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Department of Justice Settles Environmental Case Against Columbia County Firms

 

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that his office has filed and settled an environmental enforcement action against two facilities operating in Columbia County.  In separate agreements, Didion Milling, Inc. ("Didion Milling") and Didion Ethanol, LLC ("Didion Ethanol"), each agreed to pay $525,000 in penalties and costs to the State of Wisconsin.   

 

Didion Milling owns and operates a corn milling facility located in Cambria, Wisconsin. The civil complaint charges a series of air pollution permit violations at the Cambria facility.   The violations included failure to obtain and comply with air pollution control construction or operation permits, failing to comply with air-related notification and testing requirements, operating a grain dryer outside of permitted hours, failing to conduct required air monitoring, operation in violation of particulate emission limits, failing to comply with its air permits for baghouse operations and recordkeeping, failing to timely demonstrate compliance and maintain records required by its air permit, failing to control fugitive dust at the facility, filing false certifications with the DNR and failing to notify the DNR of permit deviations or violations.   The complaint also alleges that Didion Milling violated its Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Wastewater permit limits on effluent, additive, and floating solids, sampling, monitoring and testing requirements and discharged pollutants into the waters of the state without a permit.

 

Didion Ethanol owns and operates an ethanol production facility located in the Town of Courtland, Columbia County, Wisconsin. The civil complaint charges a series of air pollution and wastewater permit violations at the Courtland facility.  The violations included failing to conduct required air monitoring, operation in violation of particulate emission limits, failing to comply with its air permits for baghouse operations and recordkeeping, failing to timely demonstrate compliance and maintain records required by its air permit, failed to control fugitive dust at the facility, filing false certifications with the DNR and failing to notify the DNR of permit deviations or violations.   The complaint also alleges that Didion Ethanol violated its WPDES Wastewater permit limits on effluent, additive, and floating solids, failed to meet sampling, monitoring and testing requirements and discharged pollutants into the waters of the state without a permit.

 

"I'm pleased that these companies have stepped forward to take responsibility for the violations that occurred.  Although ethanol is an important industry for Wisconsin, we can't allow producers to take short cuts.  Environmental enforcement protects the environment, but it also creates a level playing field for the majority of businesses who follow the law without the need for government intervention," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

 

The settlements between the parties were approved by the Honorable Judge Gregory J. Potter, on April 26, 2010. 

 

The case was investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker prosecuted the case.