Metal shredder agrees to relocate

Northern Metals Recycling settles an ongoing dispute with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced March 3 it had reached an agreement to move Northern Metals Recycling from its current Minneapolis riverfront location to a site outside of the metro area.

The settlement, which would bring to a close the agency’s battle with the metal shredder over pollution traced to its North Minneapolis facility, requires final approval by Ramsey County District Court. Under the terms of the tentative $2.5-million settlement, Northern Metals Recycling agrees to a $1-million civil penalty, payment for ongoing air monitoring near the facility, reimbursement to the state for monitoring and court costs already incurred and a $600,000 payment to Minneapolis for community health projects.

“This settlement is a welcome start to addressing a problem for residents in North Minneapolis who are already overburdened with health and pollution issues,” said MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said in a statement released by the agency. “The company recognized the serious nature of its violations, and they’ve chosen to take the right steps.”

The MPCA went to court last year in a bid to revoke the air quality permit for the facility, located just south of the Lowry Avenue Bridge.

Going back to 2014, the agency recorded multiple violations of state standards for particulate pollution near the site. In 2015, two air monitors installed near the facility detected the presence of heavy metals, including lead, “at levels of concern,” as the agency put it in a March 2016 report.

The agency continued work to pinpoint the source of the air quality violations and in May 2016 asked a Ramsey County District Court to grant a temporary injunction that would halt activities at the site that were contributing to air-quality violations. The agency aimed to revoke Northern Metals Recycling’s air-quality permit, alleging it provided misleading information when it applied for the permit in 2012.

Under its tentative agreement with the MPCA, Northern Metals Recycling will relocate its facility by August 2019.