Water quality violations cost Long Prairie Packing Co. $52,000Long Prairie Packing Co., LLC, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently reached an agreement that requires the company to pay $52,000 for alleged water quality violations.
Long Prairie Packing Co., LLC, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently reached an agreement that requires the company to pay $52,000 for alleged water quality violations. The violations occurred between fall 2009 and spring 2010 at the company’s facility in Long Prairie, Minn.
According to MPCA staff inspection reports, the company improperly stockpiled and land applied industrial byproducts, and failed to maintain a required 600-foot land application setback from surface waters at seven sites. Some of the land applications occurred within farmed wetlands. The company also failed to notify the MPCA or immediately recover blood-contaminated leachate which spilled out of a dumpster and a large storage tote; improperly stored more than 500 gallons of used oil; and operated parts of the facility without a required federal and state industrial stormwater permit.
Of the $52,000 civil penalty, half will be paid to the MPCA, and half will be spent on completing a supplemental environmental project. Long Prairie Packing Co. plans to construct an industrial anaerobic digester near the plant that will reduce the amount and toxicity of pollutants entering area waters, and significantly reduce the land application of industrial byproducts. The digester will produce biogas, which will help reduce dependency on coal-powered energy sources. The company has also completed a series of required corrective actions.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It 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 by the MPCA, refer to the agency’s website at www.pca.state.mn.us.