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Laid off workers at Bongards' in Perham are back to work

The 54 workers who were temporarily laid off at Bongards' Creameries in Perham are back to work, according to Bongards' President Keith Grove.

The company had laid off the workers because it was unable to empty its wastewater pond through the usual means of irrigation spraying, due to snow cover on the ground from last week's blizzard.

Wastewater from the Bongards' facility consists of process wastewater, non-contacting cooling water at the facility and industrial storm water. The wastewater is routed to the facility's aerated lagoon system for treatment prior to land application by spray irrigation, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

"When you run a milk intake and cheese manufacturing plant," Grove said, "you make a lot of wastewater flow."

Grove said that Bongards' has been able to start spraying "to a limited extent," and also continues to haul wastewater in an attempt to empty the wastewater pond and get the facility running at a higher level.