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June 28 2011 13:48

MPCA Seeks Comments on Proposed Reissuance of Permit for U of M Facility

Contact: Sam Brungardt, 651-757-2249

St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites public comments on a proposed reissuance of a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit for the University of Minnesota’s Fay Thompson Center for Environmental Management (FTCEM). The facility is located at 501  23rd Ave. SE, in Minneapolis.  The public comment period runs from June 29 to Aug. 15, 2011.

On Aug. 2, 1993, the FTCEM (then known as the Integrated Waste Management Facility) received a hazardous waste storage and treatment permit. The facility was reissued a storage permit on April 7, 1999, and Sept. 21, 2005. The MPCA Commissioner and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator have made the preliminary determination that the University of Minnesota (U of M) is in compliance with applicable state and federal hazardous waste rules. Therefore, the RCRA permit should be reissued.

The RCRA permit authorizes and requires the U of M to properly store hazardous waste in containers and storage tanks.  The majority of the waste will be received from the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.  Wastes would be received from many activities throughout the statewide U of M system, including research and teaching laboratories, printing and photography operations, vehicle maintenance, Chemical Safety Day Program, medical and veterinary activities, and agricultural activities. The FTCEM has been designed to manage waste having a wide variety of physical and chemical properties, including corrosive, ignitable, reactive and toxic wastes.  The FTCEM has about 31,000 square feet of hazardous waste storage area.  It has a container storage capacity of 271,401 gallons, 2,000 freezer boxes, and three 2,500-gallon storage tanks.

A copy of the permit application, draft permits, and public notice are available for review on the Internet at http://www.pca.state.mn.us.  This website may be accessed at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.  The draft permit and related documents are also available for review from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the MPCA in St. Paul.  Call Kathy Gedde at 651-757-2382 for additional information or write to: Kathy Gedde, MPCA Industrial Division, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194.

The EPA federal permit is also available at the EPA Region 5 office in Chicago.  To submit comments about the federal portion of the permit, to view these materials, or to request information, call James Blough at 800-621-8431 or 312-886-3781, or write to: James Blough, U.S. EPA Region 5, RCRA Branch  LR-8J, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604-3590.

Through Aug. 15, 2011, interested persons may submit written comments on the draft permit to the MPCA at the above address, request a public meeting, or request a contested case hearing in accordance with Minn. R. 7001.0110, 7001.0130, and 7001.0670.  Under these rules, written comments must include (1) a statement of the person's interest in the permit reissuance; (2) a statement of the action the person wishes the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft permit that the person believes should be changed; and, (3) the reasons supporting the person's position, stated with sufficient specificity to allow the MPCA to investigate the merits of those positions.

After the close of the public notice period, all comments and requests for public informational meetings or contested case hearings will be reviewed. A final determination on the reissuance of the permit will be made then, and a formal response to the comments will be prepared in accordance with MPCA rules.

The EPA will accept written comments on the federal permit through Aug. 15, 2011. Written comments and requests for a public hearing on the federal permit must meet requirements similar to the state procedures outlined above, except that the EPA makes no provisions for a contested case hearing.  A request for a public hearing must be in writing and state the nature of the issues to be proposed at the hearing.

In reaching a final determination on the federal permit, the EPA will also review comments submitted during the public comment period. The EPA will then prepare a response to indicate which provisions of the federal permit were changed, if any, and indicate whether additional documents have been included in the administrative record.