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ConAgra Signs Clean Water Act Permit Plea Agreement for Violations at Minnesota Facility

Release Date: 08/17/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Stacie Keller, 202-564-4355 /

(8/17/05) Under the terms of a plea agreement signed with the United States on Aug. 1, ConAgra, Inc., owner and operator of a food ingredient and flour mill in Hastings, Minn., pleaded guilty to a one-count information filed with the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis. If the plea agreement is approved by the court, ConAgra will pay a $138,513 criminal fine, pay $1,487 in restitution to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), provide $55,000 in community service to the National Park Foundation and provide $55,000 in community service to the Friends of the Mississippi River. In its plea, ConAgra admitted that it negligently violated the Clean Water Act by failing to report and maintain proper documentation of discharge water temperature readings as required by its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. Readings that were higher than allowed by the permit were recorded in a logbook and were not transmitted to the MPCA in required Discharge Monitoring Reports. Discharging wastewater with higher than permitted temperature readings can harm fish and other aquatic life in surface waters. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in coordination with the MPCA. It is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.