mfs compost

A truck empties a load at MFS near Good Thunder in this 2013 photo. The business originally operated under the Full Circle Organics name.

GOOD THUNDER — The MFS composting facility, which stopped collecting food waste from area businesses in late June, has not notified the state it is shuttering the facility and continues to deal with odor complaints and other issues.

MFS had been dealing with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on resolving odor problems and on finding an alternative treatment for contaminants in its pond water at the Good Thunder composting site.

MFS, which is co-owned by Midwest Recycling Solutions, opened in 2013.

Cathy Rofshus of the MPCA said they continue to monitor the operation.

“We’re just making sure the materials there are being managed and still looking for a solution for the pond water.”

The MPCA is concerned about the contents of the water, including a family of chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl, or PFAS, that have become an issue in wastewater at composting sites and landfills nationwide.

Michael Stalberger, director of property and environmental resources for Blue Earth County, said they continue to ensure MFS is following their conditional-use permit relating to odor.

“They’re still not taking (new) materials and they are working through the materials they had there.” At the time they stopped taking organics, they had about 22,000 tons of material on site.

“We continue to hear from folks about smells out there,” Stalberger said. “We do odor audits. Staff goes out there and notes wind direction and smell.”

He said the business is working on some of the things they promised to at a recent meeting with neighbors and county officials. “The pond is aerated by jet now and they’re turning the piles, getting it ready for compost.”

The property is owned by and the original permit obtained by Kevin, David and Gary Fitzsimmons, who have considerable ag land holdings in the region. Stalberger said the brothers have been in frequent contact with the county about the facility.

A phone number for the compost site has been temporarily disconnected.

Stalberger said if and when MFS notifies the state it is officially closing, the county and MPCA would oversee that the facility is decommissioned according to the conditions in its permit.

“There is an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount not to exceed $150,000 to be used for financial assurance for closure care for the facility,” he said. “If the facility closes and begins down the closure plan, they will need to complete many tasks. If they would fail to do this, this credit line would be used to pay for those activities.”

Stalberger said if MFS doesn’t officially notify the state it is closing for good in the coming months, the county has other options to review MFS’ permit. The company needs to apply for a renewal of its solid waste permit with the county later this year.