Enbridge, Menahga company and others hit with environmental penalties

Enbridge Energy received the largest penalty. Howard’s Driveway Inc. of Menahga was fined $7,600, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Enbridge Energy received the largest penalty of 2022, at $5.02 million, during the construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline.
The Forum file photo

MOORHEAD — Seven companies in northwest Minnesota received penalties over $5,000 in 2022 for violating environmental regulations, joining 45 other companies across Minnesota.

Last year, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) closed nearly 300 enforcement cases that stemmed from violations of water quality, air quality, waste, stormwater or wastewater regulations.

Penalties in 2022 ranged from zero dollars to just over $5 million.

Penalties are determined based on the harm or potential for harm within the violation, the economic benefit the company gained by not complying with environmental laws, and by how the company acted to correct the problem.

Enbridge’s $5.02 million penalty

Enbridge Energy received the largest penalty of the year at $5.02 million during the construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline.


The company violated a series of regulations and requirements, according to the MPCA, including discharging construction stormwater into wetlands and releasing drilling mud into surface water at 12 sites during the summer of 2021.

“Enbridge acknowledges it inadvertently breached an aquifer near the Clearbrook Terminal, and Enbridge has worked tirelessly to address the issue in coordination with DNR and other state agencies,” said Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner.

Howard’s Driveway pays $7,600

In Menahga, Howard’s Driveway Inc. had an asphalt drum mix baghouse that was emitting seven times the allowable rate of particulate matter in 2020, according to the MPCA.

The company was back in compliance in 2021, and was required in 2022 to pay $7,600, the MPCA said.

Detroit Lakes companies, others

In Detroit Lakes, Hough Inc. was fined just over $10,000 for releasing diesel fuel and burning prohibited materials. This risked soil contamination and the pollution of groundwater and surface water, the MPCA said.

This incident is far from the norm for their company, owner Mike Hough said.

He said the 2020 burn in question was largely brush, stumps and trees, accumulated during the course of their earthwork construction operations.

They used to burn that pile every year or so, Hough said. In 2020, however, an employee used diesel as an accelerant, drawing the attention of the fire department and sparking the ire of the MPCA.


The company no longer burns woodpiles to avoid similar situations, and compiled wood is now ground up for reuse, he said.

After the incident, the dirt around the site was cleaned up and disposed of properly, he said.

Lakes Septic Pumping, also located in Detroit Lakes, was operating as a septic system service and maintenance provider without a license or insurance, according to the MPCA. Lakes Septic Pumping was penalized $7,505. The Forum was not able to reach the business for comment for this story.

American Crystal Sugar was fined $9,900, according to the MPCA. At its East Grand Forks facility, the company failed to monitor for total and dissolved mercury the appropriate number of times in 2020, and also had eight unauthorized wastewater discharges between 2020 and 2022, the MPCA said.

Near Fergus Falls, Green Plains Otter Tail LLC’s ethanol production facility violated its wastewater and stormwater permit multiple times, according to the MPCA. The violations occurred over the course of the last three years, and the company was fined $14,812.

In addition to issuing penalties, the MPCA said it will provide support and information to help companies stay in compliance with environmental regulations.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Melissa Van Der Stad at

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