May 18 EcoNewsWire

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May 18, 2023


Smoke from Canadian fires expected to impact Iowa today and tomorrow

Air now map showing smoke plume and monitor results over Iowa

MEDIA CONTACT: John Gering, 515-380-6874 or

Des Moines – An approaching cold front is pulling smoke from Canadian wildfires down to ground level, and areas of unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous air quality are being measured across much of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. This smoke is expected to impact Iowa today and tomorrow.

The air quality in Northwest Iowa will be impacted first this morning, with a band of heavy smoke working its way through the state from Northwest to Southeast. The smoke is expected to impact central Iowa this evening. Through the overnight hours, northwest winds will move the smoke out in the same pattern, with clearing beginning in far Northwest Iowa by tomorrow morning. Cleaner air statewide is forecast by Friday afternoon. However, intermittent and patchy smoke episodes are possible even throughout the weekend.

Unhealthy levels are anticipated across Iowa as the smoke passes through. Twenty-four-hour averages may reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups, and levels considered unhealthy for everyone may be measured. Sensitive groups include older adults, those with respiratory or heart disease, and children. The health impacts of the smoke can be reduced by limiting prolonged outdoor exertion until air quality conditions improve.

Real-time air quality maps and information about the air quality index can be found on EPA’s site.  A graphic approximation of the extent and trajectory of the smoke plume can be seen on the map at


DNR enforcement actions

 MEDIA CONTACT: Tamara McIntosh, 515-725-8242 or 

DES MOINES – DNR staff work with individuals, businesses and communities to help them protect our natural resources by complying with state and federal laws. This approach is very effective. In the few cases where compliance cannot be achieved, the DNR issues enforcement actions. The following list summarizes recent enforcement actions. Find the entire, original orders on DNR’s website at 

Consent Orders A consent order is issued as an alternative to issuing an administrative order. A consent order indicates that the DNR has voluntarily entered into a legally enforceable agreement with the other party.

Hardin County

Poet Biorefining – Iowa Falls, LLC

Comply with its air quality construction permit, including all testing requirements; comply with its Title V operating permit; submit a report on the cause of excess emissions; develop and submit for approval updated operation and maintenance plans; conduct quarterly compliance stack testing for volatile organic compounds, total hazardous air pollutants, and single hazardous air pollutants; submit any air quality construction permit modifications necessary; and pay a $10,000 administrative penalty.


Administrative Orders

Responsible parties have 60 days to appeal the order or 60 days to pay the penalty.


Air Quality permits under review

MEDIA CONTACT: Marnie Stein, 515-238-1887 or for Title V permits; or Peter Zayudis, 515-201-4596 or for Construction permits.


DES MOINES – The DNR Air Quality Bureau has the following draft permits for review. The permits help protect Iowans’ health and the air where we live. DNR’s permitting staff review the applications to ensure facilities comply with state and federal air quality standards. The public has the right and is encouraged to comment on draft permits. DNR considers public comments before finalizing the permits. Submit comments in writing to the assigned permit writer before 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the comment period.


Title V Operating Permits

Title V Operating permits are reviewed and re-issued every five years. Facilities with a Title V permit have the potential to emit large amounts of air pollutants compared to other facilities. The five-year reviews are a federal requirement and ensure adequate monitoring is included in the permit. The DNR plans to issue Title V Operating Permits for the following facilities.  Find permit details at OR through the Iowa EASY Air Public Inquiry Portal and then click on the Public Notice tab.

Black Hawk County John Deere Waterloo Works – Drive Train Operations located at 400 Westfield Ave., Waterloo. The application was submitted to operate their existing Farm Machinery and Equipment facility. 

The public comment period ends June 17. 


Construction Permits

DNR engineers review and issue construction permits to facilities before they build new or modify existing sources of air pollution. The public may review the following air quality construction permits available online at OR through the EASY Air Public Inquiry Portal and click the Public Notice tab.


Buena Vista County Platinum Crush, LLC – 5956 70th Ave., Alta. Project No. 23-038. Platinum Crush, LLC is in the process of constructing a soybean crush plant. This project is to modify the stack characteristics for stacks associated with the Meal Flat and Overhead Storage emission units and the Natural Gas-Fired Emergency Generator Engine 3 based on updates to the design of the facility during construction.

The public comment period ends June 17. 


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