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Kent Nutrition Group fined for air quality violations

Company must pay $8,500 fine for failing to comply with air quality standards at its facility in Sheldon, Iowa.

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Kent Nutrition Group was issued an $8,500 administrative penalty for failing to comply with air quality standards at its facility in Sheldon, Iowa, by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The Sheldon facility manufactures animal feed and features a flaking plant as well as other feed mill operations, including pelleting, storage, mixing, bagging and loadouts.

In June 2019, the DNR issued collection of air permits for the construction of several pellet cooling systems at the Sheldon facility. According to reports, the permits required Kent to maintain continuous compliance with U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards regarding emission of pollutants.

  • Testing on October 27-29, 2020, by Kent resulted in violations for two of the pellet cooling systems and two other systems were not tested at the maximum continuous output as required, according to the DNR.

The DNR issued a notice of violation to Kent on February 19, 2021. Kent said it would modify the construction permits to address the compliance issues.

The DNR notified Kent on May 18, 2021, that the resubmitted construction permit applications were incomplete and did not address the issues identified.

Kent revised the applications, and the DNR issued new collection of air permits on July 21, 2021.

  • Testing on August 2-4, 2022, by Kent resulted in violations for three pellet cooling systems, according to the DNR.

On November 29, 2022, the DNR issued another notice of violation to Kent.

On January 3, Kent submitted a compliance plan stating the facility is investigating the root cause of the excess emissions and implementing changes to the pellet mills to limit capacities and improve performance. The compliance plan proposed that stack testing occur by June.

On May 25, Kent submitted an updated compliance plan stating ongoing work for alterations to the emission points would not be completed by June. With alterations completed, stack testing was anticipated by late July or early August.

The latest DNR order, dated July 21, noted Kent has operated the Sheldon facility out of compliance since September 2017, despite the issuance of an administrative consent order in which it had to pay a $10,000 penalty in 2019 for multiple violations, including failure to obtain construction permits for previously installed equipment, construction of a feed mill without construction permits and failure to comply with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.

In September 2020, Kent's feed plant, Deluxe Feed Inc., broke ground on a $37 million expansion project in Sheldon that would include five new pellets mills, high-efficiency packaging equipment, grain cleaning and packaging innovations, two separate processing lines and a 50,000-square-foot warehouse as part of the new addition.

In November 2020, an explosion rocked the facility with five employees inside. The employees made it out but there was significant damage to the facility.

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