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St. Paul fine will be revisited

Government — Plan from several years back was not completed, DEQ informs city

In 2011, the city of St. Paul had a small sewage spill into Mission Creek. In accordance with state regulations it was reported to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which came to the site and investigated the spill.

As a result of that investigation the city was fined $1,500 for the spill. While $300 was paid up front, the remaining $1,200 was agreed to be waived provided the city completed a special environmental project involving planting willows that would grow into the stream bank. Willows are often used in stream bank restoration because of their ability to weather the elements and provide stability in soil.

The DEQ plan had also called for the city to work with the St. Paul School District to bring some science and biology classes to the stream bank to monitor the situation for educational purposes.

At the end of June the city received a letter from DEQ asking for an update on the project. Mayor Kim Wallis discovered that the measures, which were supposed to be completed by December 2014, have yet to be implemented.

“Unfortunately, nothing ever happened,” he said.

At the following council meeting councilors discussed the fine and the city’s options for dealing with the situation. No decision was made and the issue was tabled until August.

“We’re doing a little more investigation on it to determine whether they want to go ahead on the project or just pay the fine,” Wallis said.

The council will convene Thursday to discuss the fine and other issues.