Canadian shredding plant idled over noise concerns

American Iron & Metal receives complaints about "explosion" noises at its scrap yard in Saint John, New Brunswick.

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November 26, 2018
Brian Taylor

A series of complaints from neighboring property owners has caused Montreal-based American Iron & Metal (AIM) to temporarily idle shredding operations at its scrap yard at the port of Saint John, New Brunswick.

According to an online news article by the CBC news organization, the order to shut down the yard came from the government of the province of New Brunswick.

The news organization says the provincial government “ordered [the] scrap metal recycler to shut down all of its Saint John operations immediately, after dozens of loud explosions on the west side” at a facility it says is “located on Port Saint John property.” AIM installed a metals shredding plant on the property in 2010 and 2011.

AIM CEO Herbert Black met with the mayor of Saint John Friday, according to another CBC online report, to defend AIM’s shredding operation.

According to that CBC article, Black said that what some neighbors are calling “explosions” emanating from the shredder should more accurately be called “vibrations.”

The AIM CEO also said his company is a victim of the disruptions, as they are typically caused when suppliers of auto hulks and other types of scrap conceal pressurized, sealed containers within the scrap they sell to AIM.

Currently, regulators are asking AIM to submit a plan to eliminate the periodic loud noises within the next 60 working days. Black told the CBC AIM is working on a program to penalize suppliers who ship sealed, pressurized units, and told the news organization that although such containers do make a noise when shredded, there is “no flame and no fire to it.”

The controversy has carried over into December. Shortly after the pertinent government agencies gave AIM permission to re-open on a probationary basis, neighbors reportedly complained of another loud explosion-type noise, and the plant was quickly idled again.

The probationary period was preceded by AIM CEO Herbert Black indicating that the ongoing scrutiny of the shredder’s operations may lead him to simply closing the facility permanently.