Cemstone Products Company’s wastewater discharge violation leads to water-saving project

Contact: Taylor Holland, 651-757-2385

St. Paul, Minn. — The discovery of contaminated wastewater discharge flowing to city of Minneapolis’ stormwater sewer system has led to the development of a water-saving project.

Cemstone Products Company operates a concrete ready-mix facility located at 65 25th Ave N., Minneapolis, Minn. The facility operates under a permit that includes provisions on stormwater and concrete operations to prevent contamination of lakes and streams.

In September 2012, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency investigated an off-white discharge from a Minneapolis storm sewer into the Mississippi River. MPCA staff found that the discharge originated primarily from truck rinse water at Cemstone’s facility.

Cemstone agreed to pay a civil penalty of $32,000 and to correct the problems that led to the discharge.

In addition, Cemstone will complete a Supplemental Environmental Project, costing at least $39,000, by October of 2014. Staff will install a weir system at Cemstone’s Midway location in St. Paul. The Midway location currently uses a series of ponds for infiltration and evaporation of wastewater. The future weir system will capture wastewater and stormwater and allow for this water to be reused in a washing process and for batching new concrete. An estimated 3 million gallons of water per year will be recycled due to the project.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency 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, visit the MPCA’s quarterly summary of enforcement actions Web page.