Industrial Finishing Services investigated by MPCA for air quality, hazardous waste violations

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

Detroit Lakes, Minn. — Industrial Finishing Services (IFS), a metal coating company, has been the subject of a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) investigation for air quality and hazardous waste violations at its facility in Perham.

An MPCA inspection at the IFS facility in Perham last fall uncovered emissions of volatile organic compounds that exceeded the facility’s permit thresholds. The company needed a piece of equipment called a thermal oxidizer to control hazardous air pollutants associated with coatings the company uses. Because IFS’s emission levels were increasing, the company should have applied for a different category of permit in 2009 but did not do so until 2014. The violations were discovered during the application process for the new permit.

The MPCA also discovered the company had begun construction on a new expansion before receiving a required MPCA permit, and found other issues with contingency planning, personnel training, use of a non-licensed site for hazardous waste disposal and pollution risks posed by hazardous waste at the facility.

The company has agreed to changes that will bring the facility into compliance with air pollution and hazardous waste regulations. Many of the corrective actions have been completed. The company has also agreed to pay a $60,000 civil penalty.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.