MPCA reviews 12,000-head dairy feedlot proposed in Traverse County

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its draft permit and an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for Riverview LLP’s Twelvemile Dairy, a proposed 12,000-head jersey dairy feedlot southeast of Wheaton in Traverse County.

The cows will be housed in a cross-ventilated total confinement barn. The project will include a number of manure storage facilities, including five large clay-lined basins (four with impermeable covers, one with straw cover) with a total capacity of 143 million gallons.

Liquid manure will be transferred to area farmers for land application in the fall after harvest. It will be spread on up to 8,300 acres in Leonardsville, Croke, Tara, and Dollymount townships.

Riverview has applied to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a water appropriation permit to pump up to 153 million gallons per year to support its operations. The DNR will determine if the water can be used without affecting other wells and surface waters in the area, or creating other potential effects. A well not subject to the permit is planned to provide domestic water for a house and apartments.

Since the project will have more than one acre of new impervious surfaces, Riverview will construct four permanent stormwater basins to collect runoff from the hard surfaces. Water from the basins will flow to Twelvemile Creek after treatment

The MPCA estimates that the proposed dairy would produce approximately 64,967 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The estimate includes emissions from animal digestion (methane), manure storage (methane and nitrous oxide), and manure land application (nitrous oxide) which are converted to tons of carbon dioxide, for ease of reporting and comparing. Riverview may offset some of the emissions by planting more alfalfa and other cover crops, which sequester greenhouse gases.

As required by state rules, the MPCA prepared an EAW on the proposal, which describes the project’s potential effects on nearby land uses, bodies of water, groundwater, and wildlife and habitat. It also details air and vehicle emissions, dust, traffic, noise, and odors that the project might produce. State agencies use the EAW to help decide whether a more thorough environmental impact statement is needed.

The MPCA is asking the public to comment on the EAW’s accuracy and completeness, potential impacts from the project that warrant further investigation, and the need for an environmental impact statement.

The Twelvemile environmental assessment worksheet and draft permit are available on the MPCA web site. Mail or email comments by 4:30 pm. on Thursday, July 8, 2021. For copies of the documents or to provide written comments:

  • Environmental assessment worksheet — Jenna Ness (651-757-2276) MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194
  • Feedlot permit — Molly Costin (218-846-8114) MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Ste. 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501