MPCA closes 104 compliance and enforcement cases in second half of 2020

Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its summary of closed compliance and enforcement cases from the second half of 2020. The agency had 104 closed enforcement cases for air quality, waste, stormwater and wastewater violations.

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 - Dec. 2020)

Public date

Company or individual(s) (location)

Violation location

Violation(s)

Net penalty amount

7/7/2020

Farmers Union Industries (Redwood Falls, MN)

Redwood Falls

Industrial Wastewater - Both the Redwood Falls and Long Prairie facilities processed significantly more raw material in 2018 than amounts submitted in their permit application. The additional raw material processing created additional wastewater volume, which contributed to elevated wastewater pond levels - with one pond overflowing into the Minnesota River floodplain in 2019.

$130,000

9/10/2020

Crown Cork and Seal USA, Inc. (Yardley, PA)

Owatonna

Air Quality - In 2019, the facility exceeded its emissions limits by 2.9 tons in October, 1.7 tons in November, and one ton in December.

$60,173

9/15/2020

Martin Zuponcic  (Cook, MN)

Eveleth

Hazardous Waste – The company failed to properly manage and dispose of hazardous wastes, and failed to notify the State Duty Officer and the MPCA of the chromium spill that ended up flowing to the City of Eveleth wastewater treatment facility. Also operated for more than three years without a valid hazardous waste generator license, or required operating permits.

$19,325

12/10/2020

Spring Prairie Hutterite Colony (Hawley, MN); Taracon Precast LLC (Hawley, MN)

Hawley

Construction and Industrial Stormwater – Violations included failure to obtain state permits and develop a SWPPP required for the construction and operation of a precast concrete business at the location, a lack of permanent stormwater controls, and excessive amounts of sediment leaving the site.

$18,435

7/16/2020

US Steel Corp - Keetac (Keewatin, MN)

Keewatin

Industrial Wastewater – Violations included failure to prevent sediment from washing into an adjacent wetland at Keetac’s facility on multiple occasions and failure to report the incidents in a timely manner.

$17,550

9/23/2020

River Country Cooperative (Inver Grove Heights, MN)

South Saint Paul

Aboveground Tanks – The company failed to conduct required inspections of three steel petroleum-storage tanks in 2014 and 2019, and failed to keep proper records. These kinds of tanks are supposed to be inspected externally every five years, and internally every ten years.

$15,988

8/27/2020

Koda Energy, LLC (Shakopee, MN)

Shakopee

Air Quality - Violations included failing to conduct required visible emissions checks of vent filters during daylight hours, submitting test frequency plans late to the MPCA, operating a truck unloading station with doors open, and installing a dry sorbent injection system four months after a required installation deadline.

$13,600

7/13/2020

Duluth Ready Mix Concrete, Inc. (Saginaw, MN)

Saginaw

Industrial Wastewater - The company didn’t adequately maintain a perimeter berm, or immediately repair it when it failed. The failed berm allowed a significant and prohibited discharge of rock, sand, and silt-laden water to flow into a wetland area on and adjacent to the company’s property. The inspection also revealed that the company failed to implement and maintain a required pollution prevention plan from 2013 to 2019, and was late in submitting several required discharge monitoring reports to the MPCA.

$12,300

10/8/2020

City of Chanhassen (Chanhassen, MN)

Chanhassen

Construction Stormwater - Violations included failing to develop a SWPPP and obtain a construction stormwater permit, sediment discharges to Bluff Creek, missing stormwater BMPs, and improper dewatering techniques.

$9,600

8/17/2020

Denco II, LLC (Morris, MN)

Morris

Air Quality – The company operated air emissions equipment outside of permitted ranges, relating to fabric filter pressure drop range and regenerative thermal oxidizer temperature limits.

$9,352

10/5/2020

Al-Corn Clean Fuel, LLC (Claremont, MN)

Claremont

Industrial Wastewater – The company failed to rapidly and thoroughly contain and remove industrial wastewater that had flowed into an on-site stormwater pond. Overflow of the pond could have led to the wastewater to pollute nearby waters of the state.

$9,200

12/23/2020

Art Anderson Septic Tank Pumping (Detroit Lakes, MN); Travis M Wilke (Detroit Lakes, MN)

Detroit Lakes

Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems – The company failed to properly treat septage when land applying, and failed to maintain proper hauling and land application records.

$8,360

8/5/2020

Central MN Renewables (Little Falls, MN)

Little Falls

Hazardous Waste – The company failed to properly certify hazardous waste storage tanks, properly provide training to staff, conduct and document inspections, provide an emergency response plan, properly label storage tanks, and properly store used oil and used oil filters.

$7,780

9/15/2020

Northshore Mining Co (Silver Bay, MN)

Babbitt

Industrial Wastewater - One of its industrial wastewater ponds overtopped, allowing significant sediment to flow to nearby waters of the state. The pond had been improperly maintained and managed.

$7,600

7/23/2020

American Crystal Sugar Company (Moorhead, MN)

East Grand Forks

Air Quality – The company exceeded pulp dryer emissions limits, operated fabric filter outside required pressure drop range, and exceeded boiler emissions rates during parts of 2017-2020.

$7,475

8/27/2020

Carfair Composites USA, Inc (Winnipeg, MB)

Saint Cloud

Air Quality – The company failed to maintain a complete an operations & maintenance plan. They also failed to conduct required weekly and daily equipment inspections, and conduct weekly equipment calibrations.

$7,290

7/16/2020

Joe Wagner (Brandon, MN)

Parkers Prairie

Feedlots – The owner allowed manure to discharge to a series of wetlands, a public ditch, a stream and Fish Lake, and failed to recover, minimize or report the discharge. Also expanded a registered feedlot without the proper permits.

$7,000

12/30/2020

Chisago Lakes Mini Storage, LLC (Lindstrom, MN)

Chisago Lakes

Construction Stormwater – Violations included discharge of sediment to North Lindstrom Lake, failure to notify MPCA of the discharge, failure to develop a SWPPP and obtain a construction stormwater permit, missed inspections, missing stormwater BMPs, and improper dewatering techniques.

$6,960

12/30/2020

Morton Buildings, Inc. (Albertville, MN)

Albertville

Construction Stormwater – Violations included discharge of sediment to North Lindstrom Lake, failure to notify MPCA of the discharge, failure to obtain a construction stormwater permit, missed inspections, missing stormwater BMPs, and improper dewatering techniques.

$6,913

11/18/2020

Green Plains Otter Tail LLC (Omaha, NE)

Fergus Falls

Air Quality – The company failed to maintain fuel records for an emergency generator, allowed particulate matter emissions nearly 15% above permitted limits, and failed to conduct equipment inspections.

$6,505

10/29/2020

Laleman's Septic and Drain Service LLC (Ghent, MN)

Ghent

Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems – The company failed to properly treat more than 5,000 gallons of septage during 2018-19, and failed to keep land application records and portable toilet maintenance records for five years.

$6,500

9/10/2020

Daniel J Kulas (Avon, MN)

Avon

Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems – The company land applied septage at inadequate temperatures, pH levels and rates, and also failed to maintain proper pumping records, and operated with an expired permit.

$6,326

10/12/2020

Country Road Construction (Staples, MN)

Staples

Air Quality – The company failed to submit annual emissions inventory report for 2019, and failed to manage, report and maintain several aspects of the company's non-metallic mining site.

$6,293

7/14/2020

Automotive Concepts of Minnesota (New Hope, MN)

New Hope

Air Quality – The company failed to submit 2015, 2016, and 2017 annual air emissions inventory reports, as required by April of each following year.

$6,210

10/6/2020

Diamond Lake Woods Homeowners Association (Dayton, MN)

Dayton

Municipal Wastewater – The company exceeded permitted nitrogen wastewater effluent limits, and failed to document when or why.

$6,160

10/8/2020

SM Hentges and Sons, Inc. (Jordan, MN)

Chanhassen

Construction Stormwater - Violations included failing to obtain a construction stormwater permit, allowing sediment discharges to Bluff Creek, was missing stormwater BMPs, and conducted improper dewatering techniques.

$6,000

8/31/2020

Wm Mueller & Sons, Inc. (Hamburg, MN)

Belle Plaine

Air Quality and Industrial Wastewater – The company failed to complete and maintain a required stormwater pollution prevention plan, and conduct site inspections. They also failed to properly monitor stormwater outfalls, maintain containment berms, and manage salt and sediment stockpiles.

$6,000

11/25/2020

Wm Mueller & Sons Inc (Hamburg, MN)

Hamburg

Industrial Wastewater – The company failed to complete and maintain a required stormwater pollution prevention plan, and conduct site inspections. They also failed to properly monitor stormwater outfalls, maintain containment berms, and manage salt and sediment stockpiles.

$5,950

11/2/2020

City of Buffalo (Buffalo, MN)

Buffalo

Municipal Wastewater – The facility exceeded permitted effluent limits for copper several times during 2018-20, and failed to manage copper inflow and outflow.

$5,750

11/18/2020

Isanti Estates LLC (White Bear Lake, MN)

Isanti

Municipal Wastewater – The company had several effluent limit exceedances from 2015-20. They also failed to install proper equipment to ensure adequate wastewater treatment, and submitted required reports late.

$5,728

10/16/2020

Boise White Paper LLC (International Falls, MN)

International Falls

Air Quality - Emissions tests showed the facility was exceeding permitted limits of particulate matter by levels of between 70-89%.

$5,685

9/10/2020

3M Company (Saint Paul, MN)

Maplewood

Air Quality – The company failed to submit required permit amendments prior to moving and modifying equipment, and failed to keep complete records relating to spray booth operation, natural gas usage and filter inspections.

$5,266

 

Enforcement cases with net penalty amounts of less than $5,000 (July - Dec. 2020)

  • Central Bi-Products, for air quality violations in Long Prairie.
  • Kent Rental Real Estate, for construction stormwater violations in Clear Lake.
  • MN Dept. of Agriculture, for construction stormwater violations in Pike Lake.
  • George Bougalis & Sons Company, for construction stormwater violations in Pike Lake.
  • Le Sueur County, for construction stormwater violations in Le Center.
  • Le Sueur Incorporated, for air quality violations in Le Sueur.
  • Dave and Ron Langhoff, for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Villard.
  • Hohenstein Septic Services LLC, for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Lakefield.
  • Harry’s Pumping Service, Inc., for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Alexandria.
  • Gateway Manufacturing LLC, for air quality violations in Menahga.
  • MJ Raleigh Truckin’, Inc., for industrial wastewater violations in Stillwater.
  • Farmers Co-op Grain & Seed, for industrial wastewater violations in Thief River Falls.
  • Erv’s Septic Dozer, for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Lewiston.
  • Chuck’s Body Shop, Inc., for air quality violations in Eagle Lake.
  • David Doehling and Paul Doehling, for feedlot violations in Arlington.
  • Rajala Mill Co., for air quality violations in Bigfork.
  • Guy Jeremiason, for feedlot violations in Minneota.
  • Max Johnson Trucking, Inc., for construction stormwater violations in Le Center.
  • Arctic Cat, Inc., for air quality violations in Thief River Falls.
  • Coleman Chops LLC, for feedlot violations in St. James.
  • Bushmills Ethanol, for air quality violations in Atwater.
  • BlueLinx Corporation, for air quality violations in Aitkin.
  • Everlast Climbing Industries, for air quality violations in Fridley.
  • American Custom Rotomolding, for air quality violations in Maple Plain.
  • City of Minneapolis, for air quality violations in Minneapolis.
  • Schmitz Grain, Inc., for air quality violations in Sanborn.
  • Sappi Cloquet LLC, for industrial wastewater violations in Cloquet.
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store, for hazardous waste violations in Wadena.
  • City of Ely, for municipal wastewater violations in Ely.
  • Aggregate Industries-MWR, Inc., for air quality violations in St. Paul.
  • Structural Block, Inc., for subsurface sewage treatment violations in Fergus Falls.
  • Jordan Salmi, for hazardous waste violations in Aurora.
  • Great Lakes Aquarium, for industrial wastewater violations in Duluth.
  • Prairie Feeders LLC, for feedlot violations in Pipestone.
  • BIL LLC, for feedlot violations in Lakefield.
  • Martin Weiss, for feedlot violations in Adrian.
  • Principal Investment Group LLC, for feedlot violations in Round Lake.
  • Resolute Financial Group LLC, for feedlot violations in Round Lake.
  • James Grannis and Merodee Grannis, for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Winnebago.
  • Keith Barton and Lori Barton, for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Elmore.
  • Stephan Becvar Revoc Trust, for subsurface sewage treatment systems violations in Hayfield.
  • Jake DeGeus, for solid waste violations in Mazeppa.
  • Lavern House, for solid waste violations in Spring Valley.