Attorney General Van Hollen Announces Judgment Requiring Trempealeau County Frac Sand Mining and Processing Facility to Pay $60,000 in Forfeitures, Fees, and Costs

Sep 8 2014
Attorney General Van Hollen Announces Judgment Requiring Trempealeau County Frac Sand Mining and Processing Facility to Pay $60,000 in Forfeitures, Fees, and Costs

 

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that his office has obtained a judgment against Arcadia Sand, LLC and Mississippi Sand, LLC requiring them to pay $60,000 in forfeitures, court costs, surcharges, and attorney fees for violations of a Wisconsin stormwater pollution discharge permit at Arcadia Sand's Trempealeau County hydraulic fracturing sand mining and processing facility operated by Mississippi Sand.

 

According to the complaint, the Arcadia Sand facility started operations in 2012.  The site includes a berm and a stockpile storage area (consisting of overburden) that separate the production portion of the site from a navigable stream.  The facility's stormwater discharge permit requires that Arcadia Sand and Mississippi Sand install and maintain best management practices to control contaminated stormwater.  Prior to May 20, 2013, the berm and stockpile storage area were not covered with established vegetation, and therefore did not act as best management practices.  During a May 20, 2013, storm event, the berm failed and the stockpile storage area eroded, which caused the discharge of berm material and sediment-laden stormwater into the navigable stream.  Shortly after the discharge, Mississippi Sand hired a new consultant that re-engineered the berm and properly vegetated the stockpile storage area.  On August 26, 2013, the Department of Natural Resources determined that the facility was in compliance with its stormwater permit.  At that point, the berm was repaired and the berm and stockpile storage area had erosion matting in place that would allow for the establishment of proper vegetation. 

 

Sediment is the loose sand, clay, silt, and other soil that settles to the bottom of a water body.   In general, when sediment enters a water body, it smothers valuable aquatic breeding ground; damages fish gills; fills in stream channels, which increases the chance of flooding; contributes to the erosion of stream banks; decreases the recreational value of the water body; and can be costly for drinking water treatment plants to filter out. In addition, sediment often carries nutrients with it into streams and lakes, which can cause excessive algae blooms.

 

Assistant Attorney General Bradley J. Motl represented the State.  The settlement was approved by Trempealeau County Circuit Court Judge John A. Damon on August 26, 2014.

 

Copies of the Civil Complaint, Judgment, and the Stipulation and Order for Judgment are available here.