Ethanol plant in Atwater fined $800,000 for wastewater discharge

State officials say the Bushmills Ethanol plant in Atwater, Minn., has been fined $800,000 for discharging waste water illegally and then lying about it.

The discharges caused dissolved minerals and salts to flow into a ditch and eventually the Crow Wing River during 2008 and 2009. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials discovered the unpermitted discharges through on-site inspections and by analyzing data submitted by the company.

And officials say the penalty was higher than it might have been because the company provided misleading information about the problem.

In a statement, MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen said: “This action shows our commitment to safeguarding Minnesota’s waters. There are many companies that follow the rules to protect our air, water and land and we applaud them. But when companies break the rules they not only harm our natural resources, they get an unfair competitive advantage and they must be held accountable.”

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