By Paul Ploumis (ScrapMonster Author)
May 20, 2016 06:29:40 AM
FAIRMONT (Scrap Monster): The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is reportedly in the process of initiating legal action to stop the operations at a North Minneapolis scrap metal recycling firm. According to the State Agency, Northern Metal Recycling at 2800 Pacific St has been the cause of high lead content in the surrounding air.
MPCA noted that the recycling firm operates a metal shredder at the facility, which is believed to emit toxic chemicals including lead to nearby air. As per the Agency, the firm failed to disclose truthful information on emissions while obtaining the air-quality permit in 2012. In addition, the company has since then added emission sources without obtaining necessary permits.
Complaint by locals
People living in the neighborhood of the company had been complaining about air quality for many years. The shredder operations use to generate smell of welding, when in operation and that there has been a noticeable degradation in air quality, they said. Following complaints by nearby residents, the MPCA had begun monitoring the site in the industrial area for Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) in October 2014. In addition, a second monitoring site began operations during June 2015.
The monitors had measured elevated levels of airborne particulate and heavy metals. The air monitoring results had identified violations of the daily and annual TSP standards. It had also identified elevated lead concentrations, measured at 80% of the national lead standard and elevated heavy metal concentrations of chromium, cobalt, and nickel measured above chronic inhalation health risk guidelines.
The MPCA study noted that the air pollution may cause adverse health effects to neighboring population. Elevated TSP concentrations are likely to lead to respiratory irritation and nuisance dust. Elevated lead levels may lead to behavioral and development problems in young children and cardiovascular risks in adults. Elevated metal concentrations may contribute to adverse health conditions including cancer. Although the study could not pin down the exact source of pollution, Northern Metal Recycling was cited as a contributor to air-quality issues in the region. Incidentally, a facility audit by the company in February this year had identified opportunities for reducing overall emissions.
According to a review of the study by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the results of the study were found alarming. Although short-term risk was ruled out, MDH had pointed out that air quality issues may cause potential harm over a long period.
The MPCA had ordered the facility to implement necessary changes to reduce particulate pollution, but no action has been taken so far, it noted. Following which, the State Agency has decided to take necessary action to revoke the facility’s air-quality permit. It has also filed for a temporary injunction in Court, which in turn would force the company to stop its metal shredding operations with immediate effect. The MPCA assistant commissioner David Thornton stated that these are very rare steps for the agency.
About Northern Metal Recycling
The company website claims the company to be the Upper Midwest’s leading metal recycler. It handles over 100 grades of ferrous and nonferrous metals. Northern Metal Recycling, headquartered in Minneapolis, is a subsidiary of European Metal Recycling. It has 12 locations in Minnesota, two in Wisconsin and three in North Dakota, including Milnor and Bismarck.