Pipeline project no longer needed

BLUE EARTH – Buffalo Lake Energy has found a new way to handle discharge water, Michele Stindtman told Faribault County commissioners Tuesday.

“The pipeline is off the table,” said Stindtman, program administrator of the Soil and Water Conservation District.

The county had waged a fierce battle over the ethanol plant’s proposal to build a pipeline from Fairmont, across the county line, to discharge wastewater into the Blue Earth River. The board went so far as to pass a moratorium on pipelines.

Stindtman said 2013 was the deadline for Buffalo Lake Energy to come into compliance and upgrade its system for handling the plant’s wastewater.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported that Buffalo Lake has made the necessary modifications.

“When they re-open, they will be a zero-discharge facility,” Stindtman said.

Commissioner Tom Warmka suggested Stindtman draft a letter to comment on the latest developments.

“I don’t want it to be cranky, I want it to be supportive,” Warmka said.

“As long as they meet the MPCA guidelines, I’m comfortable with it,” said Commissioner Tom Loveall. “I’m not against the ethanol plant and business and stuff; kudos for getting off the pipeline.”

On another topic, Stindtman said a surface water forum is set for Nov. 13 at Hamilton Hall in Blue Earth. It begins at 9 a.m. with a presentation on the climate by Mark Seeley, professor of meteorology and climatology, followed by sessions on stormwater, GIS computer systems, street scapes, and a roundtable discussion. Registration is due by Friday.

In other business, the board:

o Approved appointing Dr. Terry Cahill to complete the medical examiner’s term that expires Dec. 31, 2014.

o Learned that Steve Bohling has announced his retirement from Human Services, effective Dec. 31. The board accepted the resignation with regrets.

o Approved the AFSCME union contract for courthouse employees. The three-year deal will expire Dec. 31, 2016. Health insurance will increase $50 per month. The county’s health savings account contribution will be $3,200 in 2014 and go up to $3,300 in 2015-16. Wages will increase 2 percent in 2014, 2.5 percent in 2015 and 3 percent in 2016.