Multiple enforcement actions lead to settlement between MPCA and Isanti biodiesel facility

Contact: Steve Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

St. Paul, Minn. — Multiple enforcement actions alleging emergency response, above ground storage tank, industrial stormwater and hazardous waste violations have resulted in a settlement between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Ever Cat Fuels LLC. The violations alleged in the settlement were discovered during MPCA staff inspections in 2013, and 2014, at the company’s biodiesel processing and distribution facilities in Isanti, Minn. 

A settlement agreement was reached for the three Administrative Penalty Orders (APOs) in the amount of $30,000. Ever Cat has completed a series of corrective actions and will pay the $30,000 penalty with a payment schedule over the next six months. 

The MPCA staff inspections revealed that Ever Cat had allowed used cooking oil, plant-based oils, biodiesel, and methanol to discharge onto the ground, pavement, and into stormwater ponds on their property, and failed to immediately clean up or report the spills. This contamination could have caused harm to animals, birds, fish and other aquatic life, especially if it were to drain to area surface waters.

Other violations included improper storage of hazardous materials, generating hazardous waste without a license and mismanaging hazardous waste, failing to properly inspect and maintain equipment, and operating their facilities without the required industrial wastewater and stormwater permits.

APOs are one of the MPCA’s enforcement tools. Individual APOs can carry a maximum penalty of $20,000, which can be nonforgivable, forgivable or a combination of the two. In a combination APO, a portion of the penalty may be forgiven if corrective actions are completed within a scheduled period of time; usually within 30 days.

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, refer to the MPCA’s Quarterly Summary of Enforcement Actions webpage.