherwise cause a pond to overflow.
  • Failing to conduct industrial stormwater inspections on its property to manage runoff.

In addition to paying the $16,721 civil penalty, Cold Spring Brewing has completed a series of corrective actions including:

  • Submitting plans detailing how wastewater ponds will be measured to maintain required freeboard.
  • Conducting monthly stormwater inspections, submitting data and annual reports on time.
  • Maintaining the facility to eliminate the chances of wastewater combining with stormwater.
  • Collecting required stormwater samples during and after runoff events (heavy rain or snowmelt).
  • Notifying the Minnesota duty officer and immediately recovering any future unauthorized releases.

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. 

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