Utility company may settle with MPCA

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Austin Utilities may negotiate a settlement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in the near future.

The settlement, if reached, will end the nine-month long wait for action since a March fish kill that occurred in the Cedar River.

According to Jerry McCarthy, general manager, "We will meet next week with our attorney and the MPCA to discuss a settlement. At this point, no fine has been levied.

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"In fact, they have not pinpointed that the utility is directly responsible for the fish kill that occurred last March."

McCarthy said the utility acted upon the chemical manufacturer's instructions, when it released the chemical into the Cedar River from the downtown generation plant.

At the time, the utility notified the MPCA that a fish kill had occurred after the chemical was released.

"We were acting under the manufacturer's instructions to dispose of the chemical that way," McCarthy said.

Also, the Austin Utilities general manager reiterated that the MPCA has not notified the utility of its intention to fine the entity nor "threatened a fine."

"All we're talking about next week is a settlement. The utility and its attorney will visit with the MPCA to discuss a settlement only," he said.

Lee Bonorden can be reached at 434-2232 or by e-mail at lee.bonorden@austindailyherald.com