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W’bago fined $12,700 by state

May 6, 2011
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

WINNEBAGO - Winnebago has paid a $12,700 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for alleged violations at its wastewater treatment plant.

The city paid the fine in January, according to Austin Bleess, Winnebago's city administrator.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Winnebago facility violated several limits for discharging treated wastewater to the Blue Earth River in early 2010. It failed to keep equipment in working order, to adequately staff the plant and to control high-strength wastewater from a local industry, Continental Carbonics.

"The City Council agreed to a stipulation agreement with the MPCA in December," said Bleess, adding there were four conditions in the agreement, all of which have been met.

Additionally, "we were reimbursed by the industrial users (Continental Carbonics) that caused us to violated," he said.

One measure of pollutants in the facility's wastewater - carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand - was more than six times its permitted limit in January 2010, indicating the wastewater lacked enough dissolved oxygen to aid in organic matter decomposition, the agency said.

The agency also found the facility failed to control wastewater from the local business - allowing pollutants to pass through and disrupt the treatment process - by failing to enforce its wastewater agreement with the business and setting only minimal fines.

Winnebago is taking corrective action, such as installing new equipment and writing a new operations manual, as outlined in its stipulation agreement with the agency.

"We haven't had any issues since," Bleess said. "We're good to go."

For more information, visit the agency Web site at



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