Gibbon Landowner to Pay Pollution Fine 02 May 12

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has come to an agreement with a Sibley County landowner following an investigation into illegal burning practices at an abandoned farm grove near Gibbon in Sibley County.

Under the agreement, the landowner, Reed Burgstahler, will be required to pay a $14,500 penalty in response to the burning of a house and other structures. Some of the materials in the burned area tested positive for asbestos, a material potentially harmful to humans.

In addition to the monetary penalty, Burgstahler will be required to clean up the site, dispose of the waste at a facility with appropriate permits, and submit a letter to the editor of The Land, a statewide farm publication, informing readers that it is illegal to burn old farm buildings and improperly dispose of the debris.

According to the MPCA, Burgstahler violated state law in October and November 2011 by burning a house and other structures containing materials such as painted wood, painted metal, vinyl siding and appliances.

The burning of the buildings violated several state laws that regulate waste disposal, open burning and demolition. Officials say the laws are designed to prevent contamination of land and water resources as well as protect air quality.