Issues date back to MPCA inspections in August 2023 at Deer Creek facility

Photo by Chad Koenen
IFS in Deer Creek was recently fined over $10,000 for water quality permit violations. The alleged violations date back to August 2023.

Industrial Finishing Services Inc. has been fined $10,440 for water quality permit violations at the Deer Creek facility. 

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Industrial Finishing Inc. violated several water quality permit conditions relating to required sampling, training, reporting and inspections at its industrial equipment coating and finishing facility in Deer Creek.

MPCA staff inspections in August 2023 confirmed violations that included:

• Submitting quarterly discharge monitoring reports late on three occasions.

• Failing to properly collect pollutant samples on 140 occasions.

• Failing to identify causes and report steps taken to correct exceedances identified in compliance monitoring records for pH, and failing to maintain proper pH calibration records.

• Failing to provide stormwater pollution prevention training for all appropriate employees.

• Failure to collect required stormwater samples and conduct inspections during rain or snowmelt events between 2021 and 2023.

In addition to paying the $10,440 civil penalty, Industrial Finishing has completed a series of corrective actions including:

• Developing a pH calibration procedure and log, and ensuring their sample analysis plan is up to date.

• Documenting steps taken to ensure discharge monitoring reports are submitted on time, samples are collected at the frequency required by the permit, and actions the company will take in the event of effluent violations.

• Documenting actions the company will take to ensure that appropriate employees receive stormwater related training on an annual basis and submitting a roster of staff who have received this training since August 2023.

• Providing the MPCA details of how they will ensure required stormwater samples are collected and at least two stormwater runoff inspections are conducted each calendar year, including one during snowmelt.

MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA considers how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.