MCPA fines 2 ethanol plants for air and water pollution violations

October 3, 2021 |

In Minnesota, after a four-year investigation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found Al-Corn Clean Fuel LLC had uncontrolled emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide emissions in 2018-19, and found that Denco II LLC consistently exceeded pollutant limits in its industrial wastewater and stormwater discharges at its ethanol production facility in Morris.

The uncontrolled emissions exceeded Al-Corn’s permit limits by 35-75%. In addition, the MPCA enforcement investigation found the company:

  • Exceeded permitted limits on single and total hazardous air pollutants.
  • Failed to submit accurate records and emission readings required by its permit. Readings on several pieces of control equipment were out of permitted ranges.
  • Failed to apply for permit amendments prior to installing new equipment.

The company paid a $199,000 civil penalty to the MPCA and was required to submit plans to ensure testing and reporting deadlines are met, emissions testing does not exceed permitted limits, and staff are properly trained to meet permit requirements.

A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation uncovered Denco II LLC’s violations between January 2018 and April 2021 that included:

Exceeding permitted pollutant in industrial wastewater and stormwater discharges. The company eliminated its wastewater discharge in 2019, but its stormwater discharge continued to exceed pollutant limits.

  • Failing to prevent corn byproduct from getting into stormwater discharge.
  • Failing to take action that could prevent excess pollutants in its stormwater discharges.
  • Failing to record additives used in its wastewater streams that must be approved for use and used only in authorized amounts.

The company paid an $18,634 civil penalty to the MPCA and was required to develop and implement plans to minimize risks of future similar violations, and investigate and mitigate causes of unauthorized discharges.

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Category: Fuels

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