Iowa Cheese Processing Plant Pays $100,000 Air Emissions Fine

Emissions Standards
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A cheese processor in Iowa has paid a $100,000 fine after violating air emission standards for 12 years.

Iowa’s Attorney General Office and the Department of Natural Resources announced that Prairie Farms Dairy in Luana admitted to violating air-emission limits and would pay the fine. The admission was made through a consent decree that was signed by District Judge Margaret L. Lingreen in Clayton County District Court.

At the dairy processing plant a whey dryer is used to produce Swiss cheese and it emits whey particles outside into the air. It is alleged by the state that a baghouse was removed in 2004 at the plant. The baghouse helps control air pollution by removing particular matter.

It was not discovered until 2013 by DNR officials that the baghouse had been removed without seeking a construction permit.

Steps were taken in 2016 to reduce emissions when a dryer stack fan was installed at the plant, helping bring the cheese processor into compliance.

Prairie Farms has agreed to take additional steps to be in compliance by installing a baghouse at a cost of $1.4 million that will bring air emissions well below the permit level.

The cheese plant in Luna was formerly operated by Swiss Valley Farms. In April 2017, Prairie Farms and Swiss Valley merged after plans for a merger were announced in December 2016.

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