Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and CHS Inc. have reached an agreement that resolves alleged violations of air quality rules at Eastern Farmers Cooperative grain elevator in Jasper, Minn. The company was given a $45,000 civil penalty and is required to complete a number of corrective actions.
In June 2008 and December 2009, the MPCA received complaints from the community about dust and particles. The facility has had a history of complaints about dust emissions, and was designed without a dust collection system. In August 2008, the MPCA issued a Notice of Violation for dust and particulates leaving the elevator property and causing a nuisance.
In September 2008, the company submitted a list of measures to reduce particulates, and an analysis of the need for an air quality permit. The analysis showed emissions were above the threshold for particulate matter. As of Jan. 29, 2010 an acceptable system had not been developed.
Air quality violations included: allowing preventable dust to become airborne and creating a public nuisance that affected the comfort and health of residents; failure to notify about construction and startup; failure to identify that the facility was subject to standards for grain elevators; operation of a facility without a permit; and failure to submit emissions inventories.
According to the agreement, the company must submit a plan to permanently eliminate dust, apply for an air emissions permit, submit air emissions inventory reports and correct the other violations at the facility.
A stipulation agreement 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 Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us, and select Regulations, then Enforcement.