Marshfield Utilities Reaches Agreement with DOJ

Utility will Pay Fine of $5000 for Violation of DNR Regulations

Submitted by Marshfield Utilities

Marshfield Utilities (MU) has reached an agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) 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 KW emergency generator for auxiliary power which was later changed to a cheaper, more efficient generator during the design stage. The original permit was inadvertently 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 DNR staff expressed its preference, MU promptly 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.”

Marshfield Utilities plans to involve additional staff in future permitting actions. MU has also performed an independent environmental audit, which is in addition to the 2 inspections performed by WDNR since March 2013. Neither the audit nor the DNR inspections identified any regulatory compliance concerns.