Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-214-3789
Willmar, Minn. -- A court order between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Valley Alfalfa Processors of Priam requires the company to resolve alleged violations of air quality regulations and pay a $70,000 civil penalty, plus $1,836 in interest accruing from eight quarterly payments.
In July 2006, the company installed and operated new equipment without an amendment to its 2004 air emissions permit. Immediately, the MPCA received complaints about dust coating nearby properties. The MPCA requested that operations cease until an amended permit for controlling air emissions had been granted; however, the company continued construction and testing.
In September 2007 the MPCA issued an administrative order requiring the company to cease activity related to the new equipment, which processes organic materials into pellets, until it had been evaluated and permitted. The MPCA again received complaints about dust in December 2007. The company submitted an air emissions permit amendment application in February 2008, and has repaired holes in the roof of the load-out building.
In addition to alleged permit and air emissions violations, the company failed to routinely keep all buildings and equipment free of dust, or conduct housekeeping activities in the load-out building. A required wind-monitoring device also was not properly maintained.
Corrective actions in the consent decree filed in Kandiyohi County District Court include: submit statement that it will not operate the unpermitted pellet equipment until a permit is received; agree to cease operations during certain windy conditions; submit a procedure for evaluating the need for permits for future changes; repair wind monitoring equipment; conduct site cleaning to prevent dust and particles from accumulating and blowing around; and submit a detailed house-keeping schedule.