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home : government : government January 25, 2015


1/8/2014 12:32:00 PM
State fines three frac sand companies

Three frac sand companies, none of them operating in Barron County, have been cited by the state for environmental violations, announced state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
In Trempealeau County, the state has obtained a $200,000 judgment against Preferred Sands for storm water violations at its 350-acre sand mining operation northwest of the City of Blair. 
Preferred Sands acquired the site in December 2011 and began operating the sand mine on top of a bluff near Larkin Valley Creek in the City of Blair.  Wisconsin law requires such operations to prevent the discharge of pollutants from their operations by using physical controls and pollution prevention practices so that sediment and other contaminants are not discharged through storm water into natural streams, wetlands or groundwater. 
The civil complaint states Preferred Sands failed to notify the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources when it expanded production by processing 100 railcars of sand from a different site and expanding the footprint of the mining and stockpile operation at the site. The complaint further states that Preferred failed to implement pollution prevention practices to prevent storm water from being contaminated when it came into contact with unprotected soils and roads connected to the site. Polluted sediment runoff was observed leaving the site on several locations in 2011 and 2012.
The attorney general has also obtained a judgment against Completion Industrial Minerals, requiring it to pay $80,000 in forfeitures, court costs, and surcharges for violations of its Wisconsin air pollution control construction permit and Wisconsin's air pollution control laws at its Marshfield sand processing facility.
 According to the complaint, Completion failed to update its construction permit application to reflect changes that occurred during the construction process that were not described in the plans and specifications approved under its construction permit. Furthermore, Completion continued to construct its facility after its construction permit expired. In addition, Completion failed to prepare and submit a fugitive dust plan within 60 days of permit issuance and failed to keep daily records of precautions taken under the fugitive dust plan.  Completion also failed to record the pressure drop across a particulate filter, failed to install and operate a continuous emission monitor, and failed to prepare and submit a malfunction prevention and abatement plan for its facility. 
Most of Completion's violations occurred around the time its facility started operating. Completion cooperated with the DNR and addressed the violations soon after the violations were discovered.
In Burnett County, Interstate Energy Partners. a Minnesota corporation, owns a sand and gravel mining facility in the Town of Grantsburg. It is operated by Tiller Corporation, also of Minnesota. 
 A civil complaint states that sometime between April 19 and April 22, 2012, a sediment discharge ran into a wetland complex, into a creek, and downstream into the St. Croix River.  The St. Croix is designated as an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest and part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The DNR discovered the discharge by responding to a citizen complaint, and production at the mining facility was immediately shut down.
Judgment has been entered for failure to maintain necessary dikes and berms and discharging outside the conditions of their permit. Defendants will pay forfeitures and fees totaling $80,000. 

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