The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced in a news release that it has reached an agreement with Regions Hospital and Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. The agreement resolves an alleged failure to comply with the construction storm water permit issued for the hospital's expansion project.
In accordance with the agreement, Regions and Kraus-Anderson have paid a $45,400 civil penalty.
In 2007, Regions Hospital hired Kraus-Anderson to undertake a major expansion at its St. Paul location. The companies applied for a general storm water permit, which is required to prevent water pollution from runoff associated with construction activity.
When storm water drains off a construction site, it carries sediment and other pollutants that harm lakes, streams and wetlands. Storm water runoff is a leading source of water pollution.
During several inspections in 2007, inspectors observed dirty construction-related storm water being pumped off site and being directed into storm sewers that empty into the Mississippi River. Additionally, concrete had been improperly deposited on bare ground, and poor maintenance at an entrance gate caused sediments to be tracked onto paved surfaces surrounding the project.
Regions and Kraus-Anderson corrected the problems and will submit a plan to the MPCA that ensures future compliance with the storm water permit.
Studies show that controlling erosion from construction sites significantly reduces the amount of sediment and other pollutants that run into rivers, lakes and wetlands.
To keep Minnesota's valuable water resources clean, the MPCA requires pollution-prevention plans and issues permits to prevent storm water pollution during and after construction.
The agency also offers outreach and training to help companies comply with storm water rules and regulations.
A stipulation agreement 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 is a first time or repeat violation and how promptly the violation was reported to the appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html.