ST. PAUL -- The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle air and water quality violations.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Thursday.

The co-op near Renville also has agreed to correct the violations, which happened over a period of years. Those violations included excessive hydrogen sulfide emissions - which cause foul odors and can be harmful to human health - and discharging untreated wastewater, which resulted in a fish kill in Beaver Creek in 2013.

The cooperative said in a statement that it takes its responsibilities to the state and the region "very seriously." The co-op has more than 500 shareholders who produce about three million tons of sugar beets annually.