Wis. energy company to pay for water pollution

Nick Rees Nov. 6, 2009, 3:00pm

Van Hollen

UTICA, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Utica Energy has agreed to pay $280,000 in penalties resulting from its failure to comply with state water pollution laws and pay an additional $200,000 to connect to the city of Oshkosh's wastewater treatment system.

"Wisconsin law requires that industrial facilities manage their wastewater discharges and drinking water supplies by following their permits, so as to protect the public and the environment from harmful pollutants," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's citizens and natural resources are protected through compliance with the law."

Fuel grade ethanol is produced at Utica Energy's Utica facility. The production process' wastewater is treated at the facility and then either discharged directly to a tributary of Sawyer Creek, which is itself a tributary to the Fox River, or land applied in the Lake Butte des Mortes Watershed.

A 2008 Department of Natural Resources Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System authorizes Utica Energy to discharge the wastewater in accordance with the effluence limitations, monitoring requirements and other conditions of the permit.

Utica Energy is charged with violating the terms of that 2008 permit by its failure to conduct wastewater sampling, exceeding effluent limits, failure to submit required plans in a timely manner and failure to report incidents of noncompliance.

In addition to the $280,000 in forfeitures, assessments and costs for past violations and the $200,000 to connect to the Oshkosh wastewater treatment system, Utica Energy will pay stipulated forfeitures of $25 to $1,000 for each day that its wastewater discharge exceeds permit limits until its connection with the city sewer system is complete.

Utica is also resolved of charges by the judgment that it failed to comply with state laws governing wastewater discharges and drinking water supplies.

Additionally, the complaint charges Utica with improperly constructing its high capacity well system, which it received an approval for in 2004. The complaint states that the well system has improperly placed check valves and that Utica failed in stall sample faucets. Utica has corrected both of those deficiencies.

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