According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Northland Aluminum Products, Inc., installed and modified equipment without authorization and failed a number of record-keeping requirements. The company manufactures Nordic Ware brand cookware and bakeware at its facility in St. Louis Park, Minn.
The company should have submitted complete applications for changes to existing air quality permits to the MPCA before installing and modifying equipment. The request for changes would have triggered modeling for very small particle emissions to ensure the company complied with ambient air limits. Other violations discovered during an MPCA staff inspection include failure to:
- Retain records of corrective actions for control equipment malfunctions.
- Remain beneath modeling assumption limits as part of a previously issued schedule of compliance.
- Maintain an up-to-date operations and management plan, and equipment inventory lists.
- Maintain records of calibration for monitoring equipment.
In addition to paying the $19,321 civil penalty to the MPCA, Northland Aluminum Products has completed a series of corrective actions, including:
- Providing an updated operation and maintenance plan with updated control equipment lists, inspection frequency requirements, a plan to ensure corrective action records are maintained, and a plan of how monitoring equipment records will be maintained.
- Submitting a new recordkeeping template differentiating between emergency and non-emergency use of the emergency engines.
- Submitting a plan describing steps that will take place to ensure the appropriate permit amendments are obtained from the MPCA prior to making changes at the facility.
- Submitting a plan to ensure a full equipment inventory is produced and updated annually.
MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.