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Central Bi-Products required to apply for new permit

August 17, 2018
Estherville News

Zoning board said due to expansion, conditional use must be re-evaluated

By Amy H. Peterson

Staff Writer

Article Photos

The Emmet County Zoning Board of Adjustment met Tuesday evening, with the hour-long meeting moved to the third-floor courtroom to accommodate the crowd of approximately 40 people in attendance.

The purpose of the meeting was to take action on the conditional use permit the county issued to Iowa Protein Solutions ten years ago, which extended to Central Bi-Products when it took over the former Golden Sun Feeds building in 2015.

The Board approved a resolution requesting Central Bi-Products submit a new application for a conditional use permit.

County attorney Doug Hansen said, "I think everybody is to the point something needs to happen. "

Hansen said the company operates under a license issued by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and that an industrial hygienist could shed light on protocols the company should follow and methods of filtration.

"The odor is a chemical compound; it can be analyzed and its contents quantified. But it takes money to do that," Hansen said.

Dan Hildebrandt, CEO of Farmers Union Industries said, "We have capital plans for expansion of our air quality equipment."

Howard Metzger said, "The odor problem has been going on for 10 years. It didn't start in 2015."

Metzger also said the odor could be in violation of state nuisance law.

Hildebrandt had indicated at the July 19 special meeting of the Emmet County Board of Supervisors that the company was moving forward with a $1.2 million project to expand its infrastructure and upgrade its cookers and scrubbers. One part of the project that would improve the odor issue was an area into which trucks could drive and be unloaded indoors.

For approximately two-and-one-half weeks after the July 19 meeting, and including Sweet Corn Days, the odor issue had improved. Hildebrandt confirmed the company had shut down operations for that weekend, Aug. 3-5.

Hildebrandt said if there were complaints of Central Bi-Products odor, he wanted to know directly.

"If I know, even if it's 2:00 in the morning, I can take action," Hildebrandt said. Hildebrandt gave his cell phone number, 507-430-1782.

However, over the weekend of Aug. 10-12 and into this week, the odor had returned, to the dismay of many area residents who called in to the assessor's office and discussed their experiences publicly.

The tally for complaints of odor to the county assessor's office has risen to more than 180 complaints this year.

Hildebrandt said the average daily loads for the Estherville location are: four local pork producers, four from Hospers, and four from Windom, Minn., all new carcasses, and six trucks of dead stock.

"We're not trying to run deads. We're committed to get rid of deads coming in off farms," Hildebrandt said, adding that letters have gone out to current dead stock customers that Central Bi-Products would no longer be accepting their materials.

Jamie Trosin, who runs a daycare from her Estherville home, said, "I've had to tell the kids, 'sorry, we can't go outside today,' because of the odor." Trosin said state guidelines require daycare providers to bring the children for outdoor play for some percentage of the time they are in care, and the odor causes her to struggle to meet or exceed that requirement for the children's well-being.

The Department of Natural Resources is also investigating water contamination at the Joe Greig farm south of Estherville, according to Greig and officials at the DNR.

Hansen advised the board that litigating a civil matter is costly and takes time.

"I think having an expert would help us in that," Hansen said.

Officials from Farmers Union Industries and Darling International addressed rumors of a sale of the Estherville Central Bi-Products location, which would result in its closure and rerouting of its current materials to other locations. Dale Bednarek of Farmers Union Industries said the company had no statement to make at this time, and that word of a sale was not something they are addressing at this time.

Melissa Gaither, Vice-President of Investor Relations and Global Communications for Darling International said, "To my knowledge there is not any consideration whatsoever of a purchase agreement between Farmers Union Industries and Darling International."

Odor complaints can still be emailed to or to the Emmet County Engineer's office at 712-362-4868.



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