February 7, 2008

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is in the process of adopting new regulations that govern wastewater discharges that industrial sources discharge to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

The MPCA issues permits to municipalities who operate POTWs that discharge treated wastewater to waters of the state.  Municipalities regulate industrial users that produce wastewaters through ordinances.  Significant industrial users are often required to obtain permits that limit certain parameters in their wastewater discharges.  Often on-site pretreatment of wastewater flows is required prior to the discharge so that these limitations can be met.

The proposed regulations define a “significant industrial user” as: (1) an industrial user that contributes five percent or more of the flow or load of any pollutant of concern; (2) an industrial user that is designated by the MPCA or the POTW as significant based upon reasonable potential impact to the POTW plant; or (3) an industrial user that discharges 25,000 gallons per day or more of process wastewater to the receiving POTW.

Parties can obtain a copy of the proposed regulations, the Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) and related background information that has been prepared by MPCA staff at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/pretreatment-rulechange.html#what.According to the  MPCA, because 25 or more persons did not request a hearing, there will not be a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  Notice of the adoption of the final rules and the effective date of the rules will appear in the State Register at some future date.

The new rules apply to a variety of businesses including those in the following sectors:

  • Grain milling
  • Electroplating
  • Fertilizer manufacturing
  • Petroleum refining
  • Nonferrous metal manufacturing
  • Leather tanning and finishing
  • Timber products processing
  • Metal Finishing
  • Transportation equipment cleaning
  • Incinerators
  • Paint formulating
  • Metal molding and casting
  • Porcelain enameling
  • Aluminum forming
  • Electrical and electrical components.

The new rules, which incorporate existing federal requirements, have the effect of strengthening state enforcement authority over industrial users and municipalities.  If the MPCA discovers violations related to discharges or reporting requirements, the MPCA may choose to take administrative or civil action to enforce the new rules.  The new rules specifically provide that industrial users and others involved with operations, including responsible corporate officers, that knowingly violate the regulations may face criminal prosecution.

The lawyers in Hessian & McKasy’s Environmental Law Practice Group have extensive experience in assisting clients in determining which environmental regulations apply to specific operations. We assist clients in responding to proposed regulations and ensure that our clients’ concerns about the impact on their operations are heard before rules are finalized.  Our attorneys work with clients and conduct environmental and health and safety audits and develop of environmental management systems that are designed to detect and prevent violations.  Our attorneys also assist clients in responding to notices and defending enforcement actions brought by federal and state authorities, such as the EPA and the MPCA.

Hessian & McKasy’s environmental attorneys handle the full spectrum of environmental issues encountered by manufacturers, businesses, developers and individuals who have been named in an administrative, civil or criminal enforcement actions. The attorneys in the Hessian & McKasy Environmental Law Attorney Practice Group are regularly involved in negotiations on behalf of our clients with state and federal authorities.

The information contained within this website does not constitute legal advice.  Please see the information contained in the Disclaimer section on the home page.  Please feel free to contact any of the following individuals for more information on about the issues discussed here by contacting us directly or going to the Contact page on the www.EnviroAttorney.net site:

Joseph G. Maternowski 612-746-5754 jmaternowski@hessianmckasy.com

The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy P.A.

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