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EPA environmental enforcement highlights for Minnesota

Release Date: 11/15/2006
Contact Information: Anne Rowan, (312) 353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06 OPA218

(Nov. 15, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced that its enforcement actions in Minnesota in 2006 have caused regulated entities to pay more than $1.1 million to correct past environmental violations and help prevent future ones.

In the past fiscal year, EPA resolved 31 actions against regulated entities and assessed a total of more than $632,000 in civil penalties for numerous air, water, hazardous waste, community right-to-know and pesticide violations. As part of settlement agreements, Minnesota regulated entities also committed to do three supplemental environmental projects worth more than $65,000. In addition, EPA initiated another 25 new cases in the state.

"Complying with the law is key to ensuring that public health and the environment are protected," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "We and our partners at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are committed to ensuring cleaner air, water and land for the people of Minnesota."

Three of the more noteworthy cases in Minnesota involved Ecolab Inc. of St. Paul, Joyner's Die Casting and Plating Inc. of Brooklyn Park and Rochester Topsoil Inc. of Rochester.

  • Ecolab, a manufacturer of commercial cleaning and sanitation products, must pay a $37,000 penalty for distributing two misbranded disinfectants; Ascend Germicidal Detergent and Tor 11. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to donate 300 cases (21,600 bottles) of its waterless hand sanitizer, Digisan, to the American Red Cross. The market value of this donation is $86,400. The company says that Digisan is in high demand in emergency response situations where sanitation is critical, especially when clean water for washing hands is in short supply.
  • Joyner's Die Casting and Plating must pay a $50,000 penalty for various violations of the rules on proper treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. Over the next two years, the company will also spend at least $250,000 on an extensive cleanup of ground water contamination at its facility.
  • Rochester Topsoil Inc. and owners Don and Bryce Prow must pay a $250,000 penalty for discharging soil, rock and other materials into 2 acres of wetlands in Rochester. This violation occurred while the company was dredging 4,600 feet of streams and excavating ditches. The company will also restore the Willow Creek wetlands and create 15 acres of new wetlands along with 11 acres of native prairie buffer at Rock Dell Farms, another site it owns.

EPA resolved 12 cases through administrative compliance orders, four through civil judicial agreements/orders and 15 through final administrative penalty orders. Of the Region's new cases, 18 are administrative penalty complaints and seven are civil judicial referrals.

Region 5 coordinates with state environmental agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to enforce environmental laws. State agencies also have the authority to pursue their own enforcement actions. Region-wide, federal enforcement actions this year alone resulted in:
  • 145,358,476 pounds of pollutants reduced
  • 535,385 cubic yards of contaminated soil cleaned up
  • 23 million cubic yards of water and 5,740 linear feet of streams restored
  • 2,368 acres of wetlands protected.

For more information about the Region's enforcement program go to www.epa.gov/region5/enforcement/fy06eoy.htm
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