Wabasha County milk company fined by MPCA
Plainview Milk Products Cooperative was fined for violating industrial wastewater regulations at its Wabasha County facility.
A Wabasha County milk company has been fined $17,820 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and forced to complete a series of corrective actions.
Plainview Milk Products Cooperative allowed milk-laden industrial wastewater to drain from its facility into a nearby unnamed creek on two separate occasions in 2022, according to an MPCA enforcement investigation.
The creek drains directly to the North Fork of the Whitewater River, which is a designated trout stream, according to the MPCA.
According to the company's website, Plainview Milk was established in 1899 and is owned by approximately 200 farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company produces a variety of dairy products near downtown Plainview, Minnesota.
According to a press release from the MPCA, Plainview Milk failed to immediately report its wastewater releases to the Minnesota Duty Officer and the MPCA as required in its permit. The investigation also confirmed that the company had an inadequate system to monitor its wastewater flows, and between 2019 and 2022, more than 20% of its required monthly discharge monitoring reports were submitted late.
In addition to paying the $17,820 civil penalty, Plainview Milk has completed a series of corrective actions including reviewing and revising release reporting and response procedures; reviewing and revising procedures that ensure pollution prevention equipment is operating effectively; installing new flow monitoring equipment and implementing a process to ensure reports are submitted on time.
"MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities," said the press release. "When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment."
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
Phone calls and emails to Plainview Milk Products Cooperative regarding findings of the investigation went unreturned.