On the heels of the largest-ever penalty assessed to a ready mixed company Û $2.75 million paid by Aggregate Industries Û for storm water violations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, Kansas City, Kan., filed consent agreements against two companies that it claims violated the Clean Water Act. Totaling just under $140,000, the consent agreements were subject to a final approval and 30-day public comment period, ending late last month.
Wamego Sand Company, Inc., agreed to pay a $95,000 civil penalty to settle allegations against its Midwest Concrete Materials Co. ready-mixed facility in Manhattan, Kan. According to the agreement, as well as a civil complaint against the company, EPA determined that the operation substantially exceeded effluent limits of its storm water permit over a nearly four-year period, beginning in 2005. The company also violated sampling, reporting, record-keeping and inspection requirements of its permit. Runoff from the Midwest Concrete plant was being discharged into the Kansas River, classified by the state as an impaired water body. Since notification by EPA of the violations following a June 2008 inspection, Wamego Sand has made significant improvements to its storm water management systems, according to the agency.
For infractions at its former sand, gravel, ready mixed and asphalt plant in Decorah, Iowa, Knife River Midwest, LLC, will pay a $43,082 penalty, after an August 2008 EPA inspection found several violations of the facility's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for industrial storm water management. The fine was imposed for the company's failure to retain records, conduct and record visual inspections, as well as maintain and update an adequate storm water pollution-prevention plan. The Decorah plant discharges runoff into the Upper Iowa River.
Bismarck, N.D.-based Knife River sold the Decorah facility in December 2008, but owns several other plants throughout Iowa and the upper Midwest. The Decorah operation served as headquarters for Fred Carlson Co., with which Knife River merged in early 2004 as part of its move into the Iowa market.