A vehicle and metals recycler in St. Paul has been fined $20,000 by the state for polluting a nearby creek with contaminated discharges and for mismanaging its hazardous waste, regulatory officials announced.
Metro Metals Corp. agreed to pay the penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and make eight fixes in its stormwater and hazardous waste management practices, the agency said Tuesday.
The MPCA said the discharges from the facility operating west of Hwy. 280 left an oily film in Bridal Veil Creek just across the border in Minneapolis.
The pollution also discolored the creek and put out “an obnoxious odor,” the agency’s statement read.
Bridal Veil Creek was long ago incorporated into the underground sewer system.
It sends water to Bridal Veil Falls, located north of the Franklin Avenue Bridge near East River Road, and into the Mississippi River.
On-site inspections, photographs and other evidence confirmed numerous improper discharges from May 2015 to May 2016, according to the MPCA.
The Star Tribune left a message with a company attorney seeking comment Thursday morning.
To settle the matter, the MPCA and Metro Metals entered a “stipulation agreement,” which meant the company did not have to admit to any of the allegations.
As part of the agreement, Metro Metals agreed to improve its stormwater discharge practices, document debris and spill cleanups, create a monitoring and maintenance plan and improve how it stores containers for used oil.
Metro Metals has been operating since 2003 and accepts all types of metal from beverage cans to cars and trucks.
In 2015, a Ramsey County jury ruled that the company recycled metal from stolen cars four years earlier and should have known that at least some of the vehicles were stolen when it bought them and converted them to scrap.
The jury ruled that seven plaintiffs in the civil case were due compensation. The stolen vehicles were sold for $300 to $350 each and promptly crushed.
In 2013, a law was created that requires scrap yards, with some exceptions, to obtain a vehicle’s title before buying it.