Spring Prairie in rural Clay County to pay $10,500 penalty for solid waste violations

Contact Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

Spring Prairie Hutterian Brethren, Inc., a Hutterite colony near Hawley, has agreed to pay a $10,500 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for violations related to stockpiling and burning solid waste on the community’s property in Clay County.

The MPCA cited Spring Prairie after inspections in fall 2019 found piles of unburnt solid waste, burned solid waste, and ash in several areas of the property. The colony does not have a permit to dispose of solid waste and failed to properly collect and transport their waste to a facility authorized to accept it. Inspectors found that the colony openly burned prohibited materials including insulation, sheetrock, and other demolition debris, and municipal solid waste.

In addition to the civil penalty, the colony has completed several corrective actions, including removing all solid waste and ash and taking it to an authorized facility, and submitting a plan to the MPCA for properly managing and disposing of all future waste. 

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 economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.