Salty snack maker Barrel O' Fun has been hit with a $350,000 bill for causing a foul wastewater stench that made nearby residents ill.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued a $45,000 fine to the company, which produces snacks including tortilla chips, popcorn and pretzels. But the Star Tribune reports the total cost to the firm, which includes added surcharges from a previous agreement, is actually about $350,000.
The fine comes after residents of Perham, Minnesota, said that the smells from the local wastewater treatment ponds were so strong, they couldn't open their windows or leave their clothes outside, the MPCA notes.
A release from the MPCA said that Barrel O' Fun Snack Foods was one of four companies told in 2009 to improve their wastewater processes prior to sending it to the local treatment ponds, with the others Kenny's Candy, Tuffy's Pet Foods and Perham Egg.
But after further inspections of Barrel O' Fun, MPCA officials found corn pieces in its wastewater that had the potential to obstruct flow to the treatment facilities. At one point, a three-foot high mount of corn had to be removed from pipes.
It also found the company, part of the KLN Family Foods group, continued to have high levels of solids and organic material in its wastewater, exceeding city limits.
The MPCA has previously taken action against the City of Perham for failing to enforce wastewater discharge agreements with local industry.
In November last year, the city was served with a $70,000 fine by the MPCA, according to the agency's website.