American Crystal Sugar to pay $185,000 Minnesota fine over odors, emissions
American Crystal Sugar will pay a $185,000 civil penalty and "implement management strategies" to prevent violations of Minnesota's hydrogen sulfide ambient air standards at its East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead beet-processing factories, ...
American Crystal Sugar will pay a $185,000 civil penalty and "implement management strategies" to prevent violations of Minnesota's hydrogen sulfide ambient air standards at its East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead beet-processing factories, the state Pollution Control Agency announced today.
Hydrogen sulfide is an odorous gas, a byproduct of organic decomposition. In certain concentrations, it can be hazardous to human health, the MPCA says. In American Crystal's case, the gas came from decomposing sugar beets and sugar beet processing waste, the agency says.
The stipulation agreement with the MPCA also covers alleged violations of fine particle emission standards at the Moorhead and East Grand Forks locations, the agency said in a release.
The agency says the Crystal Sugar agreement deals with alleged hydrogen sulfide violations at all three locations during 2005, 2006 and 2007.
American Crystal Sugar's air emission permits also regulate how much particulate matter and fine particulate matter - particles less than 10 microns in diameter, or PM10 - that can be emitted from various combustion sources, such as heaters and dryers.
The MPCA release said stack testing on a pellet cooler at the East Grand Forks factory in October 2007 showed a PM10 emission rate of 0.36 pound per hour above the permitted limit of 0.25 lb/hr.
"Stack testing in November 2007 on a kiln at the Moorhead factory recorded a PM emission rate of 12.0 lb/hr and a PM10 emission rate of 8.7 lb/hr, above the 5.0 lb/hr limit for both types of emissions," the release said. "Later stack tests at both sites showed particulate emissions within permitted limits."
According to the MPCA, fine particle pollution has been linked to a range of negative health impacts on people with respiratory and cardiac conditions.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA states in the release, it "takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, refer to the agency's Web site at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/newsceter/enforcement.html .
Minnesota law requires owners and operators of facilities with the potential to release air pollutants to have MPCA permits. They must also carefully monitor and maintain equipment because emissions exceeding state standards can degrade air quality. The MPCA offers outreach and training to help facilities meet their permit requirements.
For more information on air quality permits and emission standards, visit the agency's Web site at http://www.pca.state.mn.us .