Hog facility planned in Traverse County; environmental review underway

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

Valley Pork LLP has proposed building a new hog feedlot about five miles south of Tintah in Traverse County. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting comments on an environmental review of the project through Dec. 13, 2017.

The project will include one total confinement barn for up to 8,700 hogs with a 10-foot deep concrete liquid manure storage area, an animal composting building, an office, a workshop, three permanent stormwater ponds, three water wells and employee housing. Valley Pork currently operates a hog feedlot about eight miles to the west of the proposed new facility that is roughly the same size as the one being proposed. That facility has been in operation several years.

Valley Pork plans to land-apply manure generated at the facility at nine sites within five miles of the project. Eight of the application sites are located in the Bois de Sioux River Watershed and one is in the Mustinka River Watershed. Manure applications would take place in the spring and fall with an expected frequency rate of about once every two to four years per site. The application periods typically last 14-20 days. The manure would be used instead of commercial fertilizer and will be injected into cropland according to its MPCA-approved manure management plan.

Two homes are located within a half mile of the project site. There are no waterways within one mile of the site. There is a public water supply well, a Drinking Water Supply Management Area, and a wellhead protection zone located in Tintah, which is within two miles of two of the proposed manure application sites. Air emission modeling indicates the site will not exceed standards for hydrogen sulfide or ammonia.

State agencies use an Environmental Assessment Worksheet to help decide whether a project requires a more extensive Environmental Impact Statement. The EAW covers site location details, nearby resources and other elements, including wells, soil types, water use, manure management, air and odor emissions, and traffic.

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA's Environmental Assessment Worksheet webpage. It is also available by calling Beth Tegdesch at 651-757-2100. Written comments may be sent to Steve Sommer by email at steve.sommer@state.mn.us, or by mail to Steve Sommer, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194. General information about EAWs is also available on the MPCA environmental review webpage.

Valley Pork has also applied for coverage under the State of Minnesota General Animal Feedlot National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit (Feedlot Permit), meaning the facility agrees to meet certain conditions designed to protect the environment. This permit is also open for public comment through Dec. 13. For more information, go to the MPCA public notice webpage and scroll down to the notice for Valley Pork. Scott Schroeder of the MPCA is accepting written comments on the NPDES permit coverage by email at scott.t.schroeder@state.mn.us or by mail to the Scott Schroeder, MPCA, 714 Lake Ave. Ste. 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.

This project will also require a conditional use permit from Traverse County.