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SMBSC to pay $6 million to resolve Clean Water Act allegations

By Mark Iandolo | May 19, 2016

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) — The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC) will resolve allegations of Clean Water Act violations through the signing of a $6 million agreement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has announced.

 The company uses sugar beets to manufacture refined sugar, liquid sugar and other products.

 “This agreement will prevent the discharge of millions of gallons of untreated wastewater to Beaver Creek and reduce pollution to the Mississippi River,” said acting EPA regional administrator Robert Kaplan. “EPA and MPCA will continue working with the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to ensure full compliance with the law and to improve water quality.”

According to allegations, the company’s Renville facility discharged more than 28 million gallons of waste water in violation of one or more permit requirements over the period at issue.  A 2013 discharge led to a fish kill in Beaver Creek, according to an updated press release from the EPA.

The consent decree in the case will require SMBSC to pay a $1 million civil penalty and provide injunctive relief of roughly $5 million. Additionally, SMBSC must model the volume of its waste water products and add a contingency plan to address any future forecasted violations. It will need to audit its waste water piping systems as well.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)