A state pollution regulator has praised a riverside scrap yard in Minneapolis for voluntarily taking steps to reduce the amount of dust it produces after state monitors in the area showed air particles in the area that exceeded allowable limits.
Alliance Recycling Group is the first area business among those contacted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) after the particulate readings to agree to steps to reduce any dust escaping from its yard. The MPCA said it is continuing to negotiate with other area businesses that may be contributing to the problem. The high particle readings first were detected in 2014.
The agency highlighted its agreement with Alliance even as it continues to wrangle with another area company over dust and heavy-metal emissions. A judge in August ordered Northern Metal, another recycling yard close to Alliance and the state monitoring detectors, to end certain operations until it could prove they met the requirements of a state pollution permit.
Alliance agreed to dust-reducing operational changes in the processing of scrap for resale to mills, including sweeping paved areas of the business more frequently, and placing scrap in railcars in a way that raises less dust.
The firm’s owner could not be reached, but the agency’s announcement attributed this statement to Larry Zweigbaum, whom it described as Alliance’s environmental officer: “It really wasn’t a difficult choice for us. We want to provide the highest level of pollution protection for our workers, our customers, our vendors and neighbors of this industrial area. We found our negotiation with the MPCA to be constructive, honest and productive.”
The agency’s announcement this week made no specific mention of Northern Metal. It has moved to revoke that firm’s state emissions permit and the company has contested that. An early October ruling is expected, according to Sarah Kilgriff, an MPCA manager.