MPCA to hold meeting on proposed Mabel swine facility

November 27, 2018

MABEL — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 to discuss findings concerning the proposed Catalpa Ag swine facility.

The meeting, which will take place at the Mabel Community Center, 201 Main St. S., will present the MPCA findings. After the presentation, there will be time for questions.

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, which could require preventative measures due to the surrounding karst features. The agency also conducted an electrical resistivity imaging survey to determine if significant karst features exist underground, which would impact conditions for the proposed feedlot, according to the MPCA.

The first investigation found no evidence of a sinkhole near the proposed project site. Furthermore, the ERI survey found no karst hazards that would preclude construction at the site, the MPCA reported.

However, two parties reviewing the 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 reported.

The reports and related documents can be found 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. Peterson can be reached at charles.peterson@state.mn.us or Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

The deadline for comments is 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

Catalpa Ag has proposed building a 4,890-head swine farrowing facility about 10 miles east of Harmony in Newburg Township, Fillmore County. It would include two barns, an animal mortality composting building, a stormwater 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.

After receiving 771 comments during the initial public comment period, the MPCA conducted an additional investigation.

The MPCA delayed a decision on an environmental impact statement for the proposal until Dec. 31 at the latest.

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