Media contact: Forrest Peterson, (320) 214-3789 Technical contact: Jim Sullivan, (651) 297-1788 Willmar, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the proposed expansion of the Granite Falls Energy ethanol plant. The EAW and revised air emissions and waste water permits are open for public review and comment through April 27, 2006. The EAW describes potential impacts on land use, water quality, and air quality. The expansion proposes to increase ethanol production capacity from 45 million gallons to 57.2 million gallons per year. It would add a fourth, 730,000-gallon-capacity fermentation vessel, a third hammer mill, and a second truck receiving bay. The expansion would increase the amount of corn processed from 17.3 millions bushels to 22 million bushels per year. The water demand of up to 250 million gallons per year will be met by wells, eliminating the original proposal for a pipeline to draw water from the Minnesota River. All process wastewater will be treated and recycled in the plant. No wastewater will be discharged to the city of Granite Falls. Water used for cooling and water softening will be treated and discharged to County Ditch 36, which empties into Hawk Creek. Improved air pollution equipment will provide lower estimates for some air emissions compared to the original plan. The draft air permit sets limits and requirements on emissions and operations in order to comply with rules and laws to protect air quality. It requires air pollution control equipment, testing, monitoring, and reporting. A thermal oxidizer, a state-of-the-art treatment system, would burn off at least 95 percent of odor-causing organic compounds from spent grain drying, distillation, and cooking. A dispersion modeling study that was used to predict pollutant concentrations in the air surrounding the plant indicates that emissions from the plant would be well under established limits for air pollutants. Comments on the draft air permit should be submitted to the MPCA in writing by 4:30 p.m. on April 27, 2006 to Jenny Reinertsen, MPCA, 525 South Lake Ave., Duluth, Minn. 55802, or by fax to (218) 723-4727. Comments on the draft waste water permit should be submitted to Deb Schumann, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194, or by fax to (651) 296-8717. Comments on the EAW should be submitted in writing by 4:30 p.m. on April 27, 2006 to Jim Sullivan, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, Minn., 55155-4194, or by fax to (651) 297-2343. The MPCA will use the EAW comments to evaluate the potential for significant environmental effects from the project, and to decide if an Environmental Impact Statement (a more comprehensive environmental review) is needed. Copies of the Granite Falls Community Ethanol Plant draft air permit and the EAW are available for review at:
· The MPCA's St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Rd. N.
· The MPCA's Web site at/
· MPCA Willmar office, 1601 E. Hwy. 12, Suite 1
· Granite Falls Public Library, 155 7th Ave.
· Montevideo-Chippewa County Library, 629 N. 11th St.
Copies of the draft air and waste water permits and EAW may also be requested directly from the MPCA by calling Jennie Olson, (651) 297-8611. Questions about the project should be directed to Jim Sullivan at (651) 297-1788, or (800) 657-3864 (toll free/TTY).