According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Agri-Energy, LLC, exceeded air pollutant emissions and failed to keep required equipment testing and maintenance records. The violations occurred at the company’s ethanol production facility in Luverne, Minn.
The bulk of the violations stem from failed emission stack tests in July 2019, including:
- Cooling cyclone exceeded very small particulate matter (PM2.5) by more than twice the permitted limit.
- Thermal oxidizer exceeded sulfur dioxide by seven times the permitted limit.
- Cracked corn dust collector exceeded small (PM10) and very small (PM2.5) particulate matter by more than four times the permitted limit.
- Dry FRAC dust collector exceeded small (PM10) and very small (PM2.5) particulate matter by more than 1 ½ times the permitted limit.
In addition to paying a $34,000 civil penalty to the MPCA, Agri-Energy has completed a series of corrective actions, including:
- Completed performance emission stack retests for PM10, and PM2.5, on their cracked corn dust collector and dry FRAC dust collector.
- Submitted a complete major amendment application to increase PM2.5 limits on their cooling cyclone, and sulfur dioxide limits on their thermal oxidizer.
- Submitted an updated operation and maintenance plan that includes the proper recording of daily visual emissions, weekly roadway, and periodic inspection records.
MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.