Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-757-2657
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has reached agreement with Spectro Alloys over hazardous-waste and stormwater violations. The violations, which were observed by MPCA inspectors in 2014 at the company’s aluminum recycling facility in Rosemount, included improper management of dust from pollution control equipment that potentially contained heavy metals that can be harmful to human health, and improper management of stormwater discharge from the site.
The company agreed to correct the violations and will pay a $125,000 civil penalty.
The Stipulation Agreement negotiated by the MPCA and Spectro Alloys addresses violations of state and federal laws on management of hazardous wastes and stormwater runoff.
The company processes scrap aluminum into into blocks of aluminum alloys. The operation generates hazardous wastes, including dust that may contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and selenium, which can be harmful to human health. Under state and federal laws the company is required to capture and properly store and dispose of this waste so that it is not released to the environment.
MPCA inspections in 2014 found that about 13 percent of the dust from the facility’s air pollution control equipment was managed as hazardous waste. Inspectors also found dust coating the ground and equipment at the site, and overflowing and uncovered dust storage bins. They also found evidence that dust had run off the site in ditches, culverts and outflows that led to a soil infiltration area and a nearby ravine. State and federal laws require abating, treating or controlling runoff that may contain contaminants.
As a result of these improper practices, potentially contaminated runoff and dust were released to the environment over an undetermined period of time.
The agreement requires the company to revise its stormwater management plan and ensure it manages wastes and stormwater runoff in compliance with state and federal law. Besides the civil penalty, negotiations between the MPCA and company also resulted in an agreement for the company to spend at least $36,000 to install additional screening equipment to help prevent hazardous material from entering their process; this work must be completed within 90 days of the signing of the agreement, which was on May 19, 2016. The company had already completed the agreement’s other requirements by the time the agreement was executed.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to 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, refer to the MPCA’s Quarterly Summary of Enforcement Actions webpage.