Minnesota Ethanol plant fined $800,000

Aaron DuBois

An ethanol plant in Atwater, Minn., paid an $800,000 fine for illegally discharging waste water, the state Pollution Control Agency said Friday.

PCA said Bushmills Ethanol Inc., was fined for discharging an unauthorized amount of dissolved minerals or salts and other pollutants which flowed into Middle Fork Crow River, according to the Star Tribune.

The violations occurred from 2008 to 2011 and were discovered by state inspectors through on site and data analysis. The inspectors reviewed monitoring data the company was required to submit under its waste water discharge permit.

"There are many companies that follow the rules to protect our air, water and land and we applaud them," said the state's pollution control commissioner, Paul Aasen, in a statement. "But when companies break the rules they not only harm our natural resources, they get an unfair competitive advantage and they must be held accountable."