Al-Corn, Ardent Mills, Boise White Paper among 96 compliance and enforcement cases at MPCA in second half of 2021

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) closed 96 enforcement cases for air quality, waste, stormwater, and wastewater violations in the second half of 2021. Environmental enforcement investigations often take several months, in some cases more than a year, to complete the investigation and issue final enforcement documents to regulated parties. Penalties are calculated using several factors, including harm done to the environment, the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws, or how responsive and cooperative a regulated party was in correcting problems.
 
Imposing monetary penalties is only part of the MPCA’s enforcement process. Agency staff continue to provide assistance, support, and information on the steps and tools necessary to bring any company, individual, or local government back into compliance.  

Enforcement cases with net penalty amounts of $5,000 or more (July - December 2021)

Public date

Company or individual(s)

Violation location

Violation(s)

Net penalty amt.

8/13/2021

Al-Corn Clean Fuel

Claremont

Air quality — Uncontrolled emissions of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide in 2018-19, exceeding permit limits by 35-75%.

$199,000

12/7/2021

Ardent Mills, LLC

Hastings

Air quality — Failed to submit required notifications prior to removing air emissions equipment, and before projects to startup new equipment at flour mill. Failed to conduct required inspections on more than 300 occasions.

$33,311

7/14/2021

Hawkins, Inc.

Saint Paul

Aboveground tanks — Failed to provide adequate containment in material transfer areas to prevent spills to soils and stormwater drains leading to the Mississippi River. Didn’t install overfill prevention alarms or conduct alarm testing on some tanks. Failed to submit required forms when removing and installing tanks and to consistently conduct tank inspections.

$32,540

10/14/2021

Five Star Dairy LLC

Arlington

Feedlots — Failed to follow permit requirements for operating and maintaining liquid manure storage areas and the feedpad. Didn’t repair damaged feed storage area within 60 days. Stored manure on the feedpad without prior approval, and allowed a discharge of processed wastewater into nearby Buffalo Creek.

$27,700

8/23/2021

Crenlo Cab Products, LLC

Rochester

Air quality and hazardous waste — Failed to keep emergency contingency plan, operation and maintenance plan, and list of emissions and emission control equipment updated. Didn’t provide hazardous waste training for staff and missed several reporting deadlines.

$22,675

7/8/2021

Joe Varner, J&B Feedlots

Pillager

Feedlots — Allowed discharges from unpermitted lots, and placed manure and feed stockpiles in the shoreland of nearby 7 Mile Creek. Failed to notify the MPCA of the discharges and allowed them to continue through the spring thaw of 2020.

$20,197

9/17/2021

DENCO II, LLC

Morris

Industrial wastewater — Exceeded permitted limits in industrial wastewater and stormwater discharges. Didn’t prevent corn byproduct and other pollutants from getting into stormwater discharge. Failed to record additives used in its wastewater that must be approved and used only in authorized amounts.

$18,634

8/23/2021

Boise White Paper, LLC

International Falls

Industrial wastewater — Discharged approximately 1.4 million gallons of untreated wastewater to the Rainy River due to power outages in October 2020 and May 2021. Discharged floating solids and visible pink foam to the Rainy River in March 2021. Failed to add sufficient defoaming agent to effluent during production of colored paper. Didn’t immediately report the release and didn’t recover accessible foam.

$16,965

10/26/2021

Carver County

Chaska

Construction stormwater — Didn’t use adequate sediment control measures during a construction project at the Trunk Highway 5 Regional Trail, on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum property in Chaska. As a result, sediment-laden stormwater flowed into a wetland.

$16,892

10/26/2021

Veit Companies, LLC

Chaska

Construction stormwater — Didn’t use adequate sediment control measures during a construction project at the Trunk Highway 5 Regional Trail, on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum property in Chaska. As a result, sediment-laden stormwater flowed into a wetland.

$16,292

9/14/2021

Holst Township,  Triple D Construction and Leasing, Inc.

Clearbrook

Construction stormwater — Completed a construction project on a 10-block stretch of a Holst Township road in Clearwater County without obtaining required permits that mandate the use of sediment-control measures.

$15,000

12/28/2021

Arnold Gruenes

Perham

Feedlots — Silage leachate flowed from the facility’s feed storage area into an adjacent wetland, creating a risk of surface and groundwater contamination. Failed to build liquid manure storage, feed storage, and sand separation areas to permit specifications.

$14,700

9/14/2021

City of Hermantown

Hermantown

Construction stormwater — Failed to provide appropriate storm drain inlet protection, maintain perimeter sediment controls, and stabilize exposed soils during a construction project near Hermantown.

$10,530

9/28/2021

Inspectron, Inc.

Rosemount

Subsurface sewage treatment systems — Conducted inspections for 6 years without a required license, general liability insurance, and a surety bond. The designated certified employee had a lapsed certification during this period.

$9,695

9/14/2021

Utility Systems of America, Inc.

Hermantown

Construction stormwater — Failed to provide appropriate storm drain inlet protection, maintain perimeter sediment controls, and stabilize exposed soils during a construction project near Hermantown.

$9,180

7/8/2021

Jason Shea; Tom Shea

Eyota

Feedlots — Failed to properly operate and maintain runoff control measures for a silage pad and feed storage area, so process wastewaters flowed into the nearby North Fork Whitewater River.

$8,675

9/23/2021

Castaway's

Isle

Solid waste — Didn’t conduct asbestos surveys before demolishing and burning of four mobile homes and two fish houses. Didn’t have required demolition permits.

$7,800

11/1/2021

New Look Contracting, Inc.

Rogers

Industrial wastewater — Performed dewatering activities without a permit at a sand and gravel mine, causing nuisance conditions in the nearby Grindstone River.

$7,575

9/7/2021

Petro Pumper, Inc.

Thief River Falls

Industrial wastewater — Allowed car wash wastewater to discharge to a ditch that eventually flows to the Red Lake River.

$7,000

12/15/2021

Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., dba Cimarron Park WWTF

Lake Elmo

Municipal wastewater — Land-applied biosolids from its wastewater treatment facility 92 times on land not approved for such applications. Had an unauthorized release of wastewater in November of 2020.

$6,860

8/18/2021

Monte Niemi, dba First State Tire Disposal, Inc.

Isanti

Solid waste — Stored about 20,000 cubic yards of tire-derived aggregate without a required permit.

$6,300

11/10/2021

Alan Nelson

Rice Lake Township

Construction stormwater — Began a construction project without required construction stormwater permits. Failed to install proper sediment and runoff controls before and during the project.

$5,775

12/1/2021

Circle E Farms

Twin Valley

Solid waste — Demolished, burned, and buried a house without first removing prohibited materials. Failed to transport solid waste material to an authorized facility.

$5,610

12/7/2021

Alliance Building Corp.

Isanti

Construction stormwater — Failed to properly control sediment runoff, install silt fencing, stabilize exposed soils, and conduct required site inspections at a construction site near Gaylord.

$5,529

 

Enforcement cases with net penalty amounts of less than $5,000 (July - December 2021)

  • Brainerd Industrial Center, for industrial stormwater violations in Brainerd.
  • City of Wykoff, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • Keith Sexter, dba Sexter’s Excavating & Trucking, for solid waste violations in Owatonna.
  • Minnesota Parks LLC, for municipal wastewater violations in Salol.
  • Donald and Kathryn Kloss, for solid waste violations in Royalton.
  • Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., for hazardous waste violations in Perham.
  • Chart, Inc., for hazardous waste violations in New Prague.
  • Darrel Frauendienst, dba Gaylord Sanitation Roll Off, for solid waste violations in Gaylord.
  • Michael Clark, dba Clark Farm LLC, for solid waste violations in Floodwood.
  • City of Lewiston, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • Mayo Clinic, for industrial wastewater violations in Rochester.
  • Elk River Machine Company, for hazardous waste violations in Elk River.
  • Manthei Complete Septic Service, for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Wabasha.
  • Side Lake Septic Service, for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Side Lake.
  • Leff Flinn, Jr., dba Flinn’s Auto Parts, for industrial stormwater violations in Montevideo.
  • Loftness Specialized Farm Equipment, Inc., for hazardous waste violations in Hector.
  • Alliance Building Corp., for construction stormwater violations in Sauk Rapids.
  • Premier Real Estate Services LLC, for construction stormwater violations in Sauk Rapids.
  • City of Isanti, for construction stormwater violations.
  • Cambridge-Isanti Independent School District, for municipal wastewater violations in Cambridge.
  • GAF Materials Corporation, for air quality violations in Minneapolis.
  • City of Little Falls, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • Hohlen Excavating & Sewer, for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Bock.
  • Stout Hydroseeding & Soil Stabilization LLC, for construction stormwater violations in Nisswa.
  • Central Livestock Association, Inc., for feedlot violations in Albany.
  • HealthEast St. Joseph’s Hospital, for air quality violations in St. Paul.
  • Life Time, Inc., for air quality violations in Lakeville.
  • Scott’s Helicopter Services, Inc., for hazardous waste violations in Le Sueur.
  • City of Goodhue, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • City of Brainerd, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • Ryan Contracting Company, for construction stormwater violations in Elko New Market.
  • M&J Construction of Holt, dba M&J Construction Co., for air quality violations in Newfolden.
  • Hawkins, Inc., for hazardous waste violations in Minneapolis.
  • Bongards’ Creameries, for industrial wastewater violations in Perham.
  • D. Schlomka, Inc., for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Hinkley.
  • Diane and Gordon Larson, for solid waste violations in Litchfield.
  • City of Elko New Market, for construction stormwater violations.
  • Roger Cole, for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Waseca.
  • Robert Belshan, for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Myrtle.
  • J&C Swine LLC, for feedlot violations in Renville.
  • James Hebrink, for feedlot violations in Danube and Renville.
  • Joe Fox, for feedlot violations in Janesville.
  • Keith Greier, for feedlot violations in Lewisville.
  • Korfe Hog Farm, for feedlot violations in Clarissa.
  • Lyle Blom, for feedlot violations in Pipestone.
  • Nicholas Hanson, for feedlot violations in Kenyon.
  • Gold Star Manufacturing LLC, for hazardous waste violations in Faribault.
  • City of Bellingham, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • City of Hanska, for municipal wastewater violations.
  • Leland Johnson, for subsurface sewage treatment system violations in Blue Earth.
  • Jes Equipment, for construction stormwater violations in Hawley.
  • Meyer Sewer Service, for municipal wastewater violations in Afton.

More details on all 96 cases completed during the second half of 2021 can be found on the MPCA’s Compliance and Enforcement web page.