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News Releases from Region 05

EPA, MPCA Reach $6 Million Agreement with Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations

Contact Information: 
Peter Cassell (cassell.peter@epa.gov)


CHICAGO (May 12, 2016) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency today announced a $6 million agreement with the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to resolve Clean Water Act violations at its processing facility near Renville, Minn. The company manufactures refined sugar, liquid sugar and other products from sugar beets. The Renville facility produces over 475,000 tons of sugar, 100,000 tons of dried and pelleted pulp and 10,000 tons of molasses from some 3 million tons of sugar beets. 

“This agreement will prevent the discharge of millions of gallons of untreated wastewater to Beaver Creek and reduce pollution to the Mississippi River,” said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Robert Kaplan. “EPA and MPCA will continue working with the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to ensure full compliance with the law and to improve water quality.”

SMBSC’s Renville facility discharged more than 28 million gallons of wastewater exceeding MPCA discharge limits.  A discharge in 2013 caused a fish kill in Beaver Creek. The consent decree requires SMBSC to pay a $1 million civil penalty and provide injunctive relief estimated to cost $5 million. The company must model the volume of its wastewater ponds, carry out contingency plans to address forecasted violations and audit its wastewater piping systems. 

SMBSC is also required to remove drain lines from its spray irrigation fields, use automatic cutoff valves to help prevent further untreated wastewater discharges, and adequately maintain required monitoring records.

*This press release was updated on 5/25/16.