WPSC Fined $80,000 for Pollution Violations

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that his office has obtained a judgment against Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC) requiring it to pay $80,000 in forfeitures, court costs, and surcharges for violations of its Wisconsin air pollution control permit at its Rothschild coal fired power plants (also known as the Weston Coal Power Plants).

According to the civil complaint filed in Marathon County Circuit Court, WPSC submitted reports to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), indicating that WPSC exceeded its carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds emissions limitations at Weston Coal Power Plant 4 in violation of its Wisconsin air pollution control permit. Furthermore, WPSC reported to DNR that WPSC exceeded its sulfur dioxide emissions limitation on eight individual days between July 7, 2008, and April 25, 2009, at Weston Coal Power Plant 4.

The complaint further states that on several occasions WPSC operated facility processes without the required pollution control device, which may have caused unregulated particulate matter emissions. Also, WPSC violated its air pollution control permit when its continuous emissions monitoring systems were not in operation for greater than 5% of the time during the three-month periods of July to September 2008 and October to December 2008.

Particle pollution, ground-level ozone, and sulfur oxides can harm public health and the environment and cause property damage. Volatile organic compounds are a precursor to the formation of ground-level ozone. A company that has the potential to emit large quantities of pollutants is required to obtain an air pollution control permit from DNR and minimize those emissions by using control equipment, preventative maintenance, and abatement plans to reduce releases.

Assistant Attorney General Bradley J. Motl represented the State. The settlement was approved by Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Jill N. Falstad on August 28, 2013.

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