Open for comment: Environmental worksheet for biodiesel production in Glenville

Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608

Rochester, Minn. — REG Albert Lea, owner of the biodiesel plant in Glenville in southern Minnesota, is planning to expand its production from 31.5 to 38 million gallons per year. an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) on the project is open for comment through Sept. 16.

State agencies use an EAW to decide whether a more complete Environmental Impact Statement is needed. The worksheet covers site location details, nearby resources, and other elements, including wells, soil types, water use, air emissions and traffic.

The Glenville plant is a minor source of air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, and of methanol, a hazardous air pollutant. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issues a permit to the facility that sets limits on air emissions to protect air quality. The plant uses equipment and processes to reduce pollutants in its air emissions.

REG Albert Lea processes soybean oil, inedible corn oil and low-quality feedstock, such as used cooking oil, into biodiesel used as vehicle fuel. The proposed increase in production triggered the environmental review. No changes would occur in the physical plant as current equipment can produce the increase in biodiesel. The plant is located in a rural industrial area and the MPCA expects no adverse impact to the environment from the expansion.

The plant has a permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to pump 50 million gallons a year of groundwater for its production. No increase in groundwater use is expected for the increase in production. The plant sends its wastewater to the Albert Lea municipal plant for treatment. Stormwater runoff from the facility goes to a drain tile line or to ponds where soil and other pollutants can settle out. The MPCA also issues permits to the plant for its above- and below-ground storage tanks. The permits require methods to contain any spills from the tanks.

The full environmental assessment workshop is available on the MPCA's Public Notice webpage. Comments, which must be in writing, are due by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 to Charles Peterson, (651-757-2856), MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155 or charles.peterson@state.mn.us.