Marshfield Utilities reaches agreement with DOJ
Utility will pay fine of $5,000 for violation of DNR regulations
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield Utilities (MU) has reached an agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Justice concerning alleged discrepancies in the construction permit process for MU’s Combustion Turbine Generation Plant. As part of the settlement agreement, Marshfield Utilities will pay a fine of $5,000 plus court costs to the state.
“We have been working cooperatively with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on these issues for the past four years, and we’re glad to have reached a conclusion,” said MU General Manager Robert Trussoni.
The issues came to light during the DNR’s biennial compliance inspection in March 2013. The original project application requested authorization to install a 350-kilowatt emergency generator for auxiliary power, which was later changed to a cheaper, more efficient generator during the design stage, and the original permit was not amended to reflect the improved efficiency.
This generator operates intermittently for testing and in the event of emergencies.
MU had also used a “lower heating value” rating provided by the manufacturer to describe the capacity of its combustion turbine in the permit application process. Although DNR’s permit application expressed no preference, DNR staff preferred that MU describe the turbine’s capacity using the “higher heating value” of fuel. Once the DNR expressed its preference, MU converted the “lower heat value” to “higher heat value” in the permit.
“The DNR’s allegations relate to a lack of clarity in the permit application process and did not involve any emission violations,” Trussoni added. “We took immediate action to clarify the paperwork when notified by the DNR and have made adjustments in our internal procedures to be sure that similar misunderstandings do not happen with future permits.”
MU plans to involve additional staff in future permitting actions. MU has also performed an independent environmental audit — in addition to the two inspections performed by the DNR — since March 2013. Neither the audit nor the DNR inspections identified any regulatory compliance concerns.