Jordan Transformer penalized for air quality violations

Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-757-2657

St. Paul, Minn.—The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has penalized Jordan Transformer, which repairs and refurbishes industrial electrical transformers in Jordan, Minn. for operating without a required air quality permit that regulates emissions of air pollutants.

Jordan Transformer purchased and began operating the facility without a permit in 2004. In September 2012, the company submitted an application to the MPCA for a registration permit, a type of permit that covers emissions below certain levels. However, the company’s self-reported potential to emit, a calculation permittees are required to make and report in permit applications, was above levels that would qualify for that type of permit. Instead the company should have applied for an individual permit, which requires additional calculations, reporting and assurances under the federal Clean Air Act.

The burden of knowing which permit is required falls on the permittee under the law. The MPCA rejected the company’s application for a registration permit in late 2012 and began an enforcement investigation.

During the investigation it was found that the previous owner of the facility had also been operating without a permit since 1995. Neither owner submitted required annual and semiannual emissions reports to state regulators. The company also added equipment that had the potential to increase the facility’s air emissions without the proper permits, and was found to be in violation of solid waste, hazardous waste, and stormwater requirements as well. 

To resolve the violations, Jordan Transformer agreed to pay $85,000 to the state as a civil penalty, to be paid in installments through February 2015. In addition to paying the civil penalty, the company agreed to submit emissions inventories for 2004 through 2012 and to pay unpaid air emission fees for those years. The company also will apply for the proper category of air quality permit and operate the facility in compliance with it.

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.

For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, refer to the agency website at www.pca.state.mn.us.