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Southern Minnesota to pay penalty for air violations

RENVILLE -- Air quality and storage tank environmental rule violations at the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative processing plant near Renville have resulted in a $50,400 civil penalty from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the agency announced.

From 2007 to 2009, the plant recorded 32 violations of air-quality standards for hydrogen sulfide, and at times exceeded the limit on nitrous oxide emissions.

Inspectors also found violations of storage tank requirements, including late and missing tank inspections, a malfunctioning corrosion-protection system, paint failure and surface corrosion on steel tanks and piping, unreported leaks and spills of beet juice, and degradation of the concrete secondary containment surrounding acid-storage tanks.

In an agreement with the MPCA, the operators have corrected violations and are working on plans and improvements.

-- Staff reports