Thomas Braun Outlines New Minnesota Law That Expands Discharge Notification Obligations for Publicly Owned Treatment Works


In a new article for Central States Water, environmental partner Thomas Braun looks at legislation newly enacted in Minnesota that expands the notification requirements after a spill, whether accidental or otherwise, for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and public or private owners of domestic sewer systems.

The notification requirements in HF 2310 expand on those in Minnesota Statute Section 115.061, which requires that people notify the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) immediately upon release into the environment of more than five gallons of petroleum or any amount of another substance under their control that could cause pollution of waters of the state.

HF 2310 requires POTWs and public or private owners of domestic sewer systems, after notifying MPCA of a discharge, to:

  • Promptly provide notice to members of the public and to any downstream drinking water facility that may be impacted by the discharge.
  • Post signage at all impacted public use areas within the same jurisdiction or provide notification to the entity that has jurisdiction over any impacted public use areas.

Braun cautions that clarity regarding the extent of the impacts of the new requirements on POTWs and public and private owners of domestic sewer systems will depend on MPCA and the courts’ interpretations of them.

“Past court proceedings do indicate times whereby the Minnesota courts have applied Minnesota Statute Section 115.061 broadly, and violations of the statute can result in costly penalties and have far reaching consequences…” Braun said. “As a result, POTWs may wish to consult legal counsel regarding how best to proceed given the new notification requirements.”

Read the full article here.

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