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Permits sought for new swine processing plant in Mason City

By Staff | Apr 23, 2016

MASON CITY (AP) – Prestage Foods is working to obtain the environmental permits it needs to build a $240 million pork processing plant in Mason City.

the company will need to secure final approval from the Mason City city council and environmental regulators before it can build the plant. The environmental review process will address how much water the plant will need, how its wastewater would be treated and what effect it might have on air quality.

Many of the roughly 200 people who attended a hearing on the project earlier this month urged city officials to reject it.

Company owner Ron Prestage promised to build a high-tech plant that wouldn’t disrupt the community or harm the environment.

The city council scheduled hearings on Thursday and May 3 before deciding whether to approve the development agreement with Prestage.

The company hopes to start construction in August and have the plant operational by mid-2018 if it gains all the necessary approvals.

Eventually, the plant could process as many as 22,000 hogs per day and employ 2,000 workers, but it would take several years to work up to that.

City Administrator Brent Trout said the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will look at several aspects of the proposed plant.

Already, state officials have said groundwater supplies from the region’s Jordan aquifer should be sufficient to supply what the pork plant would need.

Trout said the city’s wastewater treatment plant has the capacity to handle what the plant produces.

DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins said regulators will evaluate all the calculations the company made about its wastewater treatment plan, and they will review the equipment Prestage wants to use to control air pollution.

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