Highwater Ethanol to Pay $150K for Permit Violations

The company has allegedly violated air-quality and water-quality permits at its production facility in Lamberton.

Lamberton-based Highwater Ethanol, LLC, has agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve “numerous” violations of its air-quality and water-quality permits.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the company has violated MPCA-issued environmental permits at its production facility since it began production in August 2009.

The MPCA said that the most serious violations involved Highwater's wastewater-treatment system.

Part of the system includes an on-site pond that is permitted to receive only reject water from the facility's reverse osmosis treatment system. However, unpermitted discharges were made to the pond that caused its capacity to be exceeded.

To get rid of the excess, the company drained wastewater from the pond onto cropland, a treatment method that is not permitted and one that can negatively impact both ground and surface water.

In addition to the violations of the company's water-quality permits, there were also several violations of its air-quality permit, including failure to conduct monitoring at required intervals, maintain required operating parameters, maintain monitoring records, and submit required data to the MPCA.

In addition to the $150,000 fine, the company agreed to specific corrective actions to ensure compliance with the environmental permit limits and prevent repeat violations.

Highwater Ethanol's dry mill corn-processing ethanol plant produces 50 million gallons per year. The company, which has about 40 employees, was founded in 2006.

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