Hawkins, Inc., storage tank violations were potential threat to Mississippi River at facility in St. Paul

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

Hawkins, Inc., has corrected multiple aboveground storage tank violations at one of its bulk chemical storage facilities in St. Paul, greatly reducing the chance that future potential spills could reach the nearby Mississippi River. According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation that began in August 2020, the company had failed to:

  • Operate truck and railcar transfer areas with adequate containment to prevent potential spills to soils and to stormwater drains leading to the Mississippi River
  • Install overfill prevention alarms on certain tanks and conduct alarm testing on other tanks
  • Submit required change of status forms when removing and installing tanks
  • Properly label tanks
  • Consistently conduct tank inspections, keep records, and submit reports

The company paid a $32,540 civil penalty to the MPCA and was required to:

  • Construct improved truck and railcar transfer areas which segregate potential spills from stormwater drains
  • Install overfill protection systems and conduct alarm testing
  • Submit the missing change of status forms
  • Properly label all tanks
  • Conduct required tank inspections and submit reports

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.