The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has cited Enviro-Chem, a precious metals recovery facility based in Rogers, Minnesota, for air emissions permit violations. According to the MPCA, the company has made corrections and has agreed to pay a $26,000 civil penalty.
In assessing the penalty, the MPCA says that Enviro-Chem had an incomplete operations and maintenance plan, which left out vital information about how to properly operate the company’s afterburners. Daily operating records, and records of employee training were also missing. Equipment temperature was improperly monitored and documented and the company also failed to have a certified operator onsite during afterhours when waste was being burned.
To resolve the violations, the Enviro-Chem has agreed to a series of actions including creating a completed operations and maintenance plan, ensuring a certified operator is onsite always when waste is being burned, and adopting hazardous waste best practices to ensure there is continuous monitoring and recording of equipment temperature.
The agreement, known as a Stipulation Agreement, is one of the tools the MPCA uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the agency considers 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.