State agencies sue ValAdCo

MPCA, Hatch target emissions

Associated Press

RENVILLE, Minn. -- Two state agencies sued a large hog-raising cooperative in Renville County, alleging that it violated state air pollution standards hundreds of times since 1999.

They want the feedlot run by ValAdCo to halt emissions of smelly, hydrogen sulfide gas from manure lagoons, which people have complained about for years. The gas is coming from a 10-acre pool that holds waste from more than 15,000 hogs.

Attorney General Mike Hatch and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency filed the suit in Renville County District Court last week. The suit said the agencies logged 352 violations of air quality rules since June 1999 at the company's largest feedlot, near Olivia, about 10 miles east of here.


Hatch said the suit, if successful, could force ValAdCo to clean up the site or close.

A message left with a ValAdCo manager on Saturday wasn't returned. The company didn't respond to requests for comment by newspapers on Friday.

Last year, under a previous agreement with pollution control officials, ValAdCo installed a heavy plastic cover and new equipment to control emissions from the pond.

But Hatch said those steps didn't work, and that air-quality monitors installed by his office detected 81 violations in the last two months.

"The government can't just keep going out there and saying 'try it again, try something new,"' he said.

Hatch became involved last year after complaints about the facility persisted. The attorney general's office bought its own monitoring equipment for $30,000, Hatch said, and hired a private company to conduct the tests.

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