Closed, Nebraska-ethanol plant given permission to apply wastewater to ag land

An Eastern Nebraska ethanol that closed for violating environmental standards has been given permission to apply wastewater to farmland under a new permit.

The state’s department of environment and energy granted AltEn and the six seed companies leading the cleanup effort to move more than 150 million gallons of discharge to 320 acres in Saunders County.

Bayer, Corteva, Syngenta, AgReliant, Beck’s Hybrids and WinField Solutions sent treated seed to the plant for disposal and created the Facility Response Group to clean up contaminated wet cake and distillers grain.

NDEE says the permit provides a method to remove treated wastewater through July 2027, but it doesn’t allow discharge into waters of the state.

Investigations by state agencies found that AltEn used treated seed corn to produce ethanol, which created toxic solid and liquid waste products. NDEE is suing the Kansas-based company, but the case remains open.

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