Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972
Willmar, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Fibrominn of Benson reached an agreement recently resolving the company's past failure to comply with state air-quality rules and permit conditions. Air emission violations occurring since 2007 resulted in a $65,000 penalty, and corrective actions including the installation of a new sulfur dioxide monitor at a minimum cost of $80,000.
Fibrominn began operation in May 2007 burning primarily turkey litter to generate electricity. Since the start of operations, the facility has experienced numerous violations of its permit. The settlement addresses violations of late report submittals, failed performance test, and excess nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions. The company also failed to self-report deviations that occurred during operation of the facility's poultry litter-fired boiler.
Fibrominn has since conducted the performance test and submitted a testing frequency plan, a continuous opacity monitor/continuous emissions monitor downtime elimination report, a pressure drop limit, a relative accuracy test audit test plan, a hydrochloric acid correlation curve and a permit compliance checklist.
Minnesota law requires owners and operators of facilities with the potential to release air pollutants to have MPCA permits. Facilities must also carefully monitor and maintain equipment because emissions exceeding state standards can degrade air quality. The MPCA offers outreach and training to help facilities meet their permit requirements. For more information on air quality permits and emission standards, call Jennifer Lovett, MPCA air quality inspector, at 651-757-2538 or 1-800-657-3864.
A stipulation agreement such as this is one of the tools used to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first-time or repeat violation and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner. For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, go to the agency's Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html.