Prairie Farms fined $100,000 for air quality violations

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Prairie Farms has been fined $100,000 and has also agreed to install $1.4 million worth of pollution-control measures after violating air quality limits for 12 years.

The dairy's location in Luana admitted violating the limits is a consent decree with Iowa DNR and the Attorney General's Office.

Currently, Prairie Farms usees a whey dryer when producing swiss cheese. The dryer emits whey particles to the outside air during the process.

A petition by the state says in 2004 the dairy removed a baghouse, an air pollution control device to remove particulate matter.

In 2013, the DNR found the dairy had removed the baghouse without a construction permit.

In 2016 the dairy installed a dryer stack fan to reduce emissions.

Since then they have stayed in compliance with applicable emission limits.

As part of the consent decree, Prairie Farms said they would install a baghouse, which is expected to cost an estimated $1.4 million.

Previously the location in Luana was known under the name Swiss Valley Farms until Prairie Farms merged with them in April 2017.