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Fergus Falls ethanol plant fined by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Green Plains Otter Tail violated its combined wastewater and stormwater permit numerous times, the MPCA said in a news release posted on its website on March 4, 2022.

Ethanol plant
The Otter Tail Ag Enterprises ethanol plant is shown under construction in Fergus Falls.
Forum file photo
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ST. PAUL — The ethanol plant at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, has been fined nearly $15,000 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Green Plains Otter Tail violated its combined wastewater and stormwater permit numerous times, the MPCA said in a news release posted on its website on March 4, 2022.

In an email statement to Agweek, Green Plains said "Green Plains is committed to protecting the environment and operating sustainably and with transparency. The primary violations at Green Plains Otter Tail in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, occurred between October 2018 and October 2020, and have been addressed. In the past year, Green Plains Otter Tail has taken numerous corrective steps, and has made significant investments in its water treatment system to prevent future permit deviations. No exceedances occurred in 2021, as a result of enhancements in staffing, training and internal corporate controls."

In addition to paying a $14,812 civil penalty to the MPCA, the agency says the plant has made these corrections:

  • Created a plan to ensure stormwater inspections occur weekly.
  • Provided photos showing that their by-product containment building has been repaired to to keep it separate from stormwater.
  • Created plans to immediately report spills or discharges.
  • Will ensure that chemical additives are used only at approved rates.

The MPCA said the violations included:

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  • Chlorine discharges nearly three times the permit limit.
  • Arsenic discharges nearly twice the permit limit.
  • Incomplete wastewater monitoring.

The Fergus Falls ethanol plant has been operating since 2008.

Related Topics: AGRIBUSINESSMINNESOTA
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