MPCA seeks comments from public on proposed hog feedlot in Steele County

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

Mankato, Minn. — Hidden Creek Ag LLC is proposing to build a new hog production facility in Section 23 of Lemond Township, southwest of Owatonna in Steele County.  Two new total confinement barns will house a total of up to 4,000 finishing hogs.

As required by state rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposal. The EAW describes the ways in which the proposed project could affect the environment. It is used to help state agencies 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.

The public may submit written comments on the Hidden Creek Ag EAW until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, 2016.

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

An estimated 1.848 million gallons of liquid manure produced annually would be stored in reinforced concrete pits below the new barns. Manure ownership will be transferred, and following an MPCA-approved manure management plan, the operators will pump the manure in the fall and inject it into cropland for use as fertilizer. More than 1,600 acres of cropland are available for land application.

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA's Environmental Assessment Worksheet webpage. It is also available by calling Nancy Drach at 651-757-2317. Written comments may be sent via e-mail to nancy.drach@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. Mark Gernes of the MPCA will be accepting written comments on the NPDES permit either by email at mark.p.gernes@state.mn.us, at 507-206-2643, or mailed to him at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 18 Wood Lake Dr. SE, Rochester, MN 55904.