County finalizes rezoning for fertilizer plant

County finalizes rezoning for fertilizer plant by David Lias Brad Trudeau of Centerville said Tuesday it will depend on how quickly the South Dakota Department of Agriculture approves his plans to construct a fertilizer plant in Riverside Township.

But, he added, he could be applying for building permits by this fall after the Clay County Commission gave final approval to rezoning 40 acres of land where the plant will be constructed.

The ordinance changed the zoning of Trudeau's proposed plant's site from A-1 (agricultural district) to I-2 (industrial district).

The proposed fertilizer plant has not been without controversy.

A majority of 60 people who attended the Aug. 8 commission meeting appeared to be concerned about the impact the plant may have on the environment, particularly on ground water.

Those concerns were voiced again at the Aug. 29 meeting.

Trudeau wants to build his fertilizer plant on property located approximately two miles north of one of the well heads that is a water source for Clay Rural Water.

Citizens have expressed concern that an accidental chemical spill at the plant could contaminate both the Vermillion River and shallow underground aquifers in the region.

"This is the aquifer that we (the city of Vermillion) use," Mayor William Radigan told the commissioners. "I have some concern that (if there was a leak) we have not only the immediate crisis that we would have to meet, but we have the long-term situation of going elsewhere for water."

Stan Pence, a hydrologist with the South Dakota Geological Survey, told commissioners that the aquifer the city taps into is separate from the one beneath the site of the proposed plant.

"There's a right to be concerned in regards to contamination getting into our aquifers, no matter where at or what we're doing," he said. "But the aquifer that Vermillion is tapping into versus the one that is up around Clay Rural Water � they are connected, but these are two different aquifers.

"If there is contamination that occurred in the area of Clay Rural Water, the likelihood of it affecting Vermillion's water supply is almost zero," Pence added.

"simply because of the distance between those locations."

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