AP NEWS

Nebraska plant faces another air quality violation notice

July 25, 2018

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has issued a new violation notice to a renewable energy plant that residents have complained about over its odors.

The state agency sent Big Ox Energy a notice Monday alleging violations of Nebraska air quality regulations and the plant’s air quality construction permit, the Sioux City Journal reported.

The department is asking the South Sioux City plant to submit emissions records after failing to give the state all required reports and notifications. Each violation could result in penalties up to $10,000 per day.

Big Ox, which converts local industries’ organic waste to methane, has had recycling digester issues for months. The company received a separate violation notice last month after state investigators found the plant had spilled sludge onto private property.

The company has also been under scrutiny after residents complained about the plant’s odor. The Environmental Protection Agency released initial results showing elevated hydrogen sulfide levels that might be above the facility’s permit.

The runoff’s environmental impact remains under the state’s investigation.

The company has cleaned up most of the affected area, according to Big Ox spokesman Kevin Bradley. Big Ox hired an environmental remediation firm to help with the clean-up, he said.

“A comprehensive clean-up effort will continue until all materials released from the digester are removed and disposed of properly,” Bradley said.

The plant is “fully cooperating” with the Department of Environmental Quality, he said.

Department spokesman Brian McManus said Big Ox needs to address “the source of the problem and ensure that that’s quickly remedied so this doesn’t just continue to be an ongoing issue of more releases and additional cleanup.”

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com