MPCA evaluates proposed 12,000-head dairy feedlot in Traverse County

Paula Carlsen

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TRAVERSE COUNTY, MN — On Thursday, June 8, 2021, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency or MPCA has released a draft permit for an environmental assessment worksheet or EAW for a 12,000-head jersey dairy feedlot south of Wheaton in Traverse County.

The proposed project, submitted by Riverview LLP's Twelvemile Dairy, will house cows in a cross-ventilated total confinement barn and include several manure storage facilities and five large clay-lined basins with 143 million gallons total capacity.

The liquid manure will be sent to farmers for land use in the fall after harvesting time. It will be distributed to Leonardsville, Croke, Tara, and Dollymount townships.

Following this feedlot proposal, Riverview has also applied for a water appropriation permit to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or MDNR for pumping up to 153 million gallons per year for the farm operation.

Prior to the approval, MDNR will evaluate whether the pumping will affect other wells and surface waters in the surrounding areas that provide domestic water for houses and apartments.

Riverview will construct four permanent stormwater basins to collect runoffs from the area since the feedlot will be more than one acre of hard surfaces. Then, water from the basins will enter Twelvemile Creek after treatment.

According to MPCA, the project would produce about 64,967 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The emissions include animal digestion or methane, manure storage or methane and nitrous oxide, and manure land application that contains nitrous oxide. Riverview may plant more alfalfa and other cover crops to reduce greenhouse gases.

Both Twelvemile's environment assessment worksheet and the draft permit are available at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/regulations/projects-under-mpca-review and https://www.pca.state.mn.us/public-notices.

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