AcroTech Midwest was ordered to clean up soil contaminated by spilled hydraulic fluid and is being investigated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The MPCA north central region staff based in Baxter went to the Riverton manufacturer Oct. 15 after receiving complaints about the facility. The investigation identified evidence of spilled hydraulic fluid, the MPCA reported.
Reed Larson, MPCA manager, said the spill was significant. The plant and the spill area is about 200 yards from the Mississippi River. The company had to excavate five cubic yards of contaminated soil, roughly the amount typically hauled in a dump truck load, Larson said. With the amount of soil contamination, Larson said the indication is the hydraulic spill was less than 20 gallons.
"We don't know at this time whether this was a recurring release over time or whether it was the result of a single episode," Larson said.
About AcroTech Midwest
The manufacturing firm in Riverton is closing its doors by the end of February.
The company employs about 154 people.
AcroTech Midwest is a process plastic manufacturer that makes automotive and recreational vehicle parts.
AcroTech Midwest is moving its business to a new facility in Watertown, S.D.
Steve Abernathy, AcroTech Midwest president, could not be reached for comment Thursday. The MPCA investigators interviewed AcroTech Midwest management and staff. Larson said additional interviews are intended in the follow-up investigation. Penalties and fines to these types of discharges range from $500 to $10,000. A completed MPCA report regarding enforcement is expected in two weeks.
Follow-up test results, not completed yet, will determine if all the contaminated soil was removed.
The spill raised concerns for runoff and entering the nearby Mississippi River, Larson said. Steve Palzkill, pollution control specialist, said hydraulic fluid spills are on the same classification as spilled waste oil. The human health hazard is not high, but the hydraulic fluid poses a risk to the environment and wildlife, potentially affecting animal or fish populations.
Palzkill said AcroTech Midwest moved quickly to have the soils removed.
The MPCA referred additional complaints -- that antifreeze and oil were dumped into the company's septic system -- to Crow Wing County. Antifreeze has the potential to compromise the septic system affecting a future buyer of the property, Larson said. The MPCA also received complaints of a floor drain and uncontrolled discharge outside the building. Larson said the MPCA is investigating to determine if this was an illegal discharge point.
"We are continuing to follow-up on those and determining what level of enforcement action might be needed," Larson said of the additional complaints.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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