MPCA to hold meeting on additional test results for proposed swine facility in Fillmore County

Bluff Country Newspaper Group

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will hold a public informational meeting Tuesday, Dec. 4, on additional investigations for the proposed Catalpa Ag swine facility in Fillmore County. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Mabel Community Center, 201 Main St. South. The agency will present the findings followed by time for questions. The MPCA will accept comments on those additional investigations through Dec. 11.

Based on comments received during the initial public notice for the proposal’s environmental review and draft feedlot permit, the MPCA requested an investigation of a potential sinkhole, because this karst feature requires protective measures to prevent contamination of groundwater.

It also requested an electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) survey to determine if significant karst features exist underground, which would impact conditions for the proposed feedlot.

The first investigation found no evidence of a sinkhole near the proposed project site. The ERI survey, by a consultant, found no karst hazards that would preclude construction at the site. However, two parties reviewing the ERI survey report — a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources geophysicist and a retired earth sciences professor — have submitted comments that differ with the consultant’s methods and interpretations.

The MPCA will present the findings of both investigations and the additional comments, at the Dec. 4 meeting.

Citizens may find the reports and related documents under “Catalpa” on the MPCA’s Environmental Assessment Worksheet webpage.

Interested parties may submit written comments on those documents to Charles Peterson, project manager for environmental review at the MPCA: charles.peterson@state.mn.us or Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194. Deadline is 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

Catalpa Ag proposes to build a new 4,890-head swine farrowing facility in Newburg Township, Fillmore County. It would include two barns, an animal mortality composting building, a storm water basin and a livestock watering well.

The proposed facility would generate an estimated 7.3 million gallons of liquid manure annually that would be stored in reinforced concrete pits below the barns, with a total capacity of nearly 8.9 million gallons. Catalpa would remove the manure in fall and inject it into cropland as fertilizer following an MPCA-approved manure management plan requiring at least 732 acres of cropland. More than 1,761 acres of cropland are available for land application among 24 sites in the county.

After deciding on additional investigation and needing more time to respond to 771 comment letters, the MPCA delayed a decision on an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal. The agency has until Dec. 31 to make that decision.