Council approves waste water agreement

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/16/98.

Prairie Farmers Co-op, New London, approached the city of Paynesville several months ago about discharging waste water from their hog slaughtering operation into Paynesvilleís waste water system. At their Wednesday night city council meeting, the council approved accepting their waste water on a temporary basis.

After reviewing the issue, Ron Mergen, public works director, and Bill Spooner, city attorney, drew up an agreement for the council to review and approve.

ďMy initial reaction was no to their request,Ē Mergen told the council.

This permit and authorization to discharge shall become effective immediately or when the co-op has their plant remodeled and in full operation. The agreement expires on Jan. 1, 2000.

Prairie Farmers Co-op (former Shakopee Meats plant) must comply with city permits and MPCA standards. If the cooperative does not comply, the city has 15 days in which they can notify the co-op and terminate the agreement.

Prairie Farmers Co-op will deliver their pretreated waste in tanker trucks to the Paynesville pretreatment pond until the Green Lake Sewer District waste water treatment facility is completed.

The Paynesville City Council was informed they would earn about $10,000 per year from the agreement.

Mergen told the council he did not perceive any problems arising from this agreement.

Brad Mitness of Ag Evolution and Dennis Timmerman, a Prairie Farmers Co-op member, attended the New London City Council recently about hooking up to their sewer and water system.

They informed the New London council their proposal is for a pretreatment facility at the pork plant to treat hog processing waste to domestic strength. At present, it would be hauled to Paynesville until the plant is on line but the domestic waste would be hooked into the New London sewer plant.

Mitness and Timmerman were told by the New London council they needed to have two public hearings (one for conditional use and another to amend zoning) before the New London council approves a permit for the pretreatment system at the plant.

Trudie Amundson, New London City Clerk, added the property where the slaughter plant is located is not zoned for a pretreatment plant.

New London councilmen were concerned about odor the pretreatment plant would create. Mitness told the New London council that odor was their number one priority. ďIf there are any problems, weíll take steps to rectify it,Ē Mitness told the New London council. ďOur time line is now. We want to move as rapidly as possible,Ē Mitness added.

The New London council said they needed to gather more information before having a public hearing or making any kind of decision. A June 22 public hearing date was set.

Last week two New London council members and Amundson toured three similar oper-ations to what Prairie Farmers Co-op is proposing. All three have their own pretreatment system. They toured a turkey plant in Watertown, S.D., a pork plant in Alcester, S.D., and a lamb plant in Hawarden, Iowa.

ďOdor was evident at all three plants,Ē Amundson said. ďAll three plants were also located four to five miles out of town, not within the city limits like Prairie Farmers is proposing.Ē

Amundson said the city officials they talked with in the various communities were very negative about the processing plants and their pretreatment facility. ďPrairie Farmers Co-op has a lot of local limits to meet before they will be in operation,Ē Amundson added. ďA lot of questions needs to be answered at the public hearing set for June 22.Ē

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