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Bushmills Ethanol of Atwater, Minn., pays $800,000 penalty for wastewater violations

SAINT PAUL -- Bushmills Ethanol, Inc. of Atwater has paid an $800,000 civil penalty for wastewater treatment violations for discharging wastewater containing unpermitted levels of dissolved minerals (salts) and other pollutants and then providing inaccurate information about the discharges at the company's ethanol production facility in Atwater, Minn. (Kandiyohi County). The discharges were not authorized in its wastewater permit.

The violations occurred from 2008 to 2011. They were discovered through on-site inspections by MPCA enforcement staff and through analysis of monitoring data the company is required to submit under its wastewater discharge permit.

The penalty was part of an enforcement agreement the company and the MPCA signed on March 28. Although the agreement covers a number of violations, the primary ones, and the reason the penalty was so high, related to misleading information provided by the company filed in regard to the operation of its wastewater treatment plant.