Petroleum equipment company to pay civil penalty for MPCA violations in Bemidji, other cities

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BEMIDJI -- A petroleum equipment company has agreed to pay $14,000 to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for violations in Bemidji and other communities around the state.

O'Day Equipment, a service and supply company based in Fargo, is paying the aforementioned penalty fee and agreed to corrective action, including training for its employees, a release said. The violations were related to installing, repairing, removing and testing underground storage tanks.

Jeff Brandon, an MPCA environmental specialist, said the violations varied by each city. In Bemidji, O'Day had tested a cathodic protection system used to prevent steel corrosion when it's buried underground.

"Every three years, it has to be tested to make sure it's working properly," Brandon said. "They tested it, and it failed it. The owner of the site then repaired it, and O'Day sold the equipment. Once the repair was finished, O'Day came out and retested the system and passed it. However, they can't make the determination alone, if there's a repair, a corrosion expert is needed."

Other cities with violations included Cloquet, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Mountain Iron and Two Harbors. In those other locations, the release states O'Day failed to install automatic shutoff overfill devices and secondary equipment.


Brandon said the dollars from the civil penalty will go back to the state's general fund. The MPCA calculates the amount by how seriously the violations affect the environment.

"There are no environmental impacts in Bemidji we're aware of, but certainly their actions could have resulted in one," Brandon said. "That's what we also look at, whether there were actions that could have potentially resulted in an impact. They also had to take corrective measures where the errors occurred."

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