Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., LLLP, violates permit with construction of 200,000 gallon ethanol tank without regulatory approval

Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., LLLP, constructed and installed a 200,000 gallon ethanol storage tank in November 2021 without required MPCA review and approval. The permit violations occurred at the company’s ethanol production facility near Benson, Minn.

The review and approval is required in its above ground storage tank permit to ensure that the tank design has adequate leak prevention, detection, and containment safeguards. The MPCA also discovered a second storage tank had inadequate containment, which is needed in the event of spills during transfers of aqueous ammonia from trucks.

In addition to paying an $11,150 civil penalty to the MPCA, the company submitted the necessary technical documentation for MPCA review and agreed not to use the new ethanol tank until approval was received. It also redesigned the aqueous ammonia transfer piping to provide the necessary spill containment.

Since 2011, the MPCA has issued four additional enforcement actions against Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co.

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.