Contact: Risikat Adesaogun, 651-757-2056
St. Paul, Minn. — Materials Processing LLC, an electronic waste recycling business in Mendota Heights, has corrected numerous hazardous waste violations as a part of a recent agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
Improper monitoring and management of hazardous waste can increase the risk of harmful contaminants being released into the air, land or water, possibly posing a threat to human health and the environment.
The MPCA found that Materials Processing had four unpermitted sites in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. For each of these sites, the company lacked a hazardous waste storage permit, and failed to conduct hazardous waste inspections, ensure a secure site and ship the waste in accordance with hazardous waste rules.
MPCA staff also discovered the company had stored more than 5 million pounds of crushed cathode ray tubes, which are considered hazardous waste, in 128 semi-trailers. The company did not have a required hazardous waste contingency plan to help minimize the risks of contamination in an emergency, nor was there adequate space available for personnel and emergency equipment to access hazardous waste areas. The company has addressed these problems by removing the trailers and sending their contents to a permitted hazardous waste facility. Based on the violations, the company has agreed to pay a $125,000 civil penalty.
This violation serves as a reminder that companies, local governments and other entities selecting vendors for recycling services for waste electronics should research the companies they do business with to ensure that the material is being managed responsibly and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
The agreement with Materials Processing, known as a Stipulation Agreement, is one of the tools the MPCA uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the agency takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it was a first-time or repeat violation and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. The agency 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's quarterly summary of enforcement actions.