MPCA fines gravel pit owner $19k for violations

Published 10:28 am Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Rose Creek man has agreed to pay a $19,000 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Lawrence Hansen allegedly violated solid waste laws by disposing of concrete, plastic and other materials in ponds at his gravel pit facility.

Hansen has also closed the areas where he buried the materials on his property at 61332 190th St., Rose Creek, under conditions set by the MPCA, including covering the ponds with soil and controlling runoff from rain and snowmelt to prevent pollution of ground and surface waters.

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Hansen allegedly violated state law for several years by operating a solid-waste facility without a permit, creating the potential to pollute surface water and groundwater. An MPCA inspection in August 2010 found three areas of buried concrete, rebar, asphalt, plastic, treated wood and tractor tires. The wastes were in two ponds and in another pond already filled with material. The areas measured about 50 by 442 feet, 40 by 110 feet, and 115 by 130 feet, totaling almost one acre in size.

Called a stipulation agreement, this settlement with Hansen is one of the tools the MPCA uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it was a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.