AL man pays $20K for illegal burn

Published 10:18 am Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Albert Lea man has paid a $20,000 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency after an investigation found he illegally burned and buried garbage in 2012.

The agency found several piles of garbage, ash from burning garbage and garbage buried in a wetland on three properties owned by Charles Borneman or his trust in Freeborn County, according to a news release. The MPCA investigated the property after three fires in March 2012. Five fire departments responded to the fires.

MPCA information officer Cathy Rofshus said the agency responds to cases of illegal dumping or burning often, but what stood out to her about the Freeborn County case was the number of fire departments that responded to the blazes.

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The inspection found waste materials on Borneman’s property northeast of Albert Lea including seven garbage piles, waste measuring 140 by 70 feet buried in a wetland, 10 tractor tires and a pile of ash large enough to almost fill a small Dumpster, according to the release. One garbage pile was 45 by 45 feet.

The MPCA also found that Borneman, a corporate officer for Albert Lea Trailer Inc., used parts washer solvent as an accelerant to start the fires. The company generates the solvent, used oil and floor dry for recovering used oil and spilled solvents, the release stated. All of the materials are considered hazardous waste and require certain disposal methods.

The release states burning and burying garbage, with a few exceptions, is against the law in Minnesota. Burning garbage releases pollutants into the air, while remaining ashes contain toxins that can blow away or seep into the soil or groundwater. Dioxin, a human carcinogen, is among the more serious environmental and health risks posed by garbage burning.

In an agreement with the MPCA, Borneman stated he agreed to comply with several state rules that require storage and disposal of waste at facilities with appropriate permits and that prohibit open burning of materials that create excessive or noxious smoke. Other rules agreed to prohibit disposal of tires in land and prohibit waste disposal that has a potential to pollute surface or groundwater.

He has agreed to stop disposing of waste on his properties, complete management plans for hazardous waste, recycle used oil if possible, store oil according to state rules and to dispose of waste tires at an appropriate facility, according to the release.

Rofshus said Borneman paid the fine April 7, and the MPCA sent out a letter on April 17 stating he had completed all of the requirements.

Borneman could not be reached for comment.