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Motley fined for water violations

The city of Motley and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have reached an agreement that requires the city to pay $17,500 for alleged water quality violations at its wastewater treatment facility, the MPCA said in a news release.

MPCA staff inspections and facility file reviews revealed 46 effluent violations between July 2006 and December 2008. The facility was treating twice its permitted levels of total suspended solids and substances that contribute to biological oxygen demand, which resulted in plant overloading and algae problems.

The city's permit requires identifying and developing pretreatment agreements with area industries that contribute significant amounts of high-strength wastewater and could lead to overloading problems such as these. As part of this agreement, the city has identified Morey's Seafood International and Trident Seafoods Corporation as contributors, and now must develop pretreatment agreements with them.

Because the current plant, which discharges into the Crow Wing River, is not designed to treat the high-strength wastewater from these kinds of industries, the city has applied for and received a permit to upgrade its facility. The upgrade will include adding additional sand filters and increasing the plant's capacity from 375,000 to 430,000 gallons per day. The upgrade must be completed by Oct. 1, 2012.

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 appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.