PCA to start over on shredder process


A Feb. 28 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) public meeting to discuss the air emissions permit renewal and environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for a North Minneapolis metal shredder has been postponed indefinitely.

The metal shredder is at the Northern Metal Recycling plant on the Mississippi River just south of the Lowry Avenue Bridge. MPCA officials say that because of public reaction to the initial permit renewal proposal and EAW, the agency is going to make some changes and start the public comment process over again.

The rescheduled meeting will be held “probably in the spring time,” according to MPCA Information Officer Ralph Pribble. As for specifics, “nothing is known right now,” he said.

Northern Metal has applied to renew its emissions permit, initially approved in 1998. According to an MPCA Impact Analysis Summary, the draft permit under consideration calls for “[updating the company’s] 1998 permit to reflect the pollution control equipment that is currently installed; update emission estimates and limits based on stack testing results; eliminate/reduce testing requirements for some pollutants (including metals, PCBs, dioxins/furans, asbestos, and mercury); eliminate feedstock restrictions in order to be able to shred auto hulks instead of only auto parts; and eliminate feedstock restrictions on the amount of aluminum, brass, copper and stainless steel scrap the facility can shred.”

Company officials say the current emissions standards cannot be met, and are asking MPCA to relax them.

“There were a lot of public comments received,” Pribble said. “It was just apparent that we needed to revisit the permit and the EAW.

“It was the weight of the comments; the number of comments and the obvious high [level of] feelings about the proposal.

“Public involvement can and does lead sometimes to changes,” he said.

Northern Metal’s predecessor on the site, American Iron and Supply, initially applied to build a metal shredder, called a Kondirator, on the property in the 1990s. City and state officials worked to stop the project, but American Iron eventually prevailed and won a multi-million-dollar settlement with the City of Minneapolis. Northern began operating a different kind of metal shredder, inside an enclosure, in 2009.