Rochester, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites comments on an Environmental Assessment Worksheet prepared for Scott Sanness’ proposed swine feedlot expansion in Houston County in the southeast corner of Minnesota. Comments must be in writing and received by 4:30 p.m. on July 11, 2012.
Scott Sanness proposes to convert his existing nursery buildings to swine finishing buildings in Wilmington Township in southern Houston County. This conversion would almost double the number of animal units from 790 to 1,500. After expansion, the feedlot’s maximum capacity would be 1,200 nursery hogs and 4,800 finishing hogs.
In addition, he plans to build a below-ground, concrete liquid manure storage area measuring 61 by 164 feet, and 8 feet deep. This storage basin would hold manure generated on-site. After expansion, the feedlot would generate 2.08 million gallons of liquid manure a year. The feedlot would have a total manure storage capacity of 1.7 million gallons.
The Environmental Assessment Worksheet estimates that the amount of manure generated would require 437 acres of cropland for application. Sanness plans to remove manure from the storage basin twice a year and apply it to cropland in Houston and Alamakee (Iowa) counties.
The feedlot and manure applications areas are zoned for agriculture, though 16 homes are located within one mile of the feedlot and more than 16 homes are in the immediate vicinity of the manure application areas, including several homes in the town of Eitzen. The manure application areas are near several historical sites, most within Eitzen. County law requires a certain distance between these sites and the application areas.
The feedlot and manure application areas are also within one mile of significant natural areas of bluff prairies, rock outcrops and mature oak tree stands. The Environmental Assessment Worksheet recommends carefully determining the rates and timing of manure applications to prevent any runoff of pollutants to these ecologically important areas. The facility is located within 1,000 feet of a possible sinkhole.
Based on a computer modeling study, the proposer expects the new facility to comply with state air quality standards, with odors considered between faint and moderate.
The Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) provides basic information about how a proposed project could affect the environment and helps determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement, a more comprehensive environmental review, is needed. Interested parties may comment on the EAW during the public notice period from June 11 to July 11, 2012.
To receive a copy of the Sanness EAW or to comment on it, contact Charles Peterson, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul MN 55155. Peterson can also be reached by phone at 651-757-2856 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The EAW is also available on the MPCA web site at /oxpg691
In addition to the environmental worksheet, this project requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System Permit. This permit will also be available for comment June 12, to July 12, 2012. Comments on the permit, which must be in writing, should go to Steven Schmidt, MPCA, 18 Wood Lake Drive South East, Rochester, MN 55904. Schmidt can also be reached by phone at 507-206-2618 or email at email@example.com.
The proposed expansion also requires a water appropriation permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, as the feedlot will use 5.56 million gallons of water a year.