Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608
Mankato, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is inviting the public to comment on an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) prepared for a proposed 3,000-cow dairy northwest of St. Peter in south-central Minnesota. Comments must be in writing and accepted by 4:30 p.m. on July 25. The MPCA is the state agency responsible for regulating feedlots in Minnesota.
High Island Dairy LLC, owned by Davis Family Dairies LLC, proposes to build a total confinement barn in Lake Prairie Township of Nicollet County to house 3,000 dairy cows. The barn would be located off 348th Street in the township, about two-thirds of a mile southwest of County Road 8.
The dairy would use a process called “anaerobic digestion” to break down its manure and wastewater along with wastewater and sludge from the Le Sueur Cheese Co. This process would also create methane gas to use as energy at the site. After digestion, the manure solids would be separated from the waste stream and used as bedding for the cows. The liquid manure, along with solids not needed for bedding, would be stored in a covered earthen basin on site until it is applied as fertilizer to cropland every year after harvest.
The dairy would generate 32.85 million gallons of manure a year. The on-site basin would have 15 months of storage capacity for manure and wastewater produced at the proposed facility as well as for the waste from the cheese factory.
The EAW estimates that this amount of manure would require 2,294 acres of cropland for application. High Island Dairy has almost 5,000 acres of cropland under agreement for manure application, much of this acreage within 3.5 miles of the proposed facility.
The dairy and manure applications areas are zoned for agriculture, although 13 homes are located within one mile of the proposed facility.
Based on a computer modeling study, High Island Dairy expects the new facility to comply with state air quality standards, with odors considered between faint and moderate.
Some tile drainage and treated stormwater from the site would discharge to Judicial 13 and then to the Rush River.
The EAW provides basic information about how the proposed project could affect the environment and helps determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement, a more comprehensive environmental review, is needed.
Copies of the High Island Dairy worksheet are available at MPCA St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road N.; MPCA Mankato office, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2165; and the MPCA Environmental Assessment Worksheets and Environmental Impact Statements webpage.
Interested persons may comment on the High Island Dairy EAW during the public notice period from June 25 to July 25. Send questions and comments to Charles Peterson, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., Saint Paul MN 55155. Peterson can also be reached at 651-757-2856 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the environmental worksheet, this project requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System Permit. This permit establishes specific limits and requirements to protect Minnesota's surface and ground water quality for a variety of uses, including drinking water, fishing and recreation. This permit will be available for comment June 25 to July 25. Comments on the permit, which must be in writing, should go to George Schwint at 320-441-6971 or George.email@example.com.
The proposed dairy requires a water appropriation permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as it would use 45 million gallons of water a year. It also requires a conditional use permit from Nicollet County.