Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion - Minnesota Pollution

Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion - Minnesota Pollution

STATE OF MINNESOTA MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY IN THE MATTER OF THE DECISION ON THE NEED FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR THE PROPOS...

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STATE OF MINNESOTA MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY

IN THE MATTER OF THE DECISION ON THE NEED FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR THE PROPOSED BIG STONE HUTTERITE BRETHREN FEEDLOT EXPANSION BIG STONE COUNTY GRACEVILLE, MINNESOTA

FINDINGS OF FACT CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

FINDINGS OF FACT Pursuant to Minn. R. 4410.1000 - 4410.1600 (2006), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff has prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the proposed Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion project (Project). Based on the MPCA staff environmental review, comments, and information received during the comment period, and other information in the record of the MPCA, the MPCA hereby makes the following Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order. FACILITY HISTORY Overview Big Stone Hutterite Brethren (Proposer) is proposing an expansion to their existing facility. The proposed expansion will include three 600-foot long by 68-foot wide turkey barns, one 132- foot long by 60-foot wide starter turkey barn expansion, one 573-foot long by 154-foot wide by 3-foot deep hog barn, two additions to an existing 58-foot by 462-foot hog barn (1 – 73-foot by 41-foot addition, 1 – 74-foot by 46foot addition), and one 32-foot long by 32-foot wide by 16-deep sump pit. The Project Proposer will be abandoning an existing 54-foot by 490-foot hog barn. Manure from the hog buildings will be pumped to an existing two-cell anaerobic lagoon. The 160-foot long by 240-foot wide turkey manure compost bunker and 100-foot by 20-foot mortality compost bunker were constructed in the fall of 2007, and were designed and constructed to meet the needs of the proposed expansion. When completed, there will be 21,200 starter turkeys (less than five pounds), 48,755 finisher turkeys, 1,010 sows, 2,908 nursery pigs, 4,835 finisher pigs, 500 layer chickens, and 2,000 broiler chickens at the facility, for a total of 2,995.99 animal units. Permitting History The MPCA issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System (NPDES/SDS) permit for the initial livestock operation on February 7, 2002. The NPDES/SDS Permit was reissued on October 18, 2007. The facility currently holds a valid NPDES/SDS Permit for the existing livestock operation. Previous Environmental Review Environmental review was not conducted for the previously permitted facility as it was not required under Minn. R. 4410.4300, subp. 29A.

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Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

Compliance/Enforcement History The Project has been the subject of several MPCA enforcement actions over the past decade. The most recent MPCA enforcement activity pertains to several violations, including the construction of a manure composting pad prior to the issuance of an NPDES/SDS Permit or completing an EAW, and a variety of solid waste violations. The MPCA issued an Administrative Penalty Order (APO) on April 25, 2005. The Proposer fulfilled the requirements of the APO on May 9, 2008. The MPCA issued a case closure letter to the Proposer on May 12, 2008. The Proposer is currently in compliance with applicable environmental regulations. PROPOSED PROJECT DESCRIPTION Proposed New Construction/Proposed Modification The Proposer plans to expand the existing facility. The site currently has three hog barns (east side of road), seven turkey barns (four on the east side of the road and three on the west side of the road), one chicken barn (west side of road), an anaerobic lagoon (east side of road), a compost and mortality bunker (east side of road), and several other buildings and bins. The three turkey barns on the west side of the county road will be abandoned. Construction on the hog barn will begin in spring 2009. When all of the hog barns have been completed, the hog capacity will be 1,010 sows, 2,908 nursery pigs and 4,835 finisher pigs. The Proposer plans to begin dirt work in the spring of 2008, assuming all applicable permits have been obtained. Dirt work will include hauling in base gravel for the barns and driveways. The three proposed turkey barns and expansion of the existing starter turkey barn will begin in early summer 2008. Operation of these barns will begin in the fall of 2008. When all the turkey barns are completed, the turkey capacity will be 21,200 starter turkeys (less than five pounds) and 48,755 finisher turkeys (over five pounds). The seven turkey barns currently house 9,500 starter turkeys and 32,000 finisher turkeys. The existing barns are 400 feet by 80 feet, 400 feet by 76 feet, 432 feet by 70 feet, 260 feet by 60 feet, 2 – 350 feet by 60 feet, and 213 feet by 50 feet. The 2 – 350-foot by 60-foot and 213-foot by 50-foot barns will be abandoned. Manure from the existing turkey barns are stockpiled in the recently completed manure composting bunker. The compost and animal mortality facility was constructed in the fall of 2007 to provide immediate storage for existing turkey litter, chicken litter and all dead animal storage. This facility was designed and constructed to meet the needs of the proposed expansion. Environmental Concerns The proposed Project exceeds the EAW threshold of 1,000 animal units; hence, a mandatory EAW was required in accordance with Minn. R. 4410.4300, subp. 29. Environmental concerns related to feedlot facilities generally include these: • • • •

Air quality – hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and odors Surface-water impacts Ground-water impacts Water supply

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Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

Additional Concerns Described in Comment Letters The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has noted concerns related to the nature of the perimeter tile that will be installed around the circumference of the concrete manure storage system and the potential impacts to the nearby wetland as it relates to the facility’s stormwater runoff. Community Involvement in Process The EAW was placed on notice for 30 days, in which interested parties were provided the opportunity to review and comment on the environmental assessment of the proposed Project. PROCEDURAL HISTORY 1.

Pursuant to Minn. R. 4410.4300, subp. 29A, an EAW was prepared by MPCA staff on the proposed Project. Pursuant to Minn. R. 4410.1500 (2006), the EAW was distributed to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) mailing list and other interested parties on March 10, 2008.

2.

The MPCA notified the public of the availability of the EAW for public comment. A news release was provided to Big Stone, Stevens, Traverse, Swift and Lac qui Parle counties, and other interested parties, on March 10, 2008. In addition, the EAW was published in the EQB Monitor on March 10, 2008, and available for review on the MPCA Web site at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/news/eaw/index.html on March 7, 2008.

3.

The public comment period for the EAW began on March 10, 2008, and ended on April 9, 2008. During the 30-day comment period, the MPCA received two comment letters from government agencies and received no comment letters from citizens.

4.

The MPCA prepared responses to all comments received during the 30-day public comment period. Comment letters received and the MPCA responses to comments received have been hereby incorporated by reference as Appendix A to these findings. CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

5.

Under Minn. R. 4410.1700 (2006), the MPCA must order an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for projects that have the potential for significant environmental effects that are reasonably expected to occur. In deciding whether a project has the potential for significant environmental effects, the MPCA must compare the impacts that may be reasonably expected to occur from the project with the criteria set forth in Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7 (2006). These criteria are: A.

the type, extent, and reversibility of environmental effects;

B.

potential cumulative effects of related or anticipated future projects;

C.

the extent to which the environmental effects are subject to mitigation by ongoing public regulatory authority; and

D.

the extent to which environmental effects can be anticipated and controlled as a result of other available environmental studies undertaken by public agencies or the project proposer, including other EISs.

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Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

THE MPCA FINDINGS WITH RESPECT TO EACH OF THESE CRITERIA ARE SET FORTH BELOW Type, Extent, and Reversibility of Environmental Effects 6.

The first criterion that the MPCA must consider when determining if a project has the potential for significant environmental effects that are reasonably expected to occur, is the "type, extent, and reversibility of environmental effects" Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7.A (2006). The MPCA findings with respect to each of these factors are set forth below.

7.

Reasonably expected environmental effects of this Project to air quality: A. B. C.

8.

Hydrogen sulfide emissions Ammonia emissions Odors

The extent of any potential air quality effects that are reasonably expected to occur: Air quality modeling estimated the atmospheric concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and selected odorous gases at the property lines for the proposed Project and at seven of the proposed feedlot’s nearest neighbors. A complete report of the air quality modeling findings is found in Exhibit 6. The table, below, is provided as a summary of the air quality modeling findings. Project Modeling Results Property Boundary

North Northeast East South Near South West

Odor impact assessment based on odor units. A value of 72 odor units is considered to be a faint odor detectable by most people.

703

Chronic inhalation health risk value for ammonia. One year average of 80µg/m3. 5.72 µg/m3 background 16.10

920 407 581 920 1,288

47.41 13.52 18.02 41.67 53.33

11.17 15.18 13.25 14.19 22.30

State ambient hydrogen sulfide air quality standard. (30 ppb half-hour average) 17 ppb background

Acute inhalation health risk value for ammonia. One hour average of 3,200 µg/m3 148 µg/m3 background

26.24 27.53 22.80 22.15 30.93 26.44

ppb = parts per billion µg/m3 = micrograms per cubic meter

4

22.19

Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

9.

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

A.

Hydrogen Sulfide Emissions The modeling results indicated that the proposed Project will not exceed the existing ambient air quality standard for hydrogen sulfide. The modeling results indicated that the proposed Project’s maximum contribution to the ambient hydrogen sulfide concentration is 13.93 ppb on a volume basis at the site’s effective property lines. When the background hydrogen sulfide concentration of 17 ppb is added to the modeling results, the maximum property-line hydrogen sulfide concentration is 30.93 ppb. A frequency analysis was conducted to determine the number of times the ambient concentration exceeded 30 ppb at the property boundary in order to evaluate whether the proposed Project would exceed the state ambient hydrogen sulfide air quality standards. Based on the results of the frequency analysis, the proposed Project would remain in compliance with the applicable air quality standards. Ultimately, the modeling results indicate that no significant adverse effects are expected from the proposed Project’s hydrogen sulfide emissions.

B.

Ammonia Emissions The modeling results indicate that the proposed Project will not exceed the acute inhalation Health Risk Value (iHRV) for ammonia and will not exceed the chronic iHRV for ammonia. The air quality modeling results indicate that the proposed Project’s maximum contribution to the ambient ammonia concentration at the site’s effective property lines is 1,140 ug/m3. When the local background ammonia concentration of 148 ug/m3 is added to the modeling results, the maximum property line ammonia concentration is 1,288 ug/m3, which is below the acute iHRV for ammonia of 3,200 ug/m3. The predicted maximum one-year time averaged ammonia concentration for the site’s nearest neighbors is 53.33 ug/m3, which includes a background annual concentration of 5.72 ug/m3. This combined concentration is below the chronic ammonia iHRV of 80 ug/m3. The modeling results indicate that no significant adverse effects are expected from the proposed Project’s ammonia emissions.

C.

Odors Odor was modeled using data collected by the University of Minnesota. The model results indicate that more than 99 percent of the time, the Project neighbors will be exposed to odor intensities below 72 odor units. In light of the modeling results, no significant adverse effects are expected from the proposed dairy’s emission of odorous gases.

The reversibility of any potential air quality effects that are reasonably expected to occur: The MPCA finds that any potential effect that is reasonably likely to occur from this Project would be reversible. Once emissions are released to the air, they cannot be recovered, but the release can be stopped. If air quality were to be impacted, there are measures that can be implemented to minimize impacts. For example, the MPCA could initiate a complaint investigation and require the Proposer to make operational and maintenance changes. As discussed above, the expected effects on air quality are minimal. There is no reason to believe that this Project is reasonably expected to cause a significant negative effect on air quality.

10.

Comments received that expressed concerns regarding potential effects to air quality. As discussed above in Findings 7 and 8, the analysis indicates that the effects on air quality that are reasonably expected to occur are not significant.

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Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

11.

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

The MPCA finds that the environmental review is adequate to address the concerns because: All potential impacts to air quality that are reasonably expected to occur from the proposed Project have been considered during the review process and methods to prevent these impacts have been developed.

12.

The MPCA finds that the Project, as it is proposed, does not have the potential for significant environmental effects based on the type, extent, and reversibility of environmental effects reasonably expected to occur as a result of its air emissions.

13.

Reasonably expected environmental effects of this Project to water quality: • • •

14.

Ground water Surface water Water appropriation

The extent of any potential water quality effects that are reasonably expected to occur: Ground Water The feedlot itself is not anticipated to result in any significant adverse ground-water impacts. The plans and specifications for the concrete manure storage pits have been designed to meet the required provisions of Minn. R. ch. 7020. The MPCA design standards include provisions to prevent catastrophic releases and leaking. The NPDES/SDS Permit that will be issued will require the manure storage to be built in accordance to the plans and specifications submitted, and inspections must be conducted to ensure proper construction. Construction notification, verification, and certification requirements are listed in the NPDES/SDS Permit, Parts II.A. and II.E. No significant adverse effects to ground water are expected from the feedlot itself. The details of the manure application methods to be implemented as part of this Project are outlined in the Manure Management Plan. In order to avoid contaminating the ground water at the manure application sites, the manure will be incorporated into the soil at agronomic rates. These rates take into account the levels of nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorous) that will be utilized by the crops planted on the manure application sites, thereby minimizing the potential for nutrients leaching into the ground water. In addition, the MPCA setback requirements will be observed around the drain tile intakes, water supply wells located within and adjacent to the manure application areas, and near other surface water resources. As a result, it is not expected that the manure injected at the manure application sites will come in contact with ground water. Surface Water Drain tile will be installed around the perimeter of the concrete manure storage structures to control hydrostatic water pressure on the bottom and side slopes of the system. The perimeter tile will be installed one foot below the bottom of the concrete pit. The drain tile will be routed southeast to a surface outlet that will drain excess seasonal ground water to a nearby wetland.

6

Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

The Proposer will perform weekly examinations or the monitoring port or drain tile outlet for water flow and signs of discoloration or odor in any water flowing in the drain tile. Any changes in color or odor of the drain tile discharge will be reported to the MPCA as required in NPDES/SDS Permits issued for concentrated animal feedlot operations. A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan has been prepared as part of the NPDES/SDS Permit Application required for this Project. The site has historically been used as cultivated agricultural cropland. As a part of the existing site construction, stormwater control structures will be installed for treatment of stormwater prior to exiting the site. The quantity of stormwater will improve with the construction of the additional livestock unit and other impervious surfaces. The land application of manure, if improperly applied, can adversely impact surface-water resources through manure-laden runoff or manure residue leaching into drain tile lines that outfall to surface waters. The Project contains land application areas that are located within the Shakopee and Hawk Creek subwatersheds. The subwatersheds have been farmed for several decades. The change in stormwater runoff characteristics (physically and chemically) from the Project land application areas is expected to remain the same and under certain circumstances, may improve as a result of the regulated land application activities (e.g., agronomic rate, injection of manure) under the MPCA NPDES/SDS Permit. The improvements would occur by developing better soil tilth through the use of organic fertilizer and the uniform practice of injecting manure over the acres identified in the Manure Management Plan. The potential impact to surface-water resources from the Project’s land application activities is not expected to create a significant impact as it will be regulated by an NPDES/SDS Permit that operates under a “no discharge” standard and the Manure Management Plan. The “no discharge” standard is managed through the following practices. Manure will be incorporated into the soil at agronomic rates, meaning that only the amount of manure will be applied that supplies the crop nutrients that can be utilized by the growing crop. The agronomic rate is based on the type of crop to be grown, the soil type, and the soil chemistry. In addition, land application will only occur during the fall of the year after crops have been removed from the field, rather than in the spring when runoff potential is greater due to increased precipitation and soil moisture. Additional details or land application activities are found in Item 5 of the EAW. The information presented in Item 5 will be incorporated into the Manure Management Plan for the proposed Project. The Manure Management Plan will be an enforceable provision of the NPDES/SDS Feedlot Permit for the Project. Water Appropriation The Project will be supplied with water from an existing on-site well. The total estimated water use of the Project at full production will be approximately eight million gallons per year. A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Water Appropriations Permit will be required. The purpose of the DNR permit program is to ensure water resources are managed so that adequate supply is provided to long-range seasonal requirements for domestic, agricultural, fish and wildlife, recreational, power, navigational, and quality control. The permit program balances competing management objectives, including both the development and protection of water resources. Minn. Stat. § 103G.261 establishes domestic water use as the highest priority of the state’s water when supplies are limited. If a well interference arises, the DNR has a standard procedure for investigating the matter. If a commercial operator is found to be causing the problem, the operator must correct it.

7

Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

The DNR has indicated to the MPCA staff that it does not foresee any problems related to permitting the volumes of water to be appropriated at this site in relation to the water appropriation in the area. Based on the DNR’s comments, MPCA staff believes that the water supply for the proposed Project will be adequate, and that the appropriation will not have a significant cumulative effect on the area water supply. 15.

The reversibility of any potential water quality effects that are reasonably expected to occur: The MPCA finds that any potential effect that is reasonably likely to occur from this Project would be reversible. As discussed above, the expected effects on water quality are minimal. There is no reason to believe that this Project is reasonably expected to cause a significant negative effect on water quality.

16.

Comments received that expressed concerns regarding potential effects to water quality: One comment letters expressed concern that ground water from the perimeter tile and stormwater runoff from the facility would adversely affect the nearby wetland. As discussed above in Findings 14 and 15, the analysis indicates that the effects on water quality that are reasonably expected to occur are not significant.

17.

The MPCA finds that the environmental review is adequate to address the concerns because: All potential impacts to water quality that are reasonably expected to occur from the proposed expansion of this facility have been considered during the review process and a method to prevent these impacts has been developed.

18.

The MPCA finds that the Project, as it is proposed, does not have the potential for significant environmental effects on water quality based on the type, extent, and reversibility of environmental effects reasonably expected to occur.

Potential Cumulative Effects of Related or Anticipated Future Projects 19.

The second criterion that the MPCA must consider, when determining if a project has the potential for significant environmental effects that are reasonably expected to occur, is the "potential cumulative effects of related or anticipated future projects," Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7.B (2006). The MPCA findings with respect to this criterion are set forth below.

20.

The EAW, public comments, and MPCA follow-up evaluation did not disclose any related or anticipated future projects that may interact with this Project in such a way as to identify any potential cumulative environmental effects that are reasonably expected to occur.

21.

No public comments were received concerning cumulative impacts. Based on MPCA staff experience, available information on the Project, including the feedlot permit application, the EAW, and MPCA staff site visit, the MPCA does not reasonably expect significant cumulative effects from this Project.

22.

In considering the potential cumulative effects of related or anticipated future projects, the MPCA finds that the reasonably expected effects from this Project will not be significant.

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Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law And Order

The Extent to Which the Environmental Effects Are Subject to Mitigation by Ongoing Public Regulatory Authority 23.

The third criterion that the MPCA must consider, when determining if a project has the potential for significant environmental effects that are reasonably expected to occur, is "the extent to which the environmental effects are subject to mitigation by ongoing public regulatory authority," Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7.C (2006). The MPCA findings with respect to this criterion are set forth below.

24.

The following permits or approvals will be required for the Project:

25.

Unit of Government MPCA

Permit or Approval Required NPDES/SDS Feedlot/Stormwater Permit

Big Stone County

Conditional Use Permit

DNR

Water Appropriation

Status Submitted – issued upon completion of environmental review. Conditional Use Permit – to be submitted upon completion of environmental review. Water Appropriation – to be submitted upon completion of environmental review.

The above-listed permits include general and specific requirements for mitigation of environmental effects of the Project. The MPCA finds that ongoing public regulatory authority will address any significant potential environmental effects that were identified as reasonably expected to occur.

The Extent to Which Environmental Effects can be Anticipated and Controlled as a Result of Other Available Environmental Studies Undertaken by Public Agencies or the Project Proposer, Including Other EISs 26.

The fourth criterion that the MPCA must consider is “the extent to which environmental effects can be anticipated and controlled as a result of other available environmental studies undertaken by public agencies or the project proposer, including other EISs.” Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7.D (2006). The MPCA findings with respect to this criterion are set forth below.

27.

The following documents were reviewed by MPCA staff as part of the potential environmental impact analysis for the proposed Project: • • •

EAW data Permit Application Air dispersion modeling report and memorandum from Charles Gantzer, Ph.D., Barr Engineering, Inc.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. The MPCA also relies on information provided by the Project Proposer, commenters, staff experience, and other available information.

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APPENDIX A

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion (Project) Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) LIST OF COMMENT LETTERS RECEIVED 1. Jody Martinson, P.E., Minnesota Department of Transportation, District 4. Letter received March 31, 2008. 2. Ronald Wieland, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Letter received April 9, 2008. RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ON THE EAW 1. Comments by Jody Martinson, P.E., Minnesota Department of Transportation, District 4. Letter received March 31, 2008. Comment 1-1: The Minnesota Department of Transportation has reviewed the proposed Project and did not have any specific comments on the information provided in the EAW. Response: The comment is noted. 2. Comments by Ronald Wieland, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Letter received April 9, 2008. Comment 2-1: “The last sentence of the final paragraph of Item 4A states, ‘the Project Proposer will install drain tile around the proposed project for dewatering.” However, the EAW does not contain additional information on the proposed construction design, drainage tile’s location, or location of the discharge point.” Response: The proposed construction design meets all standards set forth in Minn. R. ch. 7020, it has been designed by a professional engineer, and is typical of industry standards for this type of structure. The drainage tile is required to be located at or below the bottom of the liquid manure storage area and a minimum of one foot horizontal distance from the footing(s) of the structure, in order to relieve the hydrostatic pressure on the manure storage system created by a seasonal ground-water table. The perimeter tile will discharge to the southeast of the into the wetland area. It is important to note that the discharge from the perimeter tile is ground water that does not come in contact with livestock waste. Comment 2-2: “Item 4B of the EAW contains the form question ‘Will the project involve installing drain tilling, tile inlets and outlets?’ The check box was marked ‘No,’ yet the project narrative described installing perimeter drain tile under the concrete storage pits. This information appears contradictory.” Response: The comment is noted. This is an error within the EAW. The box should have been checked as a “Yes.”

Big Stone Hutterite Brethren Feedlot Expansion On the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement Graceville, Minnesota

List of Comment Letters Received and Responses to Comments on the Environmental Assessment Worksheet

Comment 2-3: “The DNR is concerned with the construction of storage pits that are proposed to be footed below the seasonal water table. In the event the pit walls or floors develop cracks and leak, pollutants would immediately become commingled with groundwater. The DNR recommends that the project proposer consider other construction alternatives such as using fill to raise the storage pit above the water table or increasing its length and width in order to reduce its depth.” Response: As noted above in Response 2-1, the proposed construction design meets all standards set forth in Minn. R. ch. 7020, and has been designed by a professional engineer. This method is typical of industry standards for this type of structure. The Project includes installation of drain tile to effectively lower the seasonal high water table in the vicinity of the structure. This practice is commonplace and is allowed by Minn. R. ch. 7020, as well as projects constructed under the standards of the National Resource Conservation Service, which are reviewed periodically at a state and national level. Although concrete is subject to the development of cracks, all cracks and other defects observed in the concrete prior to use are repaired. Those cracks that develop after use are not able to be repaired; however, the manure itself does exhibit a sealing property due to the solids within the manure. In addition, a 2001 study conducted by the MPCA entitled, “The Effects of Liquid Manure Storage Systems on Ground Water Quality,” identified that impacts from concrete-lined storage structures are limited to about a 100-foot plume from the structure. The structure is expected to meet all seepage requirements in Minn. R. 7020.2100. Comment 2-4: “The DNR recommends that outflow from the dewatering tile be collected in an established stormwater treatment pond. This would enable early detection of leaks and minimize the potential for groundwater contamination.” Response: Minn. R. ch. 7020 requires that a monitoring port be installed in the perimeter tile system prior to discharge to waters or another tile system. The Project proposer is required to perform weekly visual observations to check for evidence of contamination of the flow within the perimeter tile. The MPCA is confident that this method is capable of detecting leaks in an effective and timely manner. Comment 2-5: “The proposed feedlot expansion is expected to increase stormwater runoff, which will be directed to a small stormwater pond, and subsequently into a private wetland. This stormwater treatment design will certainly improve stormwater quality prior to its discharge. However, DNR believes that the wetland could become saturated with nutrients and gradually degrade over time. Considering the size and type of the feedlot operation, it would be preferable to fully contain the stormwater. The DNR proposes that the project incorporate additional measures to capture, hold and absorb runoff. The DNR recommends using small rain gardens, multiple vegetated holding ponds and grassed buffers around the project site. The additional measures would help the project come close to achieving no net surface water discharge. Reducing discharge would reduce or eliminate potential degradation to the wetland and help satisfy the Wetland Conservation Act by minimizing potential impacts to water quality.” Response: The Project proposer has reviewed this comment and is committed to using a buffer strip in order to better manage non-contact stormwater runoff from the facility.

2