Hermantown Wal-Mart pays stormwater fine
NEWS TRIBUNE Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for allegedly violating a stormwater permit at its Hermantown store. As part of the agreement, the company will also pay $20,000...
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for allegedly violating a stormwater permit at its Hermantown store.
As part of the agreement, the company will also pay $20,000 to the South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District for stormwater improvements in the Miller Creek watershed.
The PCA said Friday that Wal-Mart failed to comply with its 2003 permit requiring the use of a stormwater pond to adequately filter, treat and cool the store's parking lot and rooftop runoff before it runs into Miller Creek.
The PCA's staff discovered the violations in November while reviewing the store's required annual stormwater report. The PCA found that sediment had plugged the pond's filtration system and that it was failing to treat stormwater from the parking lot and store roof.
Wal-Mart has since corrected the problem and replaced the filtering materials.
Miller Creek has been the subject of a decade-long restoration effort that has been plagued by rapidly expanding development along its banks. The creek, a designated trout stream and an officially impaired water, has been hit hard by parking lot runoff that warms and pollutes the water and by erosion that clogs spawning beds.
Many acres of wetlands near the stream's upper reaches, along with upland forest, also have been destroyed for development. Wetlands and trees help filter and slow runoff into the stream.
Plans to nearly double the size of the Wal-Mart store's footprint into a SuperCenter store have been on hold for more than a year as the company waits for new stormwater permits that were on hold during negotiations over the violation and fine.
``We put them on hold until the enforcement action was resolved,' said John Thomas, PCA water quality specialist in Duluth. ``Now we can work with them to modify their permit for the expansion _ although we still need to look at where that extra water will be going and how it will be treated.'