A state regulator and the owner of a north Minneapolis scrap yard agreed Thursday to a plan to reduce potentially harmful dust from metal shredding at the riverside facility, under prodding from a judge.

But the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is still pursuing the administrative revocation of a permit for shredder operations. The agency has alleged that shredder operator Northern Metal Recycling either misled it about emissions during the permit process, or has changed operations since the permit was issued, or both.

The agency also still has a request pending for a temporary injunction to shut down the shredder. Ramsey County District Judge John Guthmann didn’t act on that in a three-hour hearing Thursday.

But Guthmann used the hearing to get the two sides to agree to a timetable for improvements at the site. Northern Metal will submit detailed drawings in a week, outlining dust-control work to be completed by the end of July. Guthmann said he’s not likely to rule on the injunction request until after the work is done.

Jack Perry, an attorney representing Northern Metal, said the work involves beefing up systems to control the release of dust from the shredder and one or two nearby buildings. The state and company disagree whether state emission limits apply to the building housing the shredder or just to the machine and its pollution control equipment.

The company must test the improved shredder and controls to see if they’re collecting dust at the permitted rate. Meanwhile, a nearby building where shredder residue is further processed would get a dust collection system that could be expanded to a nearby shed if needed.

The company contends that the shredder operates with the best available dust controls. But off-site air monitors bracketing the scrap yard have captured dust at concentrations that violate air-quality standards. The state says the dust matches that found inside a processing building and contains high levels of lead.


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