MPCA Wants Northern Metals To Cease Shredding Immediately

The agency says the company is putting significant levels of heavy metals in the air.

Above: Northern Metals Recycling’s North Minneapolis facility

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Thursday that it was taking legal steps to immediately shut down a metal shredding facility that it says is causing air pollution in North Minneapolis.
The state office filed the temporary injunction in Ramsey County District Court against Northern Metals Recycling facility at 2800 Pacific Street. The MPCA says Northern Metals provided “misleading information” to get an air quality permit in 2012 and that a year’s worth of monitoring of the site found levels of chromium, cobalt and nickel that exceed state air standards.
The MPCA believes the company didn’t disclose emissions properly during the permitting process or that it added or changed emission sources since receiving the permit without informing the agency.
“Either of these conditions is a serious violation of state and federal air quality laws and cause for permit revocation,” MPCA assistant commissioner David Thornton said in a statement.
The company first began shredding metal in 2009 after a prolonged battle in the courts and legislature, according to the Star Tribune. But it quickly ran afoul of air quality standards. This led the MPCA to loosen permit limits in 2012 – the same time that Northern Metals was granted a permit.
Should Northern Metals have its license revoked, it could reapply for a new one that properly accounts for emissions. A spokesman for the agency said any fines or other punishment for exceeding air quality standards are separate from today’s action.