U.S. Water News Online
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A Minnesota company, Rahr Malting, has received a first-of-its-kind permit from the state of Minnesota. The permit will give the company the ability to "trade" discharge limits on the wastewater it produces at its Shakopee food processing facility for reducing the amount of pollutants going into the river from other sources.
Rahr Malting will create a Corporate Sponsorship Program to target projects for river cleanup. The program's aim is to reduce Minnesota River pollution through controlling .non-point sources of pollution, mainly from agricultural sources.
To fulfill the non-point source reduction requirements, the company plans to use a mix of its own, as well as private and/or public funds through the Corporate Sponsorship Program. Rahr Malting's program will join other groups, local units of government, and landowners who are doing similar projects to protect water quality in the Minnesota River.
A statewide environmental group, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), was an active participant in permit negotiations. MCEA is part of an advisory committee that guides cleanup efforts on the Minnesota River. They and other environmental protection groups were very interested in the outcome of this first-of-its-kind permit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also concurred in the granting of the permit.
"We sought this permit as a way to control costs," said Rahr Malting Company vice president Bob Micheletti. "We ended up with a resource management alternative that gives us this flexibility. The commitment to help clean up the Minnesota River was an easy choice for us to make."
The net result, according to many, will be less pollution in the Minnesota River.
"We're excited about this permit," said Peder Larson, a commissioner with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). "It's a win-win situation. Because of this cooperative partnership, the company gets the flexibility it needs and the Minnesota River gets less overall pollution."
"We hope to be doing more of these permits" said Larson. We feel this approach will improve our ability to protect water resources by expanding our focus to include watersheds."
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