DES MOINES, Iowa – Violating air pollution rules is costing a northeast Iowa cheesemaker a lot of money.
Prairie Farms Dairy in Luana has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty and spend $1.4 million in pollution-control measures as part of a deal with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
State officials say Prairie Farms removed an air pollution control device called a “baghouse” in 2004 without seeking a construction permit. The “baghouse” is used to remove particulate matter and the DNR discovered it was missing in 2013.
Prairie Farms uses a whey dryer to produce swiss cheese and it puts whey particles in the air. It did install a dryer stack fan in 2015 to reduce those emissions and has been in compliance with pollution rules ever since. As part of the agreement, Prairie Farms will install a new “baghouse” to reduce emissions even more.