MPCA releases draft environmental review for Swift County dairy

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

Riverview Farms plans to build a large dairy about six miles southwest of Benson in Section 6 of Swenoda Township, Swift County.

As required by state rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) on the proposal. The public may submit written comments on the Swenoda Dairy EAW until 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2017.

Up to 9,500 Jersey milk cows will be housed in a cross-ventilated, free-stall barn with the manure and waste water collected and stored in earthen basins with impermeable covers. Construction would begin in the spring of 2018, and milking in late fall of 2018.

The liquid manure will be removed in the fall and injected into cropland as fertilizer following an MPCA-approved manure management plan. The facility needs a total of about 6,300 acres of cropland for application of the nearly 84 million gallons of manure annually. More than 7,300 acres of cropland are available.

State agencies use the EAW to help decide whether a more complete Environmental Impact Statement is needed. 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.

A National Pollutant Disposal Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for construction and operation of the dairy farm is scheduled to be on public notice concurrently.

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA's EAW webpage. It’s also available by calling Patrice Jensen at 651-757-2465. Written comments may be sent via email to patrice.jensen@state.mn.us, or mailed to her at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

A public notice for the general permit will be posted on the MPCA's Public Notice webpage. George Schwint of the MPCA Willmar office will be accepting written comments on the NPDES permit either by email at george.schwint@state.mn.us, at 320-894-5866, or mailed to him at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 1601 E. Hwy. 12, Willmar, MN 56201.