The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has announced that it's charging Tiller Corporation $85,000 for "multiple violations of the facility’s air quality permit":
. . . The permit requires performance tests of control equipment to ensure the facility’s emissions meet applicable air quality standards. The company is required to submit the results of these tests to the MPCA.
Test results were submitted to the MPCA in October 2013, covering testing performed in the summer of 2013. The results showed the facility exceeded many of its permitted emission limits for particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide on emission sources at the facility. A separate report submitted to the agency also showed that nighttime noise limits were exceeded at two fence-line monitoring locations. Other testing during November 2013 indicated continued noncompliance with carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound emission limits. Additionally, the MPCA found that testing frequency plans, required following initial testing, had not been submitted. In all there were 45 missing submittals, 25 emissions violations, and four noise violations.
To resolve the violations, Tiller agreed to pay a civil penalty of $85,000 to the state. In addition, the company agreed to modify certain emissions control equipment and complete modifications to mitigate noise within 90 days. When those measures are complete, the company will conduct noise monitoring and submit results to the MPCA. . . .
This isn't the first time that the North Branch facility has been scrutinized by the MPCA for permit issues.
Indeed, in 2013, the agency posted in Tiller Corp. is penalized for air-quality violations:
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has reached an agreement with Tiller Corp., Maple Grove, resolving air-quality violations at the company's sand-processing facility in North Branch, Minn.
The agreement covers the company’s failure to obtain required air-quality permits before starting construction of the North Branch facility in late 2011. Tiller Corp. has not yet begun operating the facility, so there have not been any emissions that needed to be covered by limits set forth in the permit. Nonetheless, starting construction without permits is a violation of state and federal air-quality laws.. . .
KARE-11 reported in 2012's broadcast, MN town voices opposition to frac sand operation:
. . .[Tiller official Mike] Caron says they will most likely have to pay a few thousand dollars in fines. But it does not appear this will block the plant from opening early next year.
That has not stopped neighbors and even a Harris council member from voicing opposition.
"Our city isn't built to handle this kind of traffic," said council member Rod Larson."It was kind of sprung on us a couple weeks ago."
Larson says at a city council meeting about two weeks ago, the MPCA estimated there could be 200 to 300 trucks hauling sand a day and maybe even more rail cars moving through the small town. He worries about safety.
"Nobody thought of this before that plant was built. They should have come to Harris and made us aware of what was happening," said Larson.
But Caron disputes MPCA's numbers. He is expecting 72 to 120 truck loads per day, but he admits Tiller has applied for a permit that allows the company to double those numbers in the future. He doesn't anticipate demand will be high enough for that to happen.
"We operate several sand and gravel mines and asphalt plants throughout the metropolitan area, and we're concerned about safe truck traffic also," he said.
Neighbors in Harris are not convinced.
"Whether it be the noise or the pollution from the trucks, it's going to be crazy," said Penny Corcoran who is leading a petition drive to stop the plant from opening. . . .
Who knew there might be problems?
We'll have more on the North Branch frac sand story in a post tomorrow.
Photo: North Branch frac sand facility, via KARE-11.
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