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DNR: Golden Grain releases sulfuric acid and rust into Cheslea Creek; flows into Mason City

This news story was published on August 12, 2012.
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MASON CITY – A discharge of iron-laden cooling water and resulting fish kill is being investigated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Cheslea Creek on the south side of Mason City.

The DNR responded to a report Thursday morning that water in Cheslea Creek was orange. The orange discharge was traced back to a tile outfall where the Golden Grain Energy facility is allowed to release cooling water from the process.

A final fish count by DNR fisheries biologists was not available yet on Friday afternoon. The fish killed were smaller, minnow species and no sport fish were found. There were also portions of the stream where accurate fish counts could not be obtained because the water was so discolored.

The Golden Grain facility is located approximately one-and-a-half miles south of Mason City. Cheslea Creek flows north toward the city, through Lester Milligan Park and eventually to the Winnebago River. About a mile of Cheslea Creek was affected and it did not reach Big Black Lake in Lester Milligan Park.

Upon further investigation by DNR environmental specialists, it was discovered that excess sulfuric acid had been added to the cooling water system that mobilized rust within the plant piping system, which then resulted in an orange discharge into Cheslea Creek.

The affected cooling tower was taken off line and approximately 600,000 gallons of the iron-laden water diverted to a storm water pond that Golden Grain has on site. The pond discharge pipe is closed and the pond is very nearly empty due to the drought conditions. The water will be stored there and then processed back through the plant with no expected discharge.

The DNR is currently waiting for water samples to be analyzed and will consider appropriate enforcement actions once the data has been received.  In addition, restitution may be sought for the dead fish.

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8 Responses to DNR: Golden Grain releases sulfuric acid and rust into Cheslea Creek; flows into Mason City

  1. Avatar

    Patriot Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Most government subsidise have expired on ethanol, so your tax dollars are not going there. Second, blended fuel is less then unblended fuel, so they are taking nothing from you there either. It is still your choice to buy regular unleaded fuel or blended.

    One of the byproducts from makin ethanol is used as a cattle feed so they are using the corn for more then just one thing, making it more efficient. The ethanol companines have found ways to product the alcohol using far less water then when mass production first started.

    Ethanol make us less dependent on foriegn oil, that is a good thing. We need to expand our search on alternative fuels so that we have even less dependentcy on foriegn countries for an item we have such a large need of. Ethanol is not the whole answer, but is part of a solution that we as a country better get in gear and come up with. Soon you will see fuel prices skyrocket and you will wish more had been done.

    Now as for the dumping. Yes, Golden Grain made a mistake there. This time they only killed a few minnows. I did notice the sulpher ladden water reached well past the soybean plant, but there is very few fish in that shallow branch of the creek. I hope they learn from this mistake and take better precautions to prevent any such accident in the future. For the most part they have been a decent nieghbor and I hope they continue to be so.

  2. Avatar

    phredd Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I didn’t know that you could type out random blurts from terrets syndrome anonomyous.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Anonymous, Tell me that your situation is not affected by the success of farmers and i will call you a liar. What would you be doing in Iowa without farmers and their families?

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Just great! We use our corn to make ethanol that is terrible for our cars and provides less mileage.

    Now the taxpayers are subsidizing the corn energy bullshit which in turn raises food prices and now we are polluting our creeks and rivers.

    When are the people going to wake up at this huge rip off?

    I know you farmers and investors love this tax give-a-way but all it’s doing is putting our money in your pocket and all we get back is higher prices, less fuel economy, and grief.

    Kill the ethanol requirement in our gas!!! Give us back our money and freedom with less cost.

  5. Avatar

    MrEastSide Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

    How much are they going to pay for the fish? The fine is how much?

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 10:10 am

    OMG more job-killing regulations forced on golden grain from the DNR! When will it stop!?!?!?!?!

    • Avatar

      happyguy Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      so what are we to do, just let them pump poison into our rivers and streams with no punishment? What would be your answer?

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 9:39 am