Lakehead Trucking in Duluth improperly discharged floor-drain waste at its Duluth facility

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson 218-316-3887

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Lakehead Trucking, Inc., discharged wastes from a network of floor drains directly into the ground around its main shop in Duluth. The company is implementing several corrective actions and will pay a $23,000 civil penalty to the MPCA.

MPCA inspections showed Lakehead was “daylighting” floor-drain waste — allowing it to flow into soils rather than into a proper disposal system. Used oil and other automotive fluids from vehicle washing and maintenance contaminated the soil around the building. The company failed to stop the discharges, and clean up the contamination. The company also improperly stored used oil and oil filters, and had begun sand and gravel mining operations at two sites without obtaining required industrial and construction stormwater permits.

In addition to paying the civil penalty, Lakehead Trucking must:

  • Connect all floor drains to a certified holding tank and oil/water separator
  • Provide documentation that all contaminated soils were properly excavated and disposed of
  • Obtain all required permits related to its sand and gravel mining sites
  • Document that certified used oil and oil filter storage equipment is installed

Businesses can find guidance on managing floor drains and associated waste on the MPCA’s web site.

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.