Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC) operates the largest sugar-beet processing facility in the United States. In 1999, SMBSC implemented a five-year plan to modernize and expand its Renville facility to increase processing capacity. Barr supported the cooperative in these efforts and completed an environmental assessment that evaluated the impacts of the anticipated 40,000-acre increase in sugar-beet acreage.
SMBSC also needed to revise its NPDES permit to increase the average treated-process-water discharge. Barr prepared the permit application, submitted it to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and assisted with negotiations. The application included a nondegradation (the Minnesota equivalent of antidegradation at the federal level) analysis, including an evaluation of alternatives to the proposed discharge and additional control measures. The permit issued in 1999 had had unique provisions, including a phosphorus-trading program, discharge restrictions during summer low-flow conditions, and an annual phosphorus-mass-loading cap.
After the factory came online, our client found that dissolved minerals in the sugar beets and additives were present at higher concentrations in the treated effluent than the permit allowed. SMBSC and Barr evaluated the process, treatment technologies, and discharge alternatives, finding that a variance was needed. Barr assisted SMBSC in preparing a variance request, which was approved by the MPCA.
Since its 2009 permit expiration, Barr has continued to work with SMBSC on its NPDES permitting and compliance, including helping to develop and implement a long-term permitting and wastewater-management strategy. We provide value through our integrated environmental and engineering teams, which work through complex multidiscipline issues relating to wastewater management and permitting.