Test results show reduced ethanol plant odor

Health concerns

Many CCQL members also had concerns about the emissions causing health problems.

"It seems like there's more problems than there has been before at respiratory therapy," Dave Knips, who works at the hospital, said.

"We can't go looking for things that we aren't regulated on," Serie said, "but, I want to be extremely proactive. I live here, too, folks."

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency regulates the ethanol plant in three areas: production, volatile air chemicals and particulates.

McGinley said that to have the health department open a health risk assesment file on the plant, it first must be requested.

"It would be better if the citizens and the company would request it together," McGinley said. He suggested to wait until the St. Paul ethanol plant was tested, because then the department would have a form to follow. "They can't decide which test to use right now because ethanol plants are so new," McGinley said.

Differences between the ethanol plants

McGinley also worked with the St. Paul ethanol plant, Gopher State Ethanol. The plant is being taken to court to declare it a public nuisance.

"In St. Paul, the city attorney is prosecuting on noise and thinking about odor," McGinley said.

McGinley pointed out differences between that plant and Luverne's ethanol plant.

He explained that the St. Paul plant also is the only ethanol plant in the country that was converted from a beer-making facility.

"The cooling is even more odorous in St. Paul than the one here," McGinley said. "St. Paul burns at a hotter temperature."

The plant is also located in the middle of a residential area, and noise is a problem.

The health department will test the plant's VOCs as soon as it finds a test to fit ethanol plants.

"There's a lot more that you'll be hearing from that place," McGinley said.

Serie said that the St. Paul ethanol plant and the Luverne ethanol plant are working together by sharing the results of each test to better help the ethanol industry.

Soybean plant

At the meeting, the possibility of a new soybean plant was also discussed. "It's just in the preliminary stages right now," Serie said. "It's brand new technology." Cornerstone Energy looking into the possibility of a soybean plant. They own 70 percent of Agri-Energy.

The plant would crush soybeans in order to extract oil. Hexane is used in the process to extract the oil. Currently there is a test plant in Baton Rouge, La.

The CCQL questioned Serie about the plant producing a smell. "There is no cooking or fermentation," Serie said. "It's a cold crush extraction plant."

McGinley cautioned the idea of the soybean plant. "Everything has some air emissions," McGinley said. "Be very aware of the process. Hexane does have an odor."

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 in the community room at the Rock County Community Library.

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