Tractor business correcting environmental violations

Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608

Rochester, Minn.— Lee J. Sackett Inc., a tractor repair and restoration business in Steele and Mower counties, is correcting several environmental violations as part of a recent agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). State inspections in 2013 found several violations of rules designed to protect the quality of water, land and air.

The business operates in both Waltham and rural Ellendale in southern Minnesota. According to the agreement, Sackett improperly stored and disposed of solid waste and hazardous waste such as paint thinner; operated without permits and licenses, including operating a paint booth without an air quality permit; and discharged wastewater from the Waltham facility’s floor drain to a county ditch without authorization. Environmental permits set the conditions for managing and disposing of waste and water, as well as pollutant limits for air emissions.

The MPCA has not issued a financial penalty to the business because of inability to pay. Should the business have the means to pay, the financial penalty would be $22,835. Sackett has taken several steps to comply with state rules with more to take, including a plan for appropriate management of industrial wastewater.

The conditions are part of stipulation agreement between Sackett and the MPCA. This type of agreement is one of the tools the agency uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it was a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.

For more information on managing waste, the MPCA offers guidance on its website: go to the www.pca.state.mn.us and click on the “Waste” tab.