The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has ordered Northern Metal to abstain from accepting scrap, as well as to cease operating its shredder at its Becker, Minnesota facility.
The order comes over concerns that harmful pollutants have affected the air quality in the local community after a fire at the facility that was extinguished last week.
The agency has ordered Northern Metal to cease its operations at the facility until fire code violations have been rectified and the company has tendered a damage assessment, which will be subject to the MPCA’s approval. Additionally, Northern Metal must provide a storage plan for the strong vehicles that caught fire.
Northern Metal moved from the northern region of the state to Becker at the end of 2019 because its former community had reservations about pollutants being released in the area by the scrapyard. However, the facility hadn’t officially opened, and with last week’s fire, operations are indefinitely postponed for now.
Northern Metal been also cited for numerous code violations in Minneapolis, prompting MPCA officials to censure the company for not having established practices that protect the health and wellbeing of the city’s residents.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, which began on Feb 18 and was extinguished days later by a private firefighting firm.