A Muscatine company will pay a little over half-a-million dollars in fines after its ethanol operations polluted the air. Attorney General’s spokesman Bob Brammer says the company, Grain Processing Corporation, makes feed and other products out of grain and its ethanol plant in southeast Iowa exceeded the level of material it was allowed to put into the air.
The company’s permit allowed it to use some equipment only a certain amount of the time, and the A-G’s office found it was using it more than allowed, and that very fine dust created by handling grain was causing air pollution above the level allowed.
The state’s chief consumer advocate took legal action, though Brammer says the company was already moving to comply. As the Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit, the company was agreeing to pay a civil penalty and not to commit repeat offenses in the future.
The company’s operations of a spray dryer will be scaled back so its dust output is within the limits allowed. Brammer says this doesn’t put the company out of business, but does put them in compliance with air quality requirements. The company has to do a lot of followup work to clean up its operations and prove they’re complying with the agreement, and the fine levied against Grain Processing Corporation totals 538-thousand dollars.
Dust and odor are the complaints most often lodged against ethanol brewers, as the grain is dried before fermenting and again after it’s used in the alcohol-making process, when it’s readied to be to be used for animal feed.