Bridge firm fined $17,500

Princeton’s newest bridges over the Rum River have won a handful of design awards for their aesthetic beauty.

But not all was rosy during the bridge construction.

The contractor that built the bridge has been accused of violations that resulted in contaminated storm water running off into the Rum River.

Lunda Construction Company has been penalized $17,500 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for the violations, which were discovered during site inspections between July and November 2010.

The bridges, near the intersection of State Highway 95 and County Highway 29, both cross a stretch of the Rum River that is protected by more stringent construction storm water requirements.

According to MPCA staff inspection reports, the construction sites lacked sufficient erosion controls, sediment control berms, silt fencing, infiltration basins and filtering buffer strips, which are especially important along the banks of a river, the MPCA said.

Because these practices were not properly in place, erosion occurred, and sediment-laden storm water was allowed to enter the Rum River during construction, the MPCA said.

In addition to paying a $17,500 penalty, the company also completed a series of corrective actions to bring the sites back into compliance with storm water rules and regulations.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities.