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North Minneapolis | Industrial air monitoring

The MPCA monitors air quality in a heavily industrialized area of north Minneapolis. The air monitoring sites measure total suspended particulates (TSP), coarse particulates (PM10), and air toxics. The majority of air samples are collected for 24-hours once every six days. PM10 is collected hourly.

Health and environmental concerns

Fine particle air pollution can be inhaled into the lungs. Inhaling high concentrations of particulate matter has been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, acute and chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues that can result in hospitalization — even premature death — for individuals with pre-existing heart or lung conditions.

Our role

The project started as part of re-issuing the air quality permit for the Northern Metals Recycling metal shredding facility. In addition to addressing Northern Metals, the MPCA has worked with the City of Minneapolis to identify other sources of air pollution in the area and to have these facilities take pollution-reduction measures to improve air quality. These activities include increasing the frequency of site and street spraying and sweeping, moving activities indoors, and changing material-handling practices.

When the Northern Metals shredder was operating, air monitoring found violations of the state TSP standards, exceedances of the daily PM10 standard, and elevated metals concentrations at the monitors next to the Northern Metals facility. Since the shredder was removed in 2019, those levels have declined.


We placed air monitors at the Lowry Avenue and Pacific Street sites and on the east side of the Mississippi River in the Marshall Terrace neighborhood at 2522 Marshall St. NE.


Sanna Mairet