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Protecting Waterways

We remain ever diligent and committed to protecting and preserving what matters most - a healthy and sustainable natural environment.

Phosphorus Reduction
Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element that is required by all plants, including those used to produce food and fiber for human consumption. When it is present in natural waterways in excessive amounts, however, it can pose a significant pollution concern.

SMBSC's efforts and successes in reducing phosphorus have resulted in our cooperative remaining well below the annual load allocation assigned by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency since 2004.

SMBSC's work to reduce phosphorus in waterways has been recognized by Citizens United for River Environment, C.U.R.E., a citizen group working to maintain and restore river health in Minnesota. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has also recognized SMBSC's efforts in phosphorus reduction as an example for others to follow.
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Cover Crops
SMBSC's Cover Crop Program is designed to prevent erosion and improve soils while resulting in a better crop. Cover crops keep soil from blowing off the fields during windy days and eroding during heavy rains. They also protect small beet plants by providing shelter and allowing them a better start that results in a healthier and more productive crop at the end of the year.

Voluntary Mercury Reduction
For over 25 years, mercury reduction has been a priority for SMBSC. From low-mercury coil in our boilers to mercury-free chemicals in our facility processes, our reduction efforts have decreased the mercury in our treated effluent water from 12 parts per trillion (ng/L) to near non-detectable levels. While low-mercury or mercury-free products are more expensive, SMBSC places a high value on reducing mercury whenever possible.

Wetland Development
SMBSC has restored 35 acres of wetlands in Renville County with an additional 40 acres approved for development in 2015. Wetlands provide important wildlife habitat, reduce flooding and improve water quality.

Special Projects to Protect Water
Each year SMBSC funds and implements projects that protect and improve water quality, such as drain tile screens and fencing to keep animal waste and activity away from streams. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reviews and certifies SMBSC projects to determine the total amount of phosphorus pollution that has been averted.
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